It is, perhaps, the most stunning Oscar news in years:
Oscars expand the best-picture race to 10 films
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.
Tom O’Neil at the L.A. Times’ Gold Derby notes that this does have historical precedent:
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….
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.
As Anne Thompson at Variety points out:
The reason is obvious. Given that the annual show is designed to showcase and promote the movie industry, boosting the number of films will broaden the show’s appeal. The broadcast has suffered drops in viewers when the best picture winner isn’t Titanic or Lord of the Rings.
That sounds about right to me.
Hilariously, a lot of commenters all over the Web — that is, the readers responding to the news, not the professional industry watchers — seem to think that this means Star Trek will get a nomination for Best Picture. Much as I love that movie, that seems like a real stretch. Up is probably a shoo-in, though.
What do you think of Oscar expanding the Best Picture category from 5 to 10 movies?
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)