Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ten Films for Best Picture

The Motion Picture Academy announced Wednesday that for the first time in more than 65 years, the field of best picture nominees will be expanded to 10 contenders for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

“Having 10 best picture nominees is going 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,” said Acad prexy Sid Ganis in announcing the shift. “I can’t wait to see what that list of 10 looks like when the nominees are announced in February.”

The last time the Oscar race featured 10 best pic contenders was the 16th annual contest in 1943, when "Casablanca" emerged with the top prize. There were 10 best pic noms for most of the Academy Awards' first decade. In 1935 there was a bumper crop of 12 nominees.

Acad's decision will undoubtedly add heat to next year's Oscar campaigning, especially in a year when no obvious front-runners have emerged in the first half. The move also comes on the heels of biz complaints that the Acad's rule of limiting the pic nominees to the top five vote-getters elbows out some of the more popular titles, such as last year's B.O. champ "The Dark Knight."

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