THE ACADEMY DOUBLES BEST PICTURE NOMINEES TO TEN

academy-award-oscar

THE ACADEMY AWARDS are doubling the number of BEST PICTURE nominees from five to 10.

ACADEMY president Sid Ganis said at a news conference that the ACADEMY’S board of governors made the decision to expand the slate. He claimed that the decision will open the field up to more worthy films for the top prize at Hollywood’s biggest party.

The change takes effect with next year’s OSCARS on MARCH 7.

The move is a return to OSCAR traditions of the 1930s and 40s, when 10 nominees were common.

“After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” Sid Ganis announced.

“Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize.”

Sid Ganis said the board looked at last year’s slate of films and decided there was room for more in the top category. “We nominated five, but there were many other great films last year,” he commented.

He explained that the broader field also might make room for documentaries, foreign language films, animated movies and even comedies, which typically do not fare well at the OSCARS.

“Everybody says the academy will never nominate a comedy,” Mr. Ganis remarked.

“Well, maybe we will.”

“It’s going to give the public the possibility of being more interested in the show this year, just because it might very well include more populist movies. And because it’s 10, not five, there will be a larger group of people who will be interested.”

Having 10 or more nominees was common in Hollywood’s golden age 60 – 70 years ago.

Mr. Ganis noted that 1939’s 10 BEST PICTURE nominees were GONE WITH THE WIND (the deserving winner), WUTHERING HEIGHTS, DARK VICTORY, THE WIZARD OF OZ, STAGECOACH, LOVE AFFAIR, OF MICE & MEN, GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS, NINOTCHKA and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON.

All are generally considered classics today.

The change caught studio executives and others in Hollywood by surprise. Some said it was a good idea to open the main prize up to more films.

ACADEMY voters often have overlooked “big box office successes that also were really big artistic successes,” said CHRISTINE BURCH, an ACADEMY member and head of marketing for DREAMWORKS.

“Those weren’t deemed quote unquote academy movies. This gives those movies an opportunity to not have to fall by the wayside.”

Two of this year’s best reviewed movies, PARAMOUNT’S sci fi adventure STAR TREK and the DISNEY/PIXAR animated tale UP, now have better odds of BEST PICTURE nominations, CHRISTINE BURCH remarked.

Publicist TONY ANGELOTTI, who has worked on awards campaigns for such studios as MIRAMAX and UNIVERSAL, said OSCAR voters might stick largely to the sober dramas that typically dominate the BEST PICTURE category.

“Academy members vote for the films they like. This doesn’t change their tastes, so the kinds of nominations we’ve seen the past are probably what we’ll see in the future. There’s just going to be more of them.”

Others said it was impossible to say how it might affect the OSCARS, which are awarded by the ACADEMY’S 5,800 members.

“With a voting body that large, you just can’t predict what this means,” said DISNEY spokesperson JASMINE MADATIAN, an ACADEMY member who oversees the studio’s awards campaigns.

The kinds of films ACADEMY members include in the expanded nominations could have a huge effect on the OSCAR ratings, which generally have declined over the last decade. The show tends to draw more TV viewers in years when blockbusters are serious contenders for best picture.

“I think it makes the race much more exciting and offers a broader showcase to celebrate and honour the year’s most outstanding films,” said SONY PICTURES spokesperson STEVE ELZER, who is also an ACADEMY member.

“Folks who really didn’t have a chance to get into the top five will now really rethink whether they can be competitive in that environment.”

Studios spend millions on advertising, screenings, DVD mailings and other expenses to position films for awards consideration. Expanding the main event will force studios to decide whether to boost their awards budgets or spread the money among more movies, potentially diluting their investments in the films with the best prospects of winning.

But studios also could ring up more theatre and DVD sales, since nominations – and particularly a BEST PICTURE win – prompt people to see more OSCAR contenders.

“It gives the potential OSCAR bounce to five additional films. The fact that they were Best Picture nominees, whether they win or not – that can be a very powerful marketing tool,” stated PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, box office analyst for HOLLYWOOD.COM.

“There’s still only going to be one winner, though. That’s the bottom line.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: