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Oscars 2012: Last-minute voters cast their ballots

February 21, 2012 |  2:11 pm

The buttoned-down Los Angeles offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers played host to a steady stream of baseball-cap and blue jean-clad visitors Tuesday -- Oscar voters, casting their ballots on the last day of Academy Awards voting.

By late morning, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members and their assistants and messengers were arriving at the downtown skyscraper at a rate of 15 to 20 an hour to deliver their white envelopes to a locked, black lacquer drop-box in PricewaterhouseCoopers' 49th floor reception area.

Some of the last-minute voters said they had been trying to see as many of the nominated films as possible before the deadline, or had forgotten that Monday was a postal holiday.

Deena Appel, a  costume designer in the art directors branch, ran her ballot into the gleaming glass and chrome building with the help of her 4-year-old son, who was charged with handling the actual envelope. Appel said it’s not the first time she has hand-delivered her ballot on the last day of voting.

“I try to see as much as I can, and with a 4-year-old it’s hard,” Appel said, as she chased her son down the steps. “With the holiday weekend I lost track. I even went to the post office yesterday to try and send it. The date just creeps up on you every year.”

Appel, an eight-year academy member, said she was a bit disappointed with this year’s best picture contenders.

“I prefer the smaller field,” Appel said, in contrast to this year’s Oscar race, which features nine best picture contenders.

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Brad Oltmanns, who oversees the balloting and regularly appears on the Oscar telecast, declined to comment on the number of ballots coming in Tuesday. According to a press release issued by the accounting firm, it takes PricewaterhouseCoopers' staff about 1,700 man-hours to count and verify the ballots cast by the academy's 5,765 voting members. Time is tight -- the Academy Awards will be held Sunday.

One academy member carrying a ballot into Pricewaterhouse on Tuesday said his last-minute delivery was a sign of how seriously he takes his responsibility as an Oscar voter.

"My ballot stares at me for a few weeks," said the art director, who declined to give his name because he preferred to remain anonymous as an academy member. "There's some hard decisions to make."

Andrew London, a member of the editors branch, said he couldn’t imagine turning his ballot in any earlier.

“I was still seeing movies yesterday,” said London.

The last film London watched was “Transformers,” which he called “torture."

Otherwise, the crop of movies up for consideration this year had middling appeal to the 63-year old craftsman. “There were a lot of good films this year, not a lot of great films.”


The Oscar voters: Meet the members at large

Who's who in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Unmasking the academy: Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male

Unmasking the academy: Oscar voters aren't always who you might think

-- Nicole Sperling and Rebecca Keegan

Photo: Brad Oltmanns and Rick Rosas of PricewaterhouseCoopers, holding a box of last year's ballots, are joined by Film Academy President Tom Sherak. Credit: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.