Academy moves Oscar nominations even earlier to January 10

The Academy has announced key dates in the timeline for this year’s Oscars. We already knew the 85th Academy Awards were set for Sunday, February 24. Previously nominations for the Oscars were set for Tuesday, January 15, but the latest release has moved that date five days earlier to January 10. This is still nice for Sundance-goers who won’t have to worry about covering the announcement while at the fest, which runs January 17 – 27. But it’s also the first time they’ll be announced before the Golden Globes are held (on January 13).

Polls for nominations will close on January 3, while voting begins for the second phase of the circuit on February 8, meaning there is nearly an entire month between the nominations announcement and the opening of the polls. That’s a pretty long time. Usually it’s no more than two weeks or so. How will that time be used for marketing purposes? That’s a lot of days to fill, and a lot of time for the discussion to shift in interesting ways — unless, of course, we’re met with an undeniable this season, which is always possible.

The press release offers the following in the way of reasoning: “In an effort to provide members and the public a longer period of time to see the nominated films, the Academy will reveal the 85th Academy Awards nominations on January 10, five days earlier than previously announced.”

It also goes on to note that this will be the first time the Academy will provide its membership the opportunity to vote electronically. “Together with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Everyone Counts, the Academy has been developing an electronic voting process for more than a year,” it reads. “The Academy conducted extensive research and held numerous focus groups with its members to ensure a smooth transition and widespread adoption.”

However, during the pre-nominations phase, members will still continue to vote via paper ballot in the Best Animated Feature Film, Best Animated Short Film, Best Live Action Short Film, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short Subject, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Visual Effects categories “due to specialized screening schedules and processes.”

Key dates are as follows:

Friday, November 30, 2012: Official Screen Credits due

Saturday, December 1, 2012: Governors Awards presentation

Monday, December 17, 2012: Nominations voting begins

Thursday, January 3, 2013: Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Thursday, January 10, 2013: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater

Monday, February 4, 2013: Nominees Luncheon

Friday, February 8, 2013: Final voting begins

Saturday, February 9, 2013: Scientific and Technical Awards presentation

Tuesday, February 19, 2013: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Sunday, February 24, 2013: 85th Academy Awards presentation