The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that there will now be TEN Best Picture nominees instead of only five. Certainly done for marketing reasons (more pictures with Oscar nominations, don’t you know?), the question to ask in these here parts is: How does this effect both “genre movies” and animated features?

Would THE DARK KNIGHT had gotten a Best Picture nomination if there were five more slots available?

Will this enable UP to escape the “Best Animated Feature” “ghetto” to be recognized with other pictures?



  1. I doubt any animated feature will be allowed to be nominated for Best Picture ever again. Much like comics and the Hugo after Sandman’s win.

  2. I just don’t understand it. It’s all well and good that more films will get to be nominated because the bar has been lowered, but if they’re not GOOD enough they’re not going to win anyway. The five films nominated are supposed to represent the best five films, so how could including five admittedly worse films change anything? If that isn’t the case then all the Academy is accomplishing now is admitting that they have no idea what they’re doing.

    If this succeeds in getting a movie like UP! nominated (only an example; it’s possible UP! was going to be nominated anyway), then ostensibly UP! shouldn’t win, since the only reason it was nominated was because there are extra spots. If UP! does win than it completely invalidates the awards process.

  3. “Would THE DARK KNIGHT had gotten a Best Picture nomination if there were five more slots available?”


    “Will this enable UP to escape the ‘Best Animated Feature’ ‘ghetto’ to be recognized with other pictures?”

    Haha, that’s cute. No.

  4. From what I understand, Best Picture is the only category open to ALL academy members, so it makes sense that this category would have the most nominations and the most to benefit from this change.

    The voting is done in two stages. First there is an open ballot, and then the top 5 films/performances move on to the final ballot. Increasing this number to 10 for Best Picture should increase the diversity of the films on the final ballot.

    There are just under 6,000 voting members in the Academy, and not all of them are going to see every film. You can be sure that every one of them gets a DVD of the nominated films, though.

    With the majority of the members being actors, I suppose it is certainly possible for the results to be skewed in that direction, which is another element that is addressed by this fix.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of “suddenly” there are 10 contenders for Best Picture, but there are certainly more than 5, and have been for several years.

    And yes, this should be good for genre movies, but won’t affect animated ones as long as there is a “best animated picture” award that they can collect. The only thing that could change that would be a rule allowing any picture nominated for a “best subsection” (best animated, best foreign film, best documentary, etc.) be eligible for best picture as well.

  5. Which is more important for economic and marketing purposes, being nominated or winning? The cynic’s perception, that increasing the number of nominees allows more studios to tout their nominations, is probably correct.


  6. Films in the subsections are already eligible for Best Picture. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life is Beautiful were nominated in each.

  7. There were ten nominees for Best Picture (sometimes eight, sometimes twelve) in the 1930s and into the early 1940s. So, actually, the Academy has looked back to try something new. Yeah, the idea is a little bit startling at first, but I like it. Hmmm…maybe now Moon has a chance!

  8. I used to LOVE the Oscars and believed them to be a marker of what was good in cinema that year. But I think they’ve slipped substantially in their picks in the past 10 years or so. Yes, I know, there have always been random selections and obvious winners, but overall, I think they used to be better.

    I think they still can be — I think, certainly, they can and do highlight movies that people would’ve overlooked otherwise. But I think they’re less and less about what’s good in film and more about what everyone likes (now, sure, there’s crossover between the two). This feels like a move further in that direction — recognizing what’s popular, regardless of quality.

    I said to a friend that it’s like a children’s soccer tournament where everyone gets a trophy.

  9. Seems like a bad idea. It will be a rare year when they can come up with ten credible nominees. So the risk is that they just end up devaluing the nomination for those movies that actually would have benefitted from it, had it meant something.

  10. I agree with Colin (and Tekende). Beauty and the Beast being nominated for Best Picture (a nomination that in my opinion it 100% deserved) scared the bejeezus out of the Academy. The creation of the “Best Animated Feature” award was a “never again” measure in my opinion.

  11. Why not just make it 20? Why limit it to 10? The Academy Awards long ago, lost their credibility anyway. The movie that has a sense of self importance, or has a mentally challenged character will gain all of the nominations, so what’s the point?

  12. “The only thing that could change that would be a rule allowing any picture nominated for a “best subsection” (best animated, best foreign film, best documentary, etc.) be eligible for best picture as well.”

    There’s no need for a rule change like this. The rules *already* explicitly state that pictures nominated as Best Animated Feature, or Best Documentary, or Best Foreign-Language Film can also be nominated in other categories. (The rules for “Best Animated Feature” even explicitly state that “Best Picture” is one of the other categories in which animated films are potentially eligible.) (See for last year’s awards’ rules.)

    If something needs to happen for an animated movie to be nominated as Best Picture instead of or in addition to Best Animated Feature, it’s clearly not a formal rule change…

  13. There are numerous “Best Pictures” which aren’t that good.

    With some armchair quarterbacking, the Academy probably looked at the vote totals from the nomination ballots and noticed a narrow statistical deviance. They also probably looked at the data from the “ten films” era and considered the possibility of ties. With a larger membership, statistical ranges will be greater when Academy members can now nominate ten films instead of five.

    It also makes it more difficult to predict the final outcome.

  14. I’m not really sure how this changes anything — if the Best Director category is still limited to five, then movies by the nominated directors will automatically be considered “first tier” and the others will be automatically rendered second tier.

    The biggest problem with the Academy is that voter demographics tend to trend much older and more conservative, and so the same types of films get nominated again and again, largely biopics, historical dramas, or semi-commercial art house fare. I was frankly surprised that “Slumdog Millionaire” built up such momentum — I’ve heard a lot of reasonable arguments questioning whether or not it was the “best” film of the year, but at least it was something different in terms of tone and subject matter.

    But yeah, this change might result in this year’s model of the critically-acclaimed geek movie being nominated, but don’t hold your breath for any sort of win.

    (Early prediction: Christopher Nolan will be nominated for his upcoming “Inception” for no other reason than he wasn’t nominated for “Dark Knight.” It’s just how the Academy works.)

  15. The change in the Oscars process would gain credibility if similar changes occur in the Directors Guild of America (five films) and the Golden Globes (five films each in two categories: Drama and Musical/Comedy) processes. The overlap between the DGA and the Oscar nominees suggests that the two groups use the same general criteria.


  16. I couldn’t care less about the pictures winning awards, but I do care about the picture makers. How can you have 10 best films and not 10 best directors, actors, writers, etc.? The film won but the folks who made it were not even nominated. What?