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Academy Thanks Members For “Record” Oscar Voting Turnout

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 11:40am PST
Pete Hammond

Just as the final phase of Oscar voting begins today with specially selected uber committees in Los Angeles andOscars 2014 New York picking the five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film (out of 9 finalists), Academy CEO Dawn Hudson has announced to her membership that the Academy broke their own voter turnout record. At one point it had seemed to me there might be a smaller turnout since many members told me they hadn’t voted until earlier this week. In fact several mentioned getting frequent phone messages and emails in the last few days urging them to vote. Apparently it had an effect because in a emailed letter this morning that Deadline has acquired Hudson told a different story. “Thank you for voting for the Oscars nominations. Because of you, our polls closed on Wednesday with record voter turnout,” it read. After urging them to watch the nominations announcement next Thursday by President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth she concluded, ” It’s been an incredible year of movies, and thanks again for taking the time to watch and vote”.

Dawn Hudson Ric Robertson PortraitsThe Academy isn’t revealing just exactly what percentage of the 6028 eligible members actually cast ballots, but it’s good to know in a very competitive year that they turned out in larger numbers. Last year, the first year of online voting, then-President Hawk Koch told me … Read More »

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OSCARS: Academy’s First Foray Into Online Voting Had Rocky Start

By | Friday February 15, 2013 @ 9:00pm PST
Pete Hammond

This year the big question hasn’t been exactly who Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members are going to vote for, it has been instead whether they can figure out how to vote at all. With the advent of online voting for the first time in Academy history, the path during the nomination balloting hasn’t been a smooth one for many voters. Some found that the Academy’s security steps, necessary to avoid hackers, have also kept voters out, forcing them to make repeated attempts at getting their ballot completed.

Although all the guilds and other voting groups have moved full force into the world of online voting, the Academy went through a slow, methodical process before finally settling on Everyone Counts, a company known for working with the U.S. government in a similar capacity. Unlike most industry groups, the Academy is a prime target for infiltration by cyber terrorists who Read More »

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OSCAR: Now Every Campaign Enters Crucial Final Stretch

Pete Hammond

The Oscar ballots went into the mail today and should be in every one of the 5,755 voting members’ hands by tomorrow, or at least by the weekend depending on how long it takes some of them to travel to snowbound or far-flung places. The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has set a due date of February 22nd, which could be a lifetime considering the ever-changing twists and turns of this surprising awards season. That’s why no major Academy Awards campaign seems willing to give up the hunt for gold quite yet.

For this second phase of Oscar campaigning, studios have tweaked, or in some cases completely retooled, their advertising to incorporate catch phrases and/or images they hope the Academy will notice. Warner Bros has noticeably increased its Inception buys on TV and in print and online. With its 10 nominations, True Grit is now suddenly “the most honored American movie of the year” (a not-so-subtle dig at the very British King’s Speech). While Paramount’s other contender, The Fighter, has new fighting words saying that “Nothing can stop an underdog whose time has come”.  Disney wants voters to know “the most successful animated film in history” (Toy Story 3 in case you live in a cave) is now nominated for Best Picture. While  Fox Searchlight has changed up their Black Swan poster with a highly dramatic … Read More »

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OSCAR: Hammond On State Of The Race

Pete Hammond

As President Obama busily prepares his State Of The Union address to be delivered on Tuesday night – the same day that the Academy Award nominations are announced — I think it’s only fitting that I deliver The State Of The Oscar Race as it stands now. Needless to say, all of Hollywood is primed for the big reveal at 5:38 AM Tuesday morning. At this point we’ve had all of the critics groups weighing in, all of the Guild nominations, all of the BAFTA nominations, and all of the Golden Globes results. Collectively these precursors have set the scene for what we can expect. But, first, a word of caution: there are always surprises with Oscar. But here’s where I see the race for Best Picture heading now.

Best indicator for this Best 10 horse race has been the consistency of what the various Guilds, above and below the line, have been offering up in their nominations. Since there is a heavy overlap of Academy members  who also vote in these Guild contests  they are key indicators. Or, as Harvey Weinstein told me Sunday night after the Golden Globes, “the real voters that matter”. The same 5 or 6 films seem to keep coming up over and over, making them the most solid bets. The Social Network, scoring with key noms everywhere except Visual Effects, is now the undisputed frontrunner in this race, particularly when its overwhelming lead in critics groups Best Pic winners is added in to the mix along with … Read More »

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OSCAR: Last Minute Campaigning & Voting

Pete Hammond

If you haven’t filled out your Oscar nominating ballot yet, you have until 5 PM PT today to get it to the PriceWaterhouse Coopers offices in Los Angeles at 350 S. Grand, Suite 4900. There have been years where 400 to 500 ballots have been walked in the day they were due, according to one Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences consultant who as always plans to have someone count the messengers making deliveries. It’s all part of the last-minute rush to get as many votes as possible for their pictures in the hands of the accountants. Think of it as the same syndrome we see on April 15th when taxpayers wait until the very last moment to drop off their taxes off.

Even though ballots were coming due, it didn’t slow a slew of campaign events especially with everyone in town for this weekend’s non-stop award binge. It kicks off Friday with the AFI luncheon honoring the best in movies and TV in 2010, followed by Friday night’s 16th Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards which airs live on VH1 from the Hollywood Palladium starting at 6 PM PT. Of course, loads of parties lead up to the Golden Globes including Friday night’s CAA bash at the Soho House. Saturday AM brings a brunch at Boa honoring this year’s Independent Spirit Award nominees, followed by the BAFTA-LA  tea, then the LA Film Critics Awards banquet, and more parties galore honoring Golden Globe nominees including soirees thrown by Disney at the London Hotel and Paramount at Chateau … Read More »

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Oscar Nominations Ballots Mailing Today

Just a reminder that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences officially mails out its nominations ballots today to 5,755 voters for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Those ballots have to be returned to PricewaterhouseCoopers when the polls close on January 14th at 5 PM PT. Ballots received after that deadline will not be counted. That’s so the Academy can announce its nominations live on January 25th and then telecast the Oscars live on February 27th. Nomination and final Awards ballots are tabulated by PricewaterhouseCoopers to ensure that all aspects of the balloting process are conducted with fairness and accuracy. Prior to mailing, the PricewaterhouseCoopers staff administers a thorough verification process to ensure that there are no duplicate ballots and that none are missing. In addition to being counted and sorted, the ballots are numbered to guarantee that each one is addressed to the appropriate Academy voter.

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