Yes, you heard correctly. The Academy Awards made an announcement today that the category for Best Picture will expand to 10 nominees. I guess they’re really desperate to boost its ratings, because why else would they change the format for film’s most prestigious award?
Here’s something that I didn’t know: In the 1930’s and early 1940’s, it was common to have ten Best Picture nominations. But the question is still, why the change now? Is it really because of the ratings or a different issue entirely?
I know that the public has been fed up with the selections for Best Picture in the past few years. There’s a hostility that critics and the public have greatly different tastes in movies, which (I’ll say it again) is basically true because the public is stupid when it comes to movies. The public’s view on movies can generally be determined by box office success while critics’ view on movies can be determined by their reviews. But here might be one of the big reasons why the category was extended… last year there was this film (you might’ve heard of it), The Dark Knight, that grossed over $533 million and had incredible reviews. Yet, it was snubbed after the voting was tallied. Now if there were 10 nominees last year, there’s no doubt that The Dark Knight would’ve been nominated along with other notable snubbs like WALL-E and Revolutionary Road.
So what do I think about the change? Well, I’m a bit impartial to the expansion at the moment. The good is that it’ll definitely broaden the range of movies that can have the title “nominated for Best Picture.” This almost definitely has Pixar’s Up a lock for this year’s Best Picture race since it’s the best reviewed film of the year so far (and will be at the year’s end). But the bad is the concern I have that there will really be TEN movies that deserve to be competing for Best Picture. Again, if last year had 10 nominees, who else would’ve been nominated? The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Gran Torino, Iron Man, and The Wrestler? But Gran Torino and Iron Man were good but definitely not Best Picture worthy.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how 2009 turns out. The only film that has been Oscar-worthy this year so far is Up. Then again, Oscar season hasn’t hit yet. For now, I think ten nominations are a bit too much, but heck maybe everything will work out.