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Keisha Castle-Hughes might not be in the spotlight this time, but she's still had her say in this year's Oscars.

After her nomination as best actress for Whale Rider, Castle-Hughes was invited to join the actors' branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and at 14 is now one of its youngest members.

She got to vote in this year's acting and best picture categories and while members must keep their choices confidential, her professed fondness for Johnny Depp may well have pushed her votes towards the Finding Neverland star.

The teenager is one of a fresh bunch of New Zealand-based academy members after The Lord of the Rings trilogy's success at the awards.

Since The Return of the King's clean sweep last year, editor Jamie Selkirk and sound mixer Mike Hedges were invited to join their respective academy branches.

They join Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh as academy voters, as well as four-time winner Richard Taylor, head of Weta Workshop, and costume designer Ngila Dickson.

There are an estimated 30 or so New Zealand Oscar voters - including Shrek 2 nominee Andrew Adamson and past winners Anna Paquin and Jane Campion - spread among the 14 branches. It's hardly enough to form a bloc among the 5500-plus voting members who decide on their branch's categories, but they all get to vote for best picture.