Didja hear?! The Oscars’ Best Picture category is expanding from a svelte, ultra-elite five nominees to a bloated, practically unfussy 10. Paging Mr. Paul Blart…
What else are we to make of this unlikely change. Was the public clamoring for more nominees? Were there really ten films in 2008 that deserved the undeniable cache of a Best Pic nod? I have nothing against expansion—Major League Baseball’s wildcard playoff system was a sublime instance of business needs meeting sports fan demands. But who demanded this?
So, if you're listening Academy of Arts and Sciences, how about a compromise, a peace accord if you will: the sixth nominee wildcard! Here’s how it works: you let Academy voters make their picks, per usual. After the contentious vote counting system comes up with a top 5, you tabulate the movies that ranked 6-10 and make voters choose their favorite from that group. And voila: six Best Picture nominees. Terrible idea? Sure! Worse than the Academy’s new, not-so-bright decree? Impossible!
Here’s what some other movie-obsessed MTV staffers had to say about the situation.
Movies Editor Josh Horowitz: This sounds like someone at the Academy did some research and discovered that a Best Picture nod (the presumptive sixth nominee?) for "The Dark Knight" last year would have boosted ratings significantly. We all knew a change was coming for the Oscars. But I'm not certain if this was the right one to make. Billy Crystal must be relieved he doesn't do an Oscar medley anymore. 10 films would have killed the poor bastard.
Movies Blog Editor Adam Rosenberg: I don't really see what the point of this is. It doesn't really matter that there's precedent. The politics of who wins what still won't change. So a few comedies and documentaries and the like will be able to label themselves as a "Best Picture nominee" now. The simple fact remains that the Oscars are fundamentally broken in a lot of ways. Expanding the top-tier category isn't going to fix things.
Senior Producer Brian Jacks: There are few things in Hollywood that set movies apart more than an Academy Award nomination. It's an important distinction for both studios and moviegoers. Now -- with this decision -- the allure of receiving a Best Picture nod has been diminished. With the field open to ten films, the race itself becomes considerably less important, leaving only the actual winner of note and not the individual contenders. I think it's a poor choice on the Academy's part and hope they realize that part of the shine has been erased.
Splash Page Editor Rick Marshall: While this bodes well for future films based on comic books (my particular corner of the movie world), it's unfortunate that they arrived at the decision too late for "The Dark Knight" to receive the nomination it deserved. It's probably no coincidence that the change is being made immediately following a year in which the second highest-grossing film of all time was left out of the pool of Best Picture nominees, so I guess Batman's loss did did have a positive effect of sorts. Now, the pressure is on movie studios to produce more quality films like "The Dark Knight" and "Iron Man" that are not only good comic book movies, but good movies overall.
Hollywood Crush Editor Lindsay Soll: Does this mean that there will be a better mix of mainstream vs. independent movies? If yes, then it wouldn't be a horrific idea. However, the thought of them having to go through 10 Best Picture movie montages -- or however it is they decide to present the nominees-- sounds incredibly painful. Plus with five more possibilities than before, it doesn't feel like its going to feel so special to even get a nod.
What do you think about the switch from five nominees to 10? Weigh in below...