Entertainment & Arts

Rule change opens up Oscar voting

Image caption French film Amour won this year's Oscar for best foreign language film

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences is to allow all of its members to vote in the documentary shorts and foreign language film categories.

Previously, members had to see the nominees in cinemas to be eligible to vote in the final round of balloting.

However, DVDs and screeners will now be provided to all members.

The announcement was made at the first general meeting for Academy members - held simultaneously in Beverly Hills, New York and Emeryville, California.

"This change continues our efforts to expand our members' participation in all aspects of the Academy's activities including, of course, voting for the Oscars," said Academy president Howard Koch.

"We want to give our members as many opportunities as possible to see these great films and vote in these categories next year."

'Real connection'

Koch established the inaugural general meeting, to allow members to express their views in what is often seen as very tight-lipped organisation.

"What we did, in a relaxed and casual way, was make sure our members know what we're doing," said Koch. "It felt like there was a real connection between governors, staff and members."

The meeting revealed that electronic voting would continue - following its successful introduction - but that alternative paper ballots would also remain for the immediate future.

Academy officials also stressed that the current rules for best picture voting, which could lead to anywhere between five and 10 nominees in the top category, would remain in place for 2014.

Directors Michael Moore and Up's Pete Docter and The Fighter actress Melissa Leo were among those who attended the event, which featured more than 1,000 members across three locations.

"From the reaction from all three places, it's a good bet we will do it again," Koch told the Los Angeles Times.

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