It’s Ballot-Mailing Week for Oscars, Others

Oscars, SAG Awards, Golden Globes mail ballots this week (includes complete AMPAS branch breakdown)

The ballots are in the mail.

If you’re one of the nearly 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, or one of the 81 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, that statement is literally true: nominating ballots for the 83rd Academy Awards, and final ballots for the 68th Golden Globes, were put in the main Monday morning.

And for a couple of other groups, it'll be true by the end of the week.

Costume Designers Guild nominating ballots will be mailed on Tuesday. Two days later, the Screen Actors Guild will send nearly 100,000 postcards advising its members to go online and vote. (SAG members who prefer a paper ballot can get one, if they request it before January 14.)

The SAG Awards involve the largest number of voters, and its100,000 voters could be swollen by another 20,000 if all guild members had paid their dues on time.  The Globes, meanwhile, has the smallest (and silliest) voting body, with less than $40 in postage covering all its ballots.

Academy Awards ballots went to 5,755 Oscar voters on Monday, a number that was down by 22 over last year's total. (AMPAS has tried to keep its membership in recent years fairly stable, not adding more new members than it loses to retirement or death.)

The drop in active (i.e., voting) Academy membership is exactly the same as the drop in its actors branch, which had the largest drop of any AMPAS branch. Other branches that saw a decrease in membership include the executives, film editors, producers, public relations and writers; branches that grew include cinematographers, directors, documentary, music, short films and feature animation, and visual effects.

All Academy members will receive Best Picture ballots; members in all branches besides the executive, producers, public relations and members-at-large branches will also receive ballots in their field of expertise.

Ballots are due back at PriceWaterhouseCoopers' offices by five p.m. on Friday, January 14. A team of PwC accountants will then tally the ballots using the preferential system, and the Academy will announce the nominees at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 25.

Oscars in the makeup, foreign-language, visual effects, original song, documentary and short film categories use different processes, also overseen by PwC, to choose their nominees.

The complete AMPAS branch rundown, as of December 9, 2010:

AMPAS branches

Total voting members: 5,755

Total retired members: 496

Associate members: 156

Retired associate members: 139

Total members: 6,546

CORRECTION: The original version of this article had incorrect dates for the Cinema Audio Society balloting. In fact, its online voting is currently taking place, and ends on Friday, December 31.