Opening envelopes is an Oscar specialty but pushing the envelope? Not so much. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has added an extra day to the voting period (the new deadline is 5 p.m. on Jan. 4) in response to membership complaints about the new online voting option .“By extending the voting deadline we are providing every opportunity available to make the transition to online balloting as smooth as possible,” Ric Robertson, the chief operation officer of the Academy, said in a statement. “We’re grateful to our global membership for joining us in this process.”
The voting to determine the nominees for the 85th Annual Academy Awards opened on Dec. 17 and that day marked the first time in history that a member could vote online — if they were able to get signed-on to the system, that is. On Twitter, one voter venting about the system was filmmaker Morgan Spurlock who said his failed log-on attempts left him locked out and waiting for a paper ballot to arrive by “snail mail.” The Academy’s voting membership skews far older than Spurlock (at 46, he’s 16 years below the median age) and there has been concern that the system would be off-putting to them. The Academy has offered assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London and a 24-hour support hotline but with the variables of holiday travel the extra day is intended to give voters some breathing room. Still, pundit speculation is certain to circle the impact of a lower-than-usual turnout and how it might tilt the Oscar race.