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Oscars expand the best-picture race to 10 films

June 24, 2009 | 10:38 am

The next Oscars derby will be more heated – and crowded. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences just announced that the best-picture race will now include 10 contenders instead of five.

Between 1932 and 1943, that Oscars category usually spanned 10 films, but then switched to just five for the year covering movies released in 1944. The most famous top 10 back then was the impressive list for 1939 when "Gone With the Wind" claimed the prize. The other nine notable nominees: "Dark Victory," "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "Love Affair," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Ninotchka," "Of Mice and Men," "Stagecoach," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Wuthering Heights."


In 1931-32, there were eight nominees and in 1934 and 1935 there were 12 contenders. The last time there were 10 nominees "Casablanca" won best picture of 1943.

"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 academy President Sid 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.

"Having 10 best picture nominees is going [to] 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, Ganis added. "I can't wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February." Nominations will be announced Feb. 2.

Other film-award organizations announce top 10 lists these days, including the National Board of Review, Critics Choice Awards and the American Film Institute. The Golden Globes have traditionally nominated 10 best pictures, five in the drama race, five in the comedy/musical classification.

The Oscars are also following the lead of the Emmys, which announced earlier this year that the number of nominess for many categories will expand to six from the usual five: best comedy and drama series plus the races for lead and supporting series actors.

Photo: Los Angeles Times


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The comments to this entry are closed.


Unbelievable. Just what the Academy needed to do to stir the buzz. Now with close to 400 million to date, I won't be surprised to see a best pic Oscar Nomination for 'Transformers 2'.

R.I.P., Oscar tradition and honorability

No one is fooled. Obviously, this is about ratings, advertising rates and licensing fees. The Academy and ABC think more people will watch if for example, "The Dark Knight" had been nominated last year. On the other hand, I like the idea of recognizing more films. But on the (third) hand, some years it will be tough to field ten decent candidates... like ironically, this year! However I do agree with another poster who noted, this makes the "Best Director" category even more relevant... for there you will find your true Best Picture contenders.

I understand why AMPAS is doing this BUT 10 Best Pic nominees??? I think its ludicrous. There will still be 5 Best Director nominees and the films they represent are the 5 real Best Pic nominees. I'm sorry but Star Trek, New Moon, etc DO NOT EVEN DESERVE CONSISDERATION. For higher rating, the studios need to release mainstream appealing movies.

So from here on out its not worth paying attention to the 10 nominees. Just follow Best Director.

Another LAT blog suggests the idea started with none other than Laurence Mark & Bill Condon. Could this be "Revenge of the Dreamgirls, Part Deux" (part one being this year's Oscarcast)?

And let's not forget it's not JUST about "Up": Disney returns to 2D animation in December with "The Princess and the Frog", with the lead voiced by Anika Noni Rose--yep, Lorrell from "Dreamgirls". Remember, voiceover roles CAN be nominated for acting (though none has to date). Since the change to 10 all but assures a Best Picture nom for "Up" and if reviews are favorable may even get one for "Frog", don't you think Disney will cough up big bucks for FYC ads touting Ed Asner for Best Actor & Rose for Best Actress?

To be one of five nominees is a prestigious honor. To be one of 10 won't be. Some years it's difficult to even find 5 films, and now we have to have 10?
Yes, 1939 was an exceptional year, but when was the last time we had a year like that? Oh, yes, it was 1939.
Why not check back and find out why 10 films was changed to 5 in 1944. There had to be a reason. And now we want to change a 65 year old tradition? Why? It certainly isn't because better movies are being made today. I'm sure it's got to do with money, ratings, and more money. That nomination will certainly draw larger audiences in the theatres.

I am jazzed! There were so many good films last year that needed more attention/recognition. I can count an easy 15 films last year I thoroughly enjoyed. I've added the Independent Spirit Awards fo my viewing list and hoping this catches on more with viewers.

As a huge film junkie I am pleased with this news. Come December there will be too many films jostling to get nominated and sci-fi and animated films always get the boot. Wall-E was worthy last year and Star Trek is worth this year. This is good news becuase it will bring more recognizable films to the table. I love my indie films but that doesn't mean the more broader appealling films aren't ever worthy. This will make it more fun, and less predictable!

Oh good? Will there now be two winners? Or do they just want to torment us with the most boring show on earth.

Thank you Oscars... Just what we were dying to hear.

You guys are completely wrong, this will make the category even more competitive because more films that would never before have stood a chance at a nomination will be throwing their names into the fold and fighting for a nod. Theres never been any complaining when critics groups put out a top ten and then announce a winner, just think of it the same way.
These ten films are the ten best of the year according to this group the Oscars, and then the members of this group will vote for what they believe to be the best. I guarantee you that with this rule in place, votes will be split and there will be suprising winners as a result. With more possobilities to chose from, the likelyhood that Academy members will vote on their own personal favorite will skyrocket which is a good thing, rather than have members vote on the more popular movie when their favorite is not a choice on the ballot. I guarrantee that had this been in place last year with say The Dark Knight, Wall-e, The Wrestler, Doubt and Gran Torino as the other five, Slumdog Millionaire would not have been as much of a sure thing to win, especially since the older members could have gotten behind Gran Torino, while the Actors may have put their weight behind The Wrestler and all other groups could have came behind Wall-e or The Dark Knight.
With 10 nominees in place, voters would probably be more inclined to vote based on their own oppinion rather than succumb to a Slumdog like sheep mentality. And by doing this, the odds of a better movie or a more unique film winning would be exponentially greater.
Over at my blog The Oscar Hut, the first part of my State of The Race: Best Picture 2009 article is up detailing in alphabetical order the ten movies I think will be nominated, from Avatar to Up. Along with this article there are polls, reviews, predictions, site links and much more. So come check it out and let me know what you think wheter it be a sentence or a three page e-mail positive or negative, whatever it may be, only at The Oscar Hut
[email protected]

Its a good idea--at least if there are good movies. This year so far there is 2 good movie's and thats Up & Star Trek. All the rest has been real crap . so now sci-fi--musicals & great cartoons can finally get nominations that they were screwed out of before.
Now they need an ensemble cast award- lets face it there are a lot of movies where there is no best actor - but best cast because they are all aces.

I might not be the target demographic, but I don't find ten movies I even want to see in most years.


Talk about devaluing something! A PR solution to bigger ratings. A disgrace to all those who have actually been a part of "nominated" films. A move that will make a mockery of the "artistic" claims of the members. And, yes, why were the members not polled? A few of the "insiders" decided for the thousands who actually make up the Academy. Oh. I forgot - the president is a PR guy not a director or writer or actor. And the "Board"? It's made up of a few people chosen in a ludicrous manner. I hope the members raise hell.

This year we're going to have six, rather than five, nominations slots at the prime-time Emmy awards.

Next year we're going to have ten, rather than five, nominations slots for the top, best-picture prize, at the Academy Awards.

On one hand you have "opportunity."

On the other, you have excess.

The risk is that these moves feel less special. That it reduces the significance of the awards.

oh boo hoo. Why is everyone complaining?

I LOOOOOOVE this decision. Now films like Up or Star Trek which are GREAT movies can actually be nominated for an award they deserve to be nominated for. This decision is an attack on the snobs, and thank god they did it!

Now I guess Beauty and the Beast will no longer be the only animated film nominated for Best Picture. UP can surely be in the race in 2010.

When does Mr. Ganis' tenure at the Academy end?

and they fret over the show running too long now.

This is a wonderful thing!!! The Oscars have always seemed to short-sighted to me; it’s like The Academy forgets that there were films released earlier in the year. I always hated the fact that only films released at the end of the year ever get nominated for awards and that studios hold up on releasing films until the “final quarter” in hopes that their film may be considered at Oscar time. Hopefully, many of the fantastic films that are released in January-June will have a fighting chance to win an Oscar. Bravo!

What dumb bunny ignored Best Years of Our Lives (1947) among the top 12 Best Picture Oscars? Ahead of, say, All About Eve? about knee jerk reaction. There are a couple of the "bad move" comments I agree with, but I noticed no one mentioned that this may allow some good films that might not make the top five by a point or two to have a chance at winning the award.

Look at the 1939 list. (IMHO, the best film year ever)...which five would you delete from the list?

Why not wait and see how this plays out?

Ironically, this idiotic annoucement comes just days after Variety printed a story pointing out that six months into 2009, no film released this year has demonstrated any strong Best Picture potential.

What an idiotic decision. Wee all know the only reason is to lure more people into watching the telecast. If this decision had been made a year ago, surely more people would've watched the Oscar telecast had The Dark Knight been nominated. But at what cost? What's next?

HORRIBLE idea! However, this does give a fighting chance to "I Love You, Man" and "Land of the Lost."

What about a year in which there aren't 10 good films? It could - and does - happen.




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