Oscar Screeners: Long Tolerated, But Only Official After Next Week

from variety.com: Oscar ballots have all been safely delivered to PricewaterhouseCoopers, but the schmoozing and subtle campaigning will still be in high gear this weekend, thanks to the Golden Globes, AFI Awards, BAFTA/LA tea, Q&A’s and studio parties. But all this drum-beating only works if the voters have seen the film. Screeners have been a key factor since the late 1980s and as late as the Jan. 3 weekend, some Acad members admitted they needed to catch up on a slew of films. The logical method: screeners, of course. But this year marks a turning point for the discs as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences finally embraced them. The organization annually urges members to see films on the bigscreen, where they were meant to be seen. But last May, the org announced that the general membership will, for the first time, be voting in five categories: foreign-language film, documentary feature, documentary short, animated short and live-action short. And to make them accessible to all 6,000 voters, the Academy will send out DVD screeners in those races. In previous years, the screeners were sent out by the distributors, and the Academy generally stayed out of it. But times are changing and once the Oscar noms are unveiled Jan. 16, we will see the Academy’s screener moves.