Oscar nomination voting extended after online hitches

LOS ANGELES, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Voting for Oscar nominations

was extended by a day after some people reported problems with a

new online voting system, organizers of the movie industry's

coveted awards said Monday.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the

deadline for its 6,000 members to vote on nominations for the

year's best films, performances, directors, screenplay and other

achievements would be extended to Friday, Jan. 4 - 24 hours

after the original Jan. 3 deadline.

"By extending the voting deadline we are providing every

opportunity available to make the transition to online balloting

as smooth as possible," Ric Robertson, chief operating officer

of the academy, said in a statement.

"We're grateful to our global membership for joining us in

this process," Robertson added.

Nominations for the 2013 Oscars will be announced on Jan.

10, setting off weeks of speculation and campaigning by movie

studios and industry pundits before the winners are announced in

Hollywood on Feb. 24.

The academy is using electronic balloting this year for the

first time in its 85-year history but has also said any member

can submit a paper ballot if preferred.

Monday's announcement follows reports of frustration on the

part of some members in logging into the new online system, as

well as some slowness in ballots being returned by both the new

or old method.

A source close to the Academy acknowledged that some members

had experienced problems with forgotten passwords or user names

and that the extended deadline would help in resolving those

issues in this first year.

The deadline to return nominating ballots was pushed forward

by about two weeks this year, leaving the actors, directors,

producers and other academy members less time to view the many

movies opening in December that are vying for Oscar nominations.

Trade website The Hollywood Reporter, which spoke to at

least 10 members of the academy last week, reported that some

had been locked out of the website over password issues, others

found the website confusing, and some were concerned about the

website being hacked and results being leaked.

The academy in December sent all its paid-up members paper

ballots in a precautionary move prompted by what entertainment

website TheWrap.com said was concern about the number of people

who, at that time, had not chosen whether to vote online or on

paper.

Robertson told TheWrap when voting opened on Dec. 17 that

although some members were opposed to online voting, he was

"pleasantly surprised" that more people than he had expected had

registered to vote online.

In the past, Oscar ballots have been mailed around the world

to academy members and the results have been tabulated by hand

by the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm.

The move to electronic voting was seen as speeding up the

process and making it easier to swiftly reach members working or

living overseas. It followed a lengthy consultation with academy

members and officials, and the setting up of a 24-hour support

center to help members use the online system.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)