In a move sure to reignite the debate about moving the Oscars forward, the academy is advising its members that electronic voting will be in place “as early as this year, and will certainly be in effect by next year.” As Michael Cieply of the New York Times reports, “The letter, which was signed by Kimberly Roush, the academy’s director of membership, asked members for a personal email address that is distinct from anything that goes to an assistant or intermediary.”
The current schedule for this year’s Oscars has nominating ballots being mailed to members on Dec. 27 and due back on Jan. 13. Nominations are then announced 11 days later on Jan. 24. Final ballots are put in the post on Feb. 21 and must be in the hands of the accountants by the close of business on Feb. 21. Winners will be revealed on Feb. 26.
Shifting to online voting could allow the academy to shorten the voting periods during both the nomination and final stages. And having this data in electronic form could hasten the tabulation of the results. As such, the academy could well present its awards much earlier in the year. While that might seem to solve the problem of viewer fatigue with a plethora of kudocasts, all it would do is prompt the other awards to move forward as well so that they could continue to be seen as precursors to the Oscars.