Academy Doubles Best Picture Nominees

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today an increase in the number of movies nominated for Best Picture. The number was five but starting this year the Academy will nominate ten films.

Oscar nominations will be announced February 2nd, 2010. The 82nd Academy Awards will be held March 7th.

An additional five more Best Picture nominations could benefit a movie like Up.

An additional five more Best Picture nominations could benefit a movie like Up.

The Academy used to nominate ten films for Best Picture. For instance, in 1943 Casablanca defeated nine other talkies to claim Oscar’s greatest prize (and by defeated we mean in a steal cage in a no holds barred grudge match).

Pundits speculate that the increase in nominees could allow films like Star Trek, The Hangover and Up into mix as well as podunk indie films that are painful to watch and feature actors who haven’t showered in a fortnight.

In 2008, Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Bejamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk and The Reader were your five best pictures nominees. Had the field been increased maybe The Wrestler, The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Revolutionary Road, and Marley and Me would have received B.P. noms.

Ultimately, this is nothing more than a money grab. Hollywood can barely produce three films worthy of Best Picture consideration much less ten. This allows five more films to get an Oscar boost at the box office; allows five more films to add a “Best Picture Nominee” sticker to their Blu-ray jewel case.

If five more B.P. Noms means The Proposal is in, we would like to go back to five.

If five more B.P. noms means The Proposal is in, we would like to go back to just five.

Of course, the additional noms may help create more drama during the ceremony. With more flicks to pick, voters may spread their votes out making it harder to predict the winner. During years where there is no clear cut champ–there’s no Titanic around–the best picture race could actually be exciting.

Also, while Star Trek and The Hangover are not best picture caliber films, they probably will be the best in their particular genres. The Hangover may cower to whatever movie eventually seizes best picture, but chances are it will be the best comedy of the year. That’s quite an achievement and deserving of a honor (although dump truck loads of money should be more than enough praise).

Whether or not the quintet of noms are spread out amongst other genres or distributed to more dry, pretentious, affluent dramas remains to be seen. Still, the additional five nominees for best picture seems to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

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