Archive for June, 2009

Oscars’ Best Picture Category Expanded to 10?!?

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 | Student Life Staff

On January 22, 2009, this year’s Oscar Best Picture nominations were announced: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Frost/Nixon”, “Milk”, “The Reader”, and “Slumdog Millionaire”. Minutes later, Oscar watchers and bloggers were in an uproar: No Best Picture nominations for fan-favorites “The Dark Knight” or “Wall-E”!

These were two snubs that people just couldn’t get over (especially, “Dark Knight”). Personally, I wasn’t surprised or disappointed. I wasn’t that big a fan of “Wall-E” and I was annoyed with all of the “Best Movie Ever” buzz “The Dark Knight” was getting. Plus, the Academy never nominates superhero movies and has only ever nominated one animated movie (”Beauty and the Beast”).

For weeks, people were complaining about the Academy’s inability to keep up with the times or people’s tastes. I thought that since they were voting on what they thought were the BEST movies and not the most beloved or popular, that they chose fairly well (with the exeption of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”).

Now, the Academy has announced that they will be expanding the Best Picture race to include 10 nominees instead of the usual 5. Is this a direct result of the uproar caused by the “Dark Knight” snub? Many think so. I do too.

With this expanded list of nominees, the Academy will be able to include their high-quality, standard fair, as well as some of the fan favorites. It definitely opens up the category to a wider variety of nominees, but is this necessarily good?

On one hand, yes, this gives many more deserving films a chance to win (or be nominated for) Best Picture. It opens up the category for action films, animated movies, comedies, documentaries, foreign films and other genres that usually are entirely left off of the nominee list.

Last year, no doubt this would’ve made sure that “The Dark Knight” and “Wall-E” made it into the nominee list, while giving bigger chances to well-deserving movies like “The Wrestler”, “Doubt”, “Rachel Getting Married”, “Revolutionary Road”, and many more. It allows the Academy to honor more deserving movies.

That being said, doesn’t this change also dilute the honor of being nominated? No longer is a nominee one of 5, but one of 10. In my opinion, it seems to lessen the prestige of being nominated. Also, what if there aren’t 10 movies that are completely worthy of being nominated? Some nominees will just seem like fluff.

Well, I haven’t made up my mind as to whether this was a good or bad move, but in the meantime, what does this mean for this year? Well, it would seem that Pixar’s new film “Up” is most certainly a lock for one of the top 10 spots. While most of the Oscar bait isn’t being released until the fall/winter (”Invictus”, “Nine”, “Precious”, “Amelia”, etc.), a few other early releases seem to have a bigger shot at the top prize.

“Star Trek”, for instance, with its high critical and public appeal, seems to have greatly increaced chances. Next month’s “Public Enemies” does as well. Maybe even “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” can score one of those 10 nominations (probably not, but I’m crossing my fingers anyways).

While the jury is still out on whether this was the right decision or not, it does seem like this will help many films that wouldn’t have gotten nominated in the past; and is there really anything wrong with that?

What do you think?