The Oscars are going digital: After years of deliberating whether the security concerns of voting online outweigh the convenience factor, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has decided to move forward with a plan to develop an electronic voting system for the 2013 Academy Awards.
After an 18-month search, the motion picture academy, in conjunction with accounting firm PwC, will partner with Everyone Counts Inc., an election administration and computer security firm that works with the U.S. Department of Defense and Britain's Ministry of Justice, among others, to build the system.
"This is the first of many steps that we'll be taking toward developing a secure and convenient electronic voting system, beginning with next year's ballot," Ric Robertson, the academy's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "We're excited to have found great partners in the people who do this best."
Last year, the academy began collecting email addresses from its 5,783 members to start the migration to online voting.
Academy officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Painting owned by Taylor sold
A 17th century portrait that once hung in the living room of Elizabeth Taylor's California home — and was only recently reattributed to the Dutch master Frans Hals — sold at auction Wednesday for $2 million.
"Portrait of a Man," painted in the early 1630s, went to a buyer bidding by phone at Christie's sale of Old Masters.
Taylor's art dealer father, Francis Taylor, acquired it and gave it to her in the 1950s. She hung it over her fireplace near an iconic lithograph portrait of herself by Andy Warhol that sold at Christie's in December for $662,500.
L.A. film fest names director
Veteran film producer Stephanie Allain has been named director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. She succeeds Rebecca Yeldham, who recently stepped down from the position she had held since 2009.
Allain, best known for her work as a producer on such films as "Black Snake Moan" and "Hustle & Flow," has served on the Film Independent Board of Directors since 2007 and recently chaired the Spirit Awards Nominating Committee. Film Independent runs both the Spirit Awards and the L.A. Film Festival.
Yeldham oversaw the transition of the Los Angeles Film Festival from Westwood to its new location in downtown Los Angeles.
In addition to her role at Film Independent, Yeldham is an independent producer who recently completed her third project with director Walter Salles, "On the Road," an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel.
Jefferson slave exhibit in D.C.
As the Smithsonian continues developing a national black history museum, it's offering a look at Thomas Jefferson's lifelong slave ownership through an exhibit that explores the lives of six slave families at his Monticello plantation.
The exhibit, "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty," opens Friday at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., focusing on the conflict between the ideals of human equality that Jefferson immortalized in the Declaration of Independence and the fact that he was a slaveholder.
It includes a look at the family of Sally Hemings, the slave who many historians believe had an intimate relationship with the third president and was the mother of four of his children.
A groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture is planned for Feb. 22. It's scheduled to open in 2015 on the National Mall.
"In many ways, the Smithsonian is the great legitimizer, so if we can wrestle with slavery and Jefferson, other people can," museum director Lonnie Bunch said.
'Rio' is likely to have a sequel
Sergio Mendes, who scored an Oscar nomination for his song "Real in Rio," says the animated film will most likely have a sequel.
Mendes said "Rio" director Carlos Saldanha may want to tie the sequel to the 2014 World Cup, which will take place in Brazil.
Fox said in an email Wednesday that the "success of the first film was the start of a franchise," but added that "no script or deals" are in place.
New play: A new Alan Bennett play, a contemporary drama titled "People," is part of the upcoming season at Britain's National Theatre in London. Bennett's previous work includes "The History Boys," "The Madness of King George" and "The Habit of Art."