It was announced yesterday that the Academy will now nominate ten films for Best Picture. From their press release:
For more than a decade during the Academy’s earlier years, the Best Picture category welcomed more than five films; for nine years there were 10 nominees. The 16th Academy Awards (1943) was the last year to include a field of that size; “Casablanca” was named Best Picture. (In 1931/32, there were eight nominees and in 1934 and 1935 there were 12 nominees.) “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,” commented Ganis.
One might coin this “the Wall-E decision”, as there was much speculation and controversy last year over Pixar’s Wall-E — that it could (or should) have been nominated for Best Picture.
This move to include more movies as nominees will allow more commercially successful films (i.e. big budget Hollywood fantasies) to compete with the artier fare (Slumdog Millionaire, The Reader, Milk, etc.), no doubt to help increase the ratings for the Oscar broadcast. Ten nominees could also boost box office gross and DVD sales for twice as many films.