Oscar voting closes after fierce studio campaigns

LOS ANGELES Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:26am IST

An Oscar statue is seen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following the 85th Academy Awards nominee announcements in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Phil McCarten/Files

An Oscar statue is seen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following the 85th Academy Awards nominee announcements in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Phil McCarten/Files

Stocks

   

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Voting for Sunday's Oscars, the highest honours in the movie industry, closed on Tuesday evening after a big spending campaign by Hollywood studios and the first online balloting system in the 85-year history of the Academy Awards.

More than 5,800 movie industry professionals who are members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were invited to vote in 24 Oscar categories, starting on February 8 and ending at 5 p.m. PST on Tuesday (0100 GMT On Wednesday).

The results will be tabulated at a secret location by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who deliver the envelopes with the winners' names from backstage at the February 24 Oscars ceremony, televised live from Hollywood.

With the races for Best Picture, Director, Actress and Supporting Actor considered too close to call by awards pundits, movie studios have been blasting newspapers, radio, trade publications and television with promotions for their nominees.

The Los Angeles Times estimated that Warner Bros. (TWX.N), the studio behind "Argo," and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), which is distributing "Lincoln," had spent about $10 million each in Oscar campaigns in recent weeks. The two movies are locked in a tight contest for the top Oscar prize - Best Picture.

PricewaterhouseCoopers say there has never been a security breach in the secret voting in the 79 years it has worked with the Academy on the balloting process.

This year, the accounting firm faced another challenge - the introduction of online voting for the first time, alongside the option of traditional paper ballots mailed out to Academy members around the world.

"It's a very robust system with a number of security features," Rick Rosas, who has worked on the Oscars with PricewaterhouseCoopers since 2001, told Reuters of the electronic method.

He said more than half of the Academy's members voted online.

The online system was hit by glitches and complaints from some of the Academy's members, most of whom are over 50 years old, when the system went live in December for Oscar nomination choices.

Some members reported problems with passwords and user names and voting for Oscar nominations was extended by 24 hours. The Academy later reported a high turnout of voters.

The move to electronic voting is aimed at speeding up the Academy Awards process, especially for members who work or live overseas.

Steven Spielberg's presidential drama "Lincoln" goes into Sunday's Oscar ceremony with a leading 12 nominations, including Best Picture, followed by "Life of Pi" with 11, musical "Les Miserables" and comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" with eight apiece, and Iran hostage thriller "Argo" with seven.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Additional reporting by Ron Grover; Editing by Eric Beech)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Interview

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Horror Role

Horror Role

From 'Bates Motel' to 'Ouija,' Olivia Cooke finds breakout in horror.  Full Article 

Tokyo Film Festival

Tokyo Film Festival

'Big Hero 6' to the rescue at new-look Tokyo film festival.  Full Article 

Book Talk

Book Talk

Richard Branson on leadership, telling stories.  Full Article 

A Minute With

A Minute With

Shailene Woodley on teen sex, violence and Marvel.  Full Article 

Bad Decision

Bad Decision

UK lawmakers slam police over Cliff Richard house search.  Full Article 

Court Case

Court Case

'Jersey Shore' star pleads not guilty to tax fraud, trial set.  Full Article 

Broadway Debut

Broadway Debut

Keira Knightley to appear on Broadway in 2015 in 'Therese Raquin'.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage