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Oscars doubles best-picture noms to 10

Hollywood Wrap with George Pennacchio
June 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is making a big change involving the Oscars. It's actually something the Academy used to do back in the 1930s.In most years between 1931 and 1943, there were 10 films nominated in the best-picture category. Beginning with next year's 82nd Annual Academy Awards, that's the way it's going to be again.

"We thought, we need 10 best picture nominees again," said Academy President Sid Ganis. "We need to do what we did in the 30s. So that's the big news."

Citing 1939 as an example of a great year for films, when "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" were just two of the 10 best-picture nominees, the Academy decided it was time again to double the amount of nominees in the best picture category.

"We'll be casting our net wider," said Ganis. "And in casting that net wider, who knows what's going to turn up?"

"Slumdog Millionaire" turned up as the last best-picture winner. "No Country for Old Men" was before that, and "The Departed" also recently took the prize. Beginning next year, though, it'll now be twice as hard to take home the gold.

On the flip side, twice as many films will get the honor of "just being nominated."

"To be one of 10 nominees out of 300 is still pretty special, so I do not think it'll dilute what we're doing in any way -- quite the opposite," said Ganis. "I think it just broadens it."

Historically, dramas usually make the cut. If this helps other genres, great. If not, it is what it is.

"In this category, we're about the best picture, not the 'best-something-picture,' but the very best picture. And we absolutely want to keep it that way," said Ganis. "This is the pinnacle of an honor for a motion picture and it's a singular honor."

There is one other twist. If a documentary becomes a favorite film of Academy voters, it could be nominated for best-documentary along with best-picture. The same is true of the foreign language and animation categories.

We'll see it all play out on March 7th right here on ABC7.

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