Academy Moves Nominations to Jan. 10, Confirms Online Voting

AMPAS moves nominations up by five days, and says online voting will be augmented by voting stations and paper ballots

The Academy has moved the announcement of Oscar nominations five days earlier than as original planned, and confirmed that electronic online voting will be used this year.

Nominations will now be announced on Thursday, Jan. 10, five days earlier than the original scheduled Jan. 15 announcement. This is the earliest Oscar nominations have ever been announced, stretching the post-nomination, pre-Oscar period (during which awards campaigning is strictly limited) to its longest period in years.

Ballots will be due on Jan. 3, the earliest Academy voters have ever had to vote.

Also read: The Oscars Go Digital — Finally — With Online Voting

Voting will be done electronically, but other methods will be available as well. The Academy said it will provide assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London, as well as paper ballots and a 24-hour phone line to provide assistance.

An extensive study of online voting pushed the announcement of key dates to far later in the year than usual; typically, the Academy announces those dates in March or April, shortly after the previous Oscar show.

It also makes the Academy the last awards organization to announce its timetable, around which most campaign spending is based.

The timetable shortens the time that PricewaterhouseCoopers has to tally Oscar nominating ballots from the usual 10 days down to six. Presumably, online voting will allow PwC to do some of the counting electronically, rather than undertaking the entire complicated "preferential" count by hand, as the company has done in past years.

It also extends the time between the nominations announcement and the beginning of final voting to 29 days, a full 10 days longer than it was at the last Oscars.

Other key dates include Feb. 4 for the Oscar nominees luncheon. New AMPAS president Hawk Koch was known to be an advocate of moving the nominees luncheon into Oscar week, but the Feb. 4 date keeps it where it was, midway between the announcement of nominations and the Oscar show.

The new date places Oscar nominations before the Golden Globes ceremony, which is scheduled for Jan. 15. 

The key dates:

Friday, November 30, 2012: Official Screen Credits due
Saturday, December 1, 2012: Governors Awards presentation
Monday, December 17, 2012: Nominations voting begins
Thursday, January 3, 2013: Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Thursday, January 10, 2013: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater
Monday, February 4, 2013: Nominees Luncheon
Friday, February 8, 2013: Final voting begins
Saturday, February 9, 2013: Scientific and Technical Awards presentation
Tuesday, February 19, 2013: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Sunday, February 24, 2013: 85th Academy Awards presentation

From the Academy press release:

In an effort to provide members and the public a longer period of time to see the nominated films, the Academy will reveal the 85th Academy Awards nominations on January 10, five days earlier than previously announced.

In addition, this will be the first time the Academy will provide its membership the opportunity to vote electronically. Together with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Everyone Counts, the Academy has been developing an electronic voting process for more than a year. The Academy conducted extensive research and held numerous focus groups with its members to ensure a smooth transition and widespread adoption.

The Academy will make several voting resources available to members during the transition, including the installation of assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London, a 24-hour telephone help line during voting periods, and paper ballots.

In the pre-Nominations phase, members will continue to vote via paper ballot in eight categories due to specialized screening schedules and processes. Those categories are Animated Feature Film, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling and Visual Effects.

The Academy Awards ceremony will be held at The Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. A 90-minute red carpet show will immediately precede the broadcast.