Members of the Academy, grab your ballots!
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the schedule for the final round of votes for this year's Oscars on Tuesday. The Academy also said that it had increased access to paper ballots in order to encourage engagement among Academy members.
Final balloting for the Oscars begins Friday, Feb. 8 at 8 a.m. PT, and closes Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. PT. Academy members who voted online during the nominations round will also be given the option to use paper ballots in the final round, as will members who registered to vote for the final round online. (Those who registered to vote online have until Feb. 1 to request a paper ballot from the Academy's Membership Department.)
Voters will also be aided with the use of assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London, as well as a 24-hour call center.
This marks the first Oscars that have allowed electronic voting, which has led to a period of adjustment for Academy members. Late last year, the Academy extended the deadline to request paper ballots for the nominations round by two weeks, from Nov. 30 to Dec.14, in order to give voters adequate time to familiarize themselves with the various voting options.
The outreach effort has apparently worked; the Academy's chief operating officer Ric Robertson said Tuesday that this year's nominations round drew an increased number of votes over previous years.
“One of our basic goals at the Academy is to increase member engagement. Despite some challenges, more members voted for this year’s nominations than they have in the past several years,” Robertson said. “We are looking forward to a continuation of that trend in the final voting.”
The Oscars will air live on Feb. 24 from the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on ABC. with Seth MacFarlane hosting the program.