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Earlier Oscar mailings catch some off guard

Nominations to be announced on January 27
/ Source: Hollywood Reporter

The Oscar ballots are in the mail.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it mailed nomination ballots to its 5,803 voting members Monday. But the seemingly routine announcement caught some Academy campaigners off guard.

In April, when the Academy first devised its accelerated schedule for the 76th Annual Academy Awards -- which will be held Feb. 29, a month earlier than has been customary -- it said nomination ballots would be mailed Friday, Jan. 2.

The Academy’s own Web site,, still lists Jan. 2 as the date when the ballots will be mailed.

However, according to Academy spokesman John Pavlik, the Academy revised the mailing date in August, when it issued its annual update of its rules book.

“The calendar included in the rules book has Dec. 29 as the mailing date,” Pavlik said. “When we originally chose Jan. 2, no one realized we would be closed on Friday, so we amended that in August. I guess not everybody noticed we’d made a change.”

With many Hollywood businesses closed for the holidays and many Academy members out of town, the mailing-date change could prove relatively academic, as it will be several days before everyone opens their mail.

But because many Academy observers believe a significant number of voters mark their ballots as soon as they receive them, the date change was viewed by some as yet another unpredictable element in an unpredictable awards year.

“This is crazy,” one veteran Academy campaigner said. “Studios have planned their mailings and schedules based on the ballots going out on Jan. 2. But I can’t hazard a guess who it might advantage now that they have gone out on (Dec.) 29.”

In any event, the return date remains the same. The nomination polls close at 5 p.m. Jan. 17, and nominations will be announced at the crack of dawn on Jan. 27.