In years past, the Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film (Animated) and Best Short Film (Live Action) categories have been decided by the limited amount of members who could make it to the screenings of the films and therefore prove they viewed them before voting. This has always made predicting the results of those categories a little interesting, given the assumed "typical" sort of member who would have the time to participate. Things are changing this year, though.
In an email AMPAS president Hawk Koch sent out to Academy members, he notes that, "For the first time this year, our entire membership will be able to vote in three additional categories. The Academy will be sending you DVD screeners of the nominated films from these three categories before final voting begins." However, he added, "We look forward to seeing you at our screenings of the nominated films, which will begin on January 19 in Los Angeles, New York, London and San Francisco." So obviously a theatrical look is still preferred.