LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Electronic voting is to be used for the first time to choose the winners of the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Tuesday.
The Academy said in a statement that its members would also be able to use traditional paper ballots to select the year’s best actors, films, directors, screen writers and other categories.
But it said it had developed an electronic voting process that will be used for the first time in its 85-year history for the 2013 Academy Awards, following extensive research and consultations with its members.
In the past, Oscar ballots have been sent through the mail to the Academy’s 6,000 members around the world, and the results have been tabulated by hand by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Starting in December this year, members will be able to vote online via email for both nominees and the final winners. Membership is made up of leading movie actors, directors, writers, animators, film editors and others.
Academy members will also get help casting their ballots at electronic stations set up at Academy-affiliated properties in London, New York and Los Angeles and through a 24-hour help line.
The Academy Awards, the movie industry’s top honors, will be handed out at a ceremony in Hollywood on February 24, 2013.
The Academy said on Tuesday, however, that it had moved its Oscar nominations date to January 10, 2013 - five days earlier than previously scheduled - in order to give the public and its members more time to see the nominated movies before the Oscar ceremony.
The Academy announced in January that it had partnered with its long-time Oscar accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers and election administration company Everyone Counts to develop a new system.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Matthew Lewis