Oscar’s First Year of Online Voting Ends in Uncertainty, Calls for Paper, Graphite, Stone

By Kirsten Anderson Awards

The Academy struggles with life in the 21st century.

After being extended for a day to accommodate confusion with modernity, the first year of online voting for the Academy Awards is in the books. Or should I say in the digital universe?  Considering how things went, I probably should stick with the books.

As you may have heard, Academy members had trouble with the online voting system, which led to an extension of the deadline. Even that didn’t help, as members had trouble trying to login, had themselves locked out of the system after making too many attempts to login, were confused by drop down menus. Here’s a quote from Deadline’s story on the subject:

Another member told me how she became confused when a drop down menu popped up when she typed the word “Lincoln” in among her choices for Best Picture. “A number of films with the letter ‘L’ appeared including Silver Linings Playbook and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. It was a little confusing before I figured it out and correctly selected Lincoln. I would hate to think I accidentally voted for the Vampire Hunter movie  ” she said.

Could you imagine if they were counting the Best Picture votes and seemingly inexplicable votes popping up? Like, “Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, Les Miserables, The Master, Lincoln, Django Unchained, Silver Linings, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter…ummm, do you think they really meant that…?” What if a major award was won or someone was nominated because the kind of Internet mistakes you expect your parents to make were made by Academy members? This could be the most exciting Oscars ever!

Apparently a number of members ended up having to go over to the Academy to fill out a paper ballot, or get a ballot sent to them which they then filled out and sent over via messenger, assistant, or (!) fax.

It’s a tough road for the Academy to try to negotiate. Understandably, they want the convenience that comes with online voting–no more paper votes to count, no more paper to deal with, etc.–but there are still a lot of members who aren’t comfortable in an online environment. They also have to recognize that many people would love to hack the Academy Awards voting so they have to try to make it extra secure, creating possibly another layer of confusion, especially for those who are already timid about logging in to anything (interesting thought: would a desperate producer hire a hacker to break into the system and fix the voting to get a movie nominated or get it a win? I think we have a movie here!).

So anyway, the nominations will be announced this Thursday. Usually if an unexpected name or title is announced, everyone thinks it’s kind of fun; if that happens this year, the conspiracy theorists will be out in full force…

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