Another deadline for Oscar nominations voting, another Academy extension.
Faced with widespread reports of members struggling to access the org’s new online voting system, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences extended the voting deadline by one day, from Thursday at 5 p.m. to Friday at 5 p.m. The Monday decision was the second time the Academy was forced to move its own deadline after agreeing in late November to give members two additional weeks to request a paper ballot.
And when that deadline finally came on Dec. 14, the Academy quickly announced it would send a paper ballot to every member whose dues were paid but had not registered to make selections online. The reason: Ballots were sent automatically in previous years, and the Academy was concerned that some folks, not realizing they needed to choose one method or the other, would be left out of the loop.
It hasn’t been an entirely smooth transition from paper to digital voting despite the Academy’s exhaustive duplication that includes a 24-hour call center and in-person voting kiosks in Los Angeles, New York and London. The majority of complaints have centered on the inability to log in with passwords that were sent via regular mail.
Members may still vote online or submit a paper ballot before the new deadline.
“By extending the voting deadline we are providing every opportunity available to make the transition to online balloting as smooth as possible,” said AMPAS chief operating officer Ric Robertson. “We’re grateful to our global membership for joining us in this process.”
To accommodate the extension, the online voting process will be unavailable for two hours on Thursday, from 5-7 p.m. PT.
In its first year of offering online voting, the Academy conceded early on that it had experienced a few minor problems with members having difficulty using passwords, but it has been loath to characterize the situation as anything more than a hiccup. Meanwhile, reports of members’ struggles have persisted, with many expressing frustration over the system’s security layers.
The concern now is that if enough people get frustrated to the point of not participating, a lower-than-usual turnout could affect the nominations results. While we’ll never know for sure — the Academy never discloses voting tallies — Oscar pundits will at least get the chance to speculate when the 85th Academy Awards nominations are announced live on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 5:30 a.m.