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The Academy Considering a Return to Just Five Best Picture Oscar Nominees

In 2009, the Academy upped the number of films it honored with Best Picture nominations from five to ten. That plan could soon come to an end, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

While the Academy never admitted it, the expansion to ten Best Picture nominees was made after The Dark Knight was snubbed among the 2008 Oscar nominees. Hoping to increase interest among average moviegoers and younger viewers, the Academy believed that going to ten Best Picture nominees would be a good way to get films like The Dark Knight into the mix.

This idea worked the first year. Alongside prestige flicks A Serious Man and An Education were District 9, Up and The Blind Side — you know, movies that everyone saw. Things seemed to be working.

The Academy's ten-picture slate became a five-to-ten picture slate for the 2011 Oscars. Depending on how Academy members voted, we got between eight and nine Best Picture nominees since then. By 2015, the Academy wasn't nominated films that honored The Dark Knight's snub. We just saw eight Best Picture nominees that barely made a dent at the box office ... meaning no one actually saw the films that the Academy considered the best of 2014.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a "significant fraction of the Academy" is pushing to return to just five Best Picture nominees. There's a feeling that the expanded Best Picture field has failed and "that having too many best picture nominees has watered down the prestige of a nomination."

Done right, having ten Best Picture nominees is an excellent idea. I don't buy the belief that an expanded slate waters down the meaning of a Best Picture nomination. We all know that the Academy is never going to declare a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy the year's Best Picture, but what's the harm in nominating it? In 2015, there were only eight Best Picture nominees. Tell me adding Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie wouldn't have given people a new reason or two to watch the Oscar ceremony. (It would've also made Chris Pratt a major Oscar presence.)

Going back to five nominees isn't going to help make the Oscars more popular. Moviegoers aren't going to tune in to see five The Readers compete for the year's top honors.

THR reports that the Academy's board of governors will next meet on March 24 and could consider an official proposal to shift back to having just five Best Picture nominees then.
The Academy Considering a Return to Just Five Best Picture Oscar Nominees Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 3/04/2015 Rating: 5

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