The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has what could only be called a “Votergate” problem. First, the main news is that the Oscar Nominations Voting Period has been extended to January 4th (press release below).
Second, according to Deadline.com, a number of Academy members were having problems adjusting to a new online voting format, when they were used to the old snail mail system used over the past 84 years of The Oscars. You can ask for a paper ballot only if your dues were paid and a request was given before Friday, November 30th. Or, if your dues were paid by then, The Academy should have sent you a paper ballot by now.
To its credit, The Academy has bent over backwards to handle the transition problem contacting members and staging help centers in New York, LA, and London. There’s also a help line: 1-800-251-0185 from 8 AM to 7 PM Monday thru Friday.
Even so, one member told Deadline’s Pete Hammond that voting ranks would be thinned because of the confusion “I think it could cut participation to as little as 50% particularly among older members, ” the member said. Well, it’s not older member that are making noise about the process; it’s studio heads and A-listers who are upset.
The sending of paper ballots should prevent this, but from all of the sources this blogger has read to this point, it seems now that there are two tracks of voting, paper or online, and not just one track, online. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but the main problem is that members were asked to register to vote online, getting a username and password, rather than The Academy preregistering dues-paying members. In other words, The Academy might have avoided some confusion by taking a step out of the process.
Here’s the press release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended the deadline for members to vote for Oscar nominations by one day to Friday, January 4, 2013, 5.p.m. PT. (The original date was Thursday, January 3, 5 p.m. PT). Members may vote online or submit a paper ballot. Any votes received after the deadline will not be counted.
“By extending the voting deadline we are providing every opportunity available to make the transition to online balloting as smooth as possible,” said Ric Robertson, Academy COO. “We’re grateful to our global membership for joining us in this process.”
In order to accommodate the extension and maintain security, the online voting system will be closed for two hours only (5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT) on Thursday, January 3. The system will re-open at 7 p.m. PT on January 3 and remain available to members until 5:00 p.m. PT January 4.
This is the first year the Academy is providing its membership the opportunity to vote online. Several voting resources are available to members, including assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London, and a 24-hour support call center.
The nominations and final Awards ballots will be tabulated and verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to ensure that all aspects of the balloting process are accurate and secure. In the majority of the categories, PwC will tabulate the ballots using the preferential voting system.
The 85th Academy Awards® nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.