The decline in screener leaks could be attributed to tighter controls — personalized watermarks, the aggressive prosecution of leakers, and greater awareness of the risks for Academy voters.
But the continuously shrinking window between theatrical and retail releases may be to blame. After all, once the retail Blu-ray or DVD is released, there’s no reason for pirate groups to release a lower-quality watermarked screener.
I’d be curious to see whether the small percentage of leaked screeners correspond with the small percentage of Oscar nominated films not yet released at retail yet. I can’t imagine this suddenly being the year that Joe Academy Member has the realization that leaking his screener discs could be detrimental to his future in the Academy.
It just goes to show, though, that even the most easily enforceable situations (screeners with personalized watermarks pretty much hands you over on a silver platter) do not prevent piracy.