The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the deadline for its 6,000 members to vote on nominations for the year’s best films, performances, directors, screenplay and other achievements would be extended to Friday, Jan. 4: 24 hours after the original Jan. 3 deadline.
“By extending the voting deadline we are providing every opportunity available to make the transition to online balloting as smooth as possible,” Ric Robertson, chief operating officer of the academy, said in a statement.
Nominations for the 2013 Oscars will be announced on Jan. 10, capping weeks of speculation and campaigning by movie studios and industry pundits before the winners are announced in Hollywood on Feb. 24.
Monday’s announcement follows reports of frustration on the part of some members at logging into the new online system, as well as some slowness in ballots being returned by both the new or old method.
A source close to the Academy acknowledged that some members had experienced problems with forgotten passwords or user names, and that the extended deadline would help in resolving those issues in this first year.
The deadline to return nominating ballots was pushed forward by about two weeks this year, leaving the actors, directors, producers and other academy members less time to view the many movies opening in December that are vying for Oscar nominations.
Trade website The Hollywood Reporter, which spoke to at least 10 members of the academy last week, reported that some had been locked out of the website over password issues, others found the website confusing, and some were concerned about the website being hacked and results being leaked.
The academy in December sent all its paid-up members paper ballots in a precautionary move prompted by what entertainment website TheWrap.com said was concern about the number of people who, at that time, had not chosen whether to vote online or on paper.
Robertson told TheWrap when voting opened on Dec. 17 that although some members were opposed to online voting, he was “pleasantly surprised” that more people than he had expected had registered to vote online.
The move to electronic voting was seen as speeding up the process and making it easier to swiftly reach members working or living overseas. It followed a lengthy consultation with academy members and officials, and the setting up of a 24-hour support centre to help members use the online system.