Best Picture Oscar Nominees Double to Ten
The Emmys may have decided to shake up their nomination rules by adding six candidates to their top categories, but Academy Awards president Sid Ganis has decided to do them one better: he's adding five more films to vie for the top prize.
For those who don't know, this is very good news. It means that worthy films will be much more likely to make a run for the prestigious Best Picture trophy. And by worthy films, I mean movies generally overlooked based on their genre, namely animated films, foreign language films and, possibly, documentaries.
Of course, this decision comes a little too late. The Dark Knight definitely would have benefited from such a major decision last year, as would have WALL-E, The Wrestler and maybe even Waltz with Bashir.
As great as this move is, it's hard not to think of several films that were on everyone's top ten list that still managed to lose out on Best Picture nominations. Aside from the aforementioned movies from last year, titles I could easily see as benefactors (were the rule in place earlier on) are Ratatouille, The Lives of Others, Pan's Labyrinth, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and City of God.
Ganis said that he hopes the new rule will make it easier for comedies to get in as well, stating, "Everybody says the academy will never nominate a comedy. Well, maybe we will."
Yeah, pretty sure 2007's Juno, 2006's Little Miss Sunshine, 2004's Sideways and 2003's Lost In Translation were all comedies, but I think I know what Ganis means. Comedies typically don't fare well when compared to the number of Best Picture nominees that are dramas. But I'm more interested in seeing the first documentary nominated than a comedy.
One thing I'm calling right now: Up will be the second animated feature ever nominated for Best Picture. Until now, only 1991's Beauty and the Beast has held that honor. But now, Pixar's consistently intelligent and entertaining features should be very much in competition under this new rule.
Now, I don't think any of this will change who's going to win in the end. If another film like Slumdog Millionaire or No Country for Old Men comes out of the gate with the type of hype and admiration as either one of those movies had, it's going to clean house on awards night, whether the BP nominees are five or ten or fifty.
But still, this should make things fair in terms of who deserves a nomination. The only thing I would be cautious of is nominating ten films just for the sake of it, and as a result, honoring one or two titles that are better served being overlooked. Not every year can be a 2008 or a 2007, with an overflow of fantastic movies.
This new rule should be handled the same way as the Animated Feature category. That section can have up to five nominees, but if there aren't five good animated movies, it nominates only three. If there aren't ten good Best Picture films, don't push it.
Let's see how this new approach plays out on Oscar's 82nd birthday next year.
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