The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mailed official Oscar nominations ballots to voting members on Friday. About 5810 forms were sent.
Each of the academy's 15 branches is responsible for nominating those in their field - actors nominate actors and sound engineers nominate sound engineers - based on the eligible films released that year. There were 281 in 2008.
The final winners are determined by the entire voting membership, regardless of what branch they claim.
Nominations will be announced on 22 January and the Oscars will be presented on 22 February.