I have been doing business with another distributor who has had a few recent Academy Award nominees for the short films in his catalogue. He is personally based in L.A. so he knows the local scene well. I asked about a campaign to try to guarantee a nomination. He said that it is extremely difficult to orchestrate as the film, generally, are selected on merit. He also clarified:
2. The Academy hold a number of screenings for their members, to expose them to the short films nominated. There are a couple of theatrical screenings in L.A., one in New York and one in San Francisco.
3. The Academy don't send screeners of the shorts to their members for them to review.
4. Members have to attend the official screenings. There they review the films and are given the ballot papers on which they cast their votes. You have to be an Academy member to get into the screenings in the first place.
5. The Academy members (5-6,000 approx) are very much in the older age group, as a demographic. Some are not even in the industry any more or are retired.
I think the nostalgic theme of your film would be a big advantage from the point of view of the Academy members' age profile etc.
All good stuff… I also found this BBC interview with the guys who oversee the actual votes – you can read it here…
Onwards and upwards!