With today's news that in February, the Oscars will field 10 best-picture nominees, the horserace that is the Academy Awards promises to look a lot more like - a horserace.
"This year [when Slumdog Millionaire emerged victorious], five formidable films were nominated, but The Dark Knight, Iron Man and WALL.e were not," Academy president Sid Ganis said yesterday by phone. "We've felt for a while that we should widen the net of nominees."
In truth, it's a back-to-the-future move. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Oscars boasted 10 best-picture nominees. But it's been 65 years - when Casablanca took the top prize - since 10 films were in contention.
As I previously reported:
This just in from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Next year there will be 10 nominees for best picture. Have a call into AMPAS and don't know yet whether those 10 nominees will include animated pictures or not. In recent years I don't think there have been that many nominatable pics, do you? What I do know is that Oscar nominees get to use the Oscar logo on DVD and advertising merchandising and it's proven that a nomination boosts box office and ancillary revenues. I think this move is likely to dilute the honor of a nominee while enriching the coffers of the producer.