When folks complained about films like “WALL-E” or “The Dark Knight” not getting nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, I’m not exactly sure that expanding the nominees in the Best Picture category is what they had in mind to right the situation.
Nevertheless, rather than just having the sack to nominate the best films even if they’re animated or action movies or don’t involve the Holocaust, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have decided that starting with this year’s Oscars, they will expand the number of nominees for Best Picture from five to ten. They will be working under the assumption that their members can identify ten of the year’s best pictures even though they seem to have great difficulty with just five.
But the Academy is actually turning back the clock with this move as they used to nominate ten films for Best Picture but that process ceased after 1943 and they went to the now-standard five. The last film to win against ten competitors: “Casablanca” so I can’t really say that the heavier competition resulted in the wrong winner. I can say that for 1941 when, among ten nominees, “How Green Was My Valley” beat out “Suspicion”, “The Maltese Falcon”, and a little film called “Citizen Kane”.
It’s actually an ingenious move by the Academy to get folks to care about the Oscars again. Think about it: why stop at five movies people can bitch about when they can bitch about ten! It will also crank up the studio marketing machines as they’ll try harder to get Best Picture nominations for films that previously wouldn’t have a chance at cracking into one of the five nomination slots. I can’t wait for “For Your Consideration” ads for “Paul Blart”.