I wasn’t planning on resuscitating this blog until September, but with news this huge, I’ll gladly make an exception. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that it will name 10 Best Picture nominees next year instead of five. Yes, that’s right: TEN Best Picture nominees! “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 AMPAS 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.” In the ’30s and ’40s the Academy recognized between 8 and 12 Best Picture nominees each year.
Several groups, like the Broadcast Film Critics Association, National Board of Review, and the American Film Institute, have already been listing 10 best films of the year instead of five. And with the Oscars now doing the same, I’d say this could really help the chances of some more commercially popular films, which are often edged out of the running by typical “Academy films” like The Reader or Frost/Nixon. Certainly The Dark Knight and WALL•E would have made a top 10 Academy list this year—will we now see Up and Star Trek on the Oscar ballot?