Oscar voting is open to more than 10,000 members for six days only, from Jan. 27-Feb. 1. Here are a few tips and reminders to consider before casting your online ballots:

• Do not cast your ballots today. You just received your electronic ballot, but you don’t have to fill it out today. More than 350 films are vying for your votes in best picture, in addition to whichever branch you represent. Confirm that you received your ballot but utilize the remaining time to continue to watch as many films as possible. Every movie should have your consideration.

• Fill out your entire ballots completely. The member is invited to list up to 10 movies for best picture. Make sure you fill out every available line. Then, when the inevitable redistribution of ballots happens, number six through 10 films come into play and make a difference.

• Don’t assume something is safe. If you love a movie, let it be known with your vote. We’ve seen shocking exclusions including Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”) and Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips”) passed over because people assumed their spot was assured.

• There’s no such thing as “throwaway” votes. If you love a movie, even if you think it has no shot, vote for it anyway. Unless people start conveying that on their ballots, we’ll never see a documentary nominated for best picture or an animated feature recognized in directing.

• Watch a movie you haven’t heard anything about before you vote. The best thing that happens is when I watch a movie that I either put off or wrote off as “not my type of film” before casting my ballot for various groups. Then that movie packs a wallop and ends up on my top 10.

• There’s no such thing as an “Oscar movie.” You are the Academy, and you recognize “the best” — and while people give you grief for sometimes getting it wrong, there’s no definitive description on what genre, medium or feeling is encapsulated within “the best.”





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