Oscar voting pushed back amid growing concerns over electronic ballot
Academy members allowed an extra day to get in their votes for the 85th Oscars
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, who run the annual film awards, were worried glitches with the newly implemented voting system would lead to a record-low turnout among their members who cast the all-important votes.
Members are now allowed an extra day, until Friday January 4, to cast their votes. The Academy said on Monday any votes received after the new deadline will not be counted.
Their Chief Operating Officer Ric Roertson said: "By extending the voting deadline we are providing every opportunity available to make the transition to online balloting as smooth as possible. We're grateful to our global membership for joining us in this process."
Reports of difficulty accessing the Oscars' first-ever online voting system and fears that it could be hacked have raised questions about balloting for the forthcoming 85th contest. Earlier this year, the academy and its longtime accountants, PricewaterhouseCoopers, partnered with the electronic voting firm Everyone Counts Inc. to develop the system.
"There's considerable concern from many members that voter participation will be at record lows this year because the people who wanted to take a chance on this new cutting-edge system are either giving up on it or worried they won't be able to cast their votes," said Scott Feinberg, awards analyst and blogger for The Hollywood Reporter.
In the past, Oscar voting has been compiled strictly through paper ballots sent through the mail. The new system allows members to choose between voting online or sticking with a traditional mail-in ballot.
Morgan Spurlock, the documentary filmmaker whose 2004 film "Super Size Me" was nominated for best documentary, posted on Twitter last week that he wasn't able to log on to vote electronically and his ballot was instead mailed to him.
He said: "The password they sent didn't work for my log-in – and they couldn't email me a new log-in, only snail mail."
Organisers have changed the unveiling of the nominations to January 10, just three days before those of the Golden Globes, often seen as a precursor to Oscar glory.
Almost 6,000 Academy members vote for the Oscars, which this year take place on February 24.