For the first time, the entire voting membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will automatically be eligible to vote in all 24 Oscar categories. The Academy’s Board of Governors approved a plan 0n 4 May 2013 that will allow members to see the nominated documentary shorts and foreign language films either at a theatrical screening or on DVD.
Prior to the final round of voting in 2014, the Academy will provide members with DVDs of the nominated films in five categories: Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Animated Short Film, and Live Action Short Film. In previous years, members had been required to see the nominated films in a theatre in order to vote.
The change in rules will open the voting in those categories to a much wider global constituency that in previous years could not attend theatrical screenings to qualify to vote.