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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.


This is just dumb. Hollywood has been creatively bankrupt for years, so how in God's name are they gonna find 10 films to nominate? There weren't even 10 American-made films worth paying the admission price last year.

This is an outrage. It will accomplish one thing: watering down the significance of the Oscars. The same thing will happen as when they added the animated category: every single year there won't be enough worthy nominees so BAD movies will get nominated. Being a Best Picture nominee will mean nothing.

As to :"Other film-award organizations announce top 10 lists these days, including the National Board of Review, Critics Choice Awards and the American Film Institute." Yes, and what do these "lists" have in common? No one cares about them.

Sid Ganis and co. are leading the Oscars down the path to obscurity.

This NEEDS to be stopped. Five nominees works. There simply are not TEN BEST PICTURE NOMINEES in any given year.

And a return to block voting with a film produced by two studios having an enormous edge over an independent in a 10-way split.

I hope this doesn't make it easier for inferior films with strong minority support like Crash to win Best Picture. Maybe they should have Academy members vote for first, second, and third, and weight the votes.

They are both lowering the bar and allowing the new Best Film to win by a smaller and lobby-able number of membership votes.

Wow Could Star Trek or My Sister's keeper or a comedy or sci movie actually be in the competition this year?

The percentage needed to win however has now grown slim, which i'm not sure is fair.

This is rather shocking news, i almost think it would be better if they just split it into comedy/musical and drama like the golden globes.

Wow, that is pretty shocking. Oh, and I am first.




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