Academy to Expand Number of Oscar Best Picture Nominees


Have you ever passed on watching the Academy Awards because your favourite film (The Dark Knight) wasn’t among the Best Picture nominees? You’re probably not alone, but starting next year, there is now a slightly better chance that you will actually have a reason to watch. At a press conference today in Beverly Hills, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that they will be doubling the number of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10.

Back in the ’30s and ’40s, the Oscars had previously included 10 nominees as well, but somewhere along the way the field was cut down to speed up the ceremony and narrow the focus. Now they are hoping to bring recognition to more movies, even if they don’t have a shot in hell at winning the actual trophy. President Sid Ganis had this to say:

“Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize… I can’t wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February.”

So, is this a good thing? Does it even matter? I don’t think it will change the kinds of movies that win Oscars, but I am guessing the Academy wants to allow a few more mainstream favourites to sneak in and at least be mentioned alongside the usual suspects. While it may create the illusion of recognition for some of those fan favourites, in the end, I think it will just lead to disappointment and frustration when they never end up winning. Thoughts?

  • Matt

    I think it will be a good thing.
    1. More movies will be able to put “Best Picture Nominee” on their poster or dvd. Of course that might make that claim all the less prestigious. But still.

    I would love to see Tim Burton’s movies given a little more recognition from the academy.

    2. More people will watch oscars if their favorite movie of the year is nominated, because even though it probably won’t win, there is still of course a chance that it might.

    I know I would have watched the oscars if TDK or The Wrestler had been nominated, instead of playing Fallout 3.

    As for the “disappointment and frustration when they never end up winning.” Well, if they weren’t nominated in the first place than they wouldn’t win anyway, imo.

  • Chris

    Wish they had never did 5 in the first place. A lot of great movies got snubbed from this category (cough…Dark Knight…cough).

  • Phil G

    It’s important and matters in the sense that it will probably lead more people to watch the ceremony, which is really the bottom line here. It’s important to remember that the Oscars began in 1928 as a way to improve what was at the time a less than respectable image. It began and has remained nothing more than a yearly publicity jerk off that has evolved into the media and cultural event that it has. Adding five movies will likely include some more popular titles, which should drive viewers to the show.

    But, really, I can imagine why anyone would give a fuck if their movie isn’t recognized by the Academy. Does it really make THE DARK KNIGHT less of a movie because it was “snubbed” by the Academy? Let’s not forget that this is the same Academy that never gave Hitchcock an award (the memorial award hardly counts), chose ORDINARY PEOPLE over RAGING BULL, picked THE ENGLISH FUCKING PATIENT over FARGO. The list can go on and on about Oscar fuck ups, blunders, and head scratchers. Who looks to the Academy to validate the movies they enjoyed that year?

  • The difficulty lies in the following: Do you award the best film based upon the views of the most pretentious a-holes in the industry and their pretentious notions of what constitutes a successful artistic film endeavor, or do you look at hard numbers a.k.a. box office sales to determine the “best” film?

    I think either extreme is “wrong.” Certainly Paul Blart Mall Cop and Batman (sorry) do not deserve best film. But, neither do Frost/Nixon or Milk. ::BLECH!!!::

    There needs to be a balance. SOME incorporation of public sentiment in determining what film is “best.” The pendulum has swung too far in the direction of uber pretentious, liberal, industry, a-holes determining who is nominated and it makes no sense.

    Afterall, if films are made for an audience, doesn’t that audience’s reception of the film count?

  • Phil G

    Well, I would tend to think that there are a number of awards shows that already incorporate public sentiment in who wins.

    Here’s the thing with the Oscars: if you look at the demographic make up of who’s voting for this shit, it’s mostly actors (highest percentage) and there are a ton of members that are old as fuck and haven’t done anything in forever. Which is to say, the old guard is still ruling things in the Academy. In other words, they are without a doubt out of touch with what constitutes a best anything, let alone picture. This is how shit like CHICAGO and CRASH win this thing. The Oscars is looked at as the grand daddy of all awards, but it’s only because it’s the oldest and films are still looked at as a superior art form/entertainment over, say, television. Look at the Golden Globes. The film people are right up front, and TV is relegated to the cheap seats. Which is ironic because the argument can be made that in the last ten years or so TV has produced better quality shows more consistantly than Hollywood.

  • jp cate

    I tend to agree with the last statement in sean’s paragraph and with the other responders with here: the issue is essentially about respectability with the general viewing public and not with the fundamental structure that actually decides which movies win. I might potentially enjoy the academy awards more with a greater recognition of the movies I enjoy, but as long as that structure itself changes, this move to have more nominees is really only a larger glimpse to see what movies in previous years didn’t make it and wouldnt; a far greater snub to me.

  • Big Hungry

    So does this mean that the Lord of the Rings, Titanic and Ben Hur will be more likely to be passed up with more than 11 wins? I think opening up wins for movies is what the MTV movie awards is for. But I do not remember ever seeing a best picture MTV movie awards burst on a package. Maybe we will someday see a Film Junk on a package and it will say “this movie is junk!”

    I also feel the more wins that can occur in an arena sometimes end up watering down the competition that occurs. It is like that “every kid is an honor roll student” bumper sticker.

  • Billy Lightcap

    Every year I hear the same gripe from different movie fans…”Why won’t they nominate an action film?…why won’t they nominate a comedy? why won’t they nominate an animated movie?” This change may address this complaint very neatly. As far as the Academy membership goes…aren’t they the people from the many trades, besides acting, that make films happen? Who votes for The Golden Globes??? People who write for the foreign press…talk about “out of touch”.

  • jp cate

    Okay, we need to get down to the essential point: what is the difference between a nomination and a win! If I lost, I would say its quite a bit of a difference, so the fact of the matter is that no matter how much they enlarge the public knowledge of “prospective” winners, they will never be any closer to actually winning an academy award. If a nomination is good enough, then so be it and this is great. But if its not? Then what?

  • I agree, selecting 10 films instead of 5 doesn’t really address the major gripe most people have with the Academy, namely what kind of movies they consider the “best.” By seclecting 5 more of the same movies that 90% of the viewing public saw and didn’t enjoy, didn’t see and don’t want to, or never heard of – would exacerbate the current disiilusionment – not remedy it…

    They need to fundamentlly change the process they determine the “best” films becasue many of the ones they choose suck. One step would be to leave the politics at home – then there have at least been the chance to honor two good films rather than “Milk” and “Frost Nixon.”

  • Tyler

    So basically what you’re saying Shut-Up Ed is that they shouldn’t nominate films you think suck. Who are you? The world’s most elite film critic?

    What makes your opinion more credible than the opinions of those in the Academy?

    I don’t always agree with the films that get nominated but isn’t that to be expected?
    No matter which films they nominate, there’s always going to be a lot of people who completely disagree with them. I think the best way to accommodate this problem would be to diversify the awards by introducing Oscars for Best Action Film and Best Comedy Film etc.

  • Goon

    “I think the best way to accommodate this problem would be to diversify the awards by introducing Oscars for Best Action Film and Best Comedy Film etc.”


    For all the problems the Oscars/Academy have, from personal politics to studio politics, the last thing it needs to do is pander in that way. If thats what we’re doing and if its all about not liking the tastes of the Academy, might as well open up the Oscars to voting from the general public.

    The most realistic upside is movies that are considered art house and very good but too small or quirky to be nominated… will maybe get nominated. Maybe it means something like Up would get nominated. I could even believe if this was in place already that the Dark Knight could get nominated.

    The most realistic downside is that movies that the studios NEED to get awards in order to make any money but are universally considered not up to snuff (ie. The Soloist) may end up getting nominated.

    In the end there’ll be a mix of some welcome new nominees and a few more ‘wtf’ ones.

    But its their club and its their awards, and I respect that enough to just disagree with some of their choices every year rather than try and force open the doors that Internet fanboys hope will get their fun movie of choice recognition, but in practice just turns it into the MTV Movie Awards where teen girls successfully get Twilight recognition as being more worthy than Slumdog Millionaire.

  • Yes Tyler,

    That’s precisely what I was saying. I should choose. Go kill yourself you twat.

  • Rosa

    There have been mixed reactions to the decision:
    But I think the Academy was hasty, the expansion will cause voting problems, now a movie can win with a small percentage of the vote, they will have to restructure the entire system.