Octavia Spencer in "Fruitvale Station"

Octavia Spencer in “Fruitvale Station”

*Oscar season is underway, and The Weinstein Company has already sent out specially packaged DVD and/or Blu-Rays screeners of its critically acclaimed “Fruitvale Station” to Academy members.

The purpose of this annual Hollywood exercise by studios is to ensure that their films are actually seen and to remind voters about the Oscar categories in which their talent tis o be considered. Many voters, in turn, refer to their screeners for reminders of their options when they are filling out their nomination ballot.

The last thing a studio needs is for a potential nomination to be affected because it was pushed in the wrong category. Last week, The Weinstein Co. put themselves at risk after it encouraged voters to consider Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer in the lead actress category, not the supporting actress category in which they are actually being pushed. (The film’s sole lead performance comes from actor Michael B. Jordan.)

According to Deadline.com, TWC’s awards office sent a follow-up email to Academy members on Thursday. It began: “Dear Academy Member, It has come to our attention that there was a misprint on the packaging of the DVD screener of FRUITVALE STATION. The actresses Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer are to be considered in the category of Best Actress In A Supporting Role. If you have not received your screener yet, you will receive it shortly. If you have any questions or issues, please contact our Awards Office…”

Deadline’s Scott Feinberg writes:

Will this blooper actually impact Oscar voting in any meaningful way? We’ll never know for sure, but it’s possible. This year’s best supporting actress Oscar race is unusually wide open — only “12 Years a Slave’s” Lupita Nyong’o and “Lee Daniels‘ The Butler’s” Oprah Winfrey seem like locks right now. Spencer, more than Diaz, is currently seen as being right on the bubble, along with “August: Osage County’s” Margo Martindale and Julia Roberts, “Blue Is the Warmest Color’s” Lea Seydoux, “Blue Jasmine’s” Sally Hawkins, “Her’s” Scarlett Johansson, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’s” Naomie Harris, “Nebraska’s” June Squibb, “Prisoners’” Melissa Leo and the as-yet-unseen Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle.”

Under these circumstances, if even just a few voters decide not to nominate Spencer in the supporting category — which she won two years ago for “The Help” — because they believe she is being pushed for lead, it could complicate her quest for another nom.