In a surprising bit of news, it has been announced by the 82nd Academy Awards that the Best Picture nominees list for next year will change from the standard five to a whopping ten! That means double the amount of movies can have the term "Best Picture Nominee" on their posters and DVD covers - and the question of who will win that coveted top prize will be even more up in the air than it usually is.
At a press conference today to announce and explain the decision, Academy Executive Producer Sid Ganis said the following:
"After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year," said Ganis. "The final outcome, of course, will be the same - one Best Picture winner - but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009."
HitFix points out that this isn't a completely new thing for the Academy to do, since back in the early '30s there were eight nominees in the running for the top prize, and in 1935 there were as many as twelve! This kind of thing stopped when Casablanca won Best Picture in 1943.
For you animation fans out there (you know, the award that Pixar automatically wins every year), it was rumored that along with the expansion of the Best Picture category, the Academy would also announce the axing of the Best Animated Feature category, too. But at this point in time that appears not to be the case (Pixar can breath easy!).
Hitfix speculates that the Best Picture expansion is, in part, to rectify such "oversights" like a certain second-highest grossing movie of all-time and fan and critical favorite (a little movie called The Dark Knight, you may have heard of it) narrowly missing out on a Best Pic nomination last year - a snub that many felt sore about. In that sense, I can see why they're making this change - if another TDK comes along (not that it's likely, but it's possible), then the Academy wants to make sure they can include it as a Best Picture nominee (not to mention snag the viewership of the masses who actually turn out to see such movies).
The main thing I don't like about this move is the sheer size of the Best Pic nominee list now: ten, really? I would be cool with them adding one or two spots (maybe even three at most) but ten seems like a lot to me. There's a positive side to it, in that it allows more movies to get the Best Pic recognition, but at the same time it might also get more unworthy movies nominated just for the sake of filling up the few extra spots the Academy have now opened up.
Also, won't this mean that the other categories will pale in comparison, with it almost being downright unfair for them? If the Best Picture category can have ten, then why not Best Actor or Best Director? Won't it mean, for example, that ten movies get nominated but those (extra) five directors will then be left out of the directing category?
This move has a lot more cons than pros in my book.
What do you think of the Academy expanding their Best Picture category from five to ten nominees? Do you think it's overkill? And will the move benefit or hinder the awards ceremony?