The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ surprising decision to allow for anywhere between five and 10 Best Picture nominees next year strikes me as a clear-headed response to some of the criticism surrounding the recent supersizing of the category. It seems to me that, had the newly announced system been in place over the last few years, a film like The Dark Knight would have made it into the race, while a questionable nominee like The Blind Side wouldn’t have made the cut. So they’re on the right track.
But as someone who spends months analyzing the Oscar race and predicting the nominees every year, I have one remaining question: How does it affect ME? (I just saw the phenomenal Book of Mormon last night, so Andrew Rannells’ genius “but mostly me” refrain is bouncing around my head.) I feel like today’s news throws a really fun curve ball into the Oscar prediction game, which has grown increasingly yawn-inducing over the last few years, thanks to all the pre-Oscar lists and prizes. This fall and winter, not only will my Oscar-blogger colleagues and I have to rank the possible contenders as usual, but we’ll also need to speculate as to which ones will be able to snag that magic 5 percent of first-place votes to score a nomination. (Not to keep harping on The Blind Side, but there’s no way 300 of the 6,000 or so AMPAS members put it at No. 1 on their nomination ballots.) In a way, guessing the eventual number of Best Picture nominees will end up being kind of a tie-breaker for all of us Oscar nerds. So I’d like to thank the Academy’s Board of Governors for making our lives a lot more interesting, at least for the next few years.