Documentary branch members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who complained en masse last week about the sheer volume of documentaries they had to review in a very limited time frame, have yesterday been told they will have extra time to decide on their favourite 15 to be included on the Oscar nominations short list.
The New York Times reported that an Academy official on Tuesday confirmed that the deadline for the 160 members of the documentary branch had been extended to 26 November, 12 days later than the original deadline of 14 November.
Members of the documentary branch, including Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore, last week complained to the paper that they were struggling to watch the no less than 130 documentaries in the competition within a very limited space of time. There was also a lot of criticism on the letter that accompanied the arrival of their screeners advising the members which films to focus on.
It is for the first time that the members have to vote under the new rules set out by the Academy. Previously, the large number of submissions had been split up among viewing committees for an initial cut.
Members initially received about 30 to 40 films over the summer but suddenly received an additional 80 DVDs last week.
“In theory this new system seems very democratic — everybody gets everything,” said Kate Davis, an Academy member and documentarian to the New York Times. “In practice I think it’s going to overwhelm many voters.”