Oscars go electronic with online vote system

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Oscars go electronic with online vote system

LOS ANGELES - Voting for the Oscars is going electronic for the first time in a move that will speed up the process and could give a boost to younger, edgier movies.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said that a new online voting system will be used for the first time in its 85-year history for the Oscars that will be handed out in February 2013.

In a transition process, the academy’s 6,000 members also will be able to use traditional paper ballots to nominate and select the best actors, films, directors, screen writers and other winners of 2012.

In the past, Oscar ballots have been mailed around the world to Academy members - directors, actors, screenwriters, producers and other leading film industry figures - and the results have been tabulated by hand by the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm.

Industry watchers said the move to electronic voting could be difficult for some academy members, who have a reputation for being older and more conservative by nature.

“People love to conjure up the academy as being made up of 90-year-old geezers who have never opened an e-mail before and think that the Internet is a passing fad,” said Tom O’Neil of the awards Web site Goldderby.com.

“It could end up having a profound effect if there is a drop off on the older voters who are frustrated by the new system and pass on voting, leaving the younger voters to pick more hip choices,” O’Neil said.

The academy said that it was introducing the online voting system after extensive consultations with its members.

Members also will be able to 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 telephone help line.

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