Academy award nominations come out next week Tuesday, and the big change that was announced was that the Best Picture category was going to be expanded from five nominees to ten nominees. According to then Academy President Sid Ganis, the decision to expand the list was 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.”
Now, it’s been debated for months what the actual impact of this decision will be (if any) by bloggers and critics alike, but now that the votes are already in (they were due by Saturday, January 23) is the addition of five more nominees enough to make a difference?
“As virtually every breathless Oscar prognosticator will tell you, there are only four movies that have even a remote chance of winning best picture, and all four of them — “Avatar,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds” and “Up in the Air” — would’ve made the final cut anyway, regardless of whether the academy had five or 10 best picture nominees this year . . . . it’s safe to say that all the other films in the discussion are glorified also-rans. It’s a four-film race. Period. . . . none of the films outside of the Fab Four is going anywhere.”
In essence Goldstein figures that with these four movies a shoo-in for noms and one most likely to take home the award, having ten nominations changed little if anything at all. When posed the question on whether or not it was still a bad move to expand the nominees, current Academy president Tom Sherak had this to say:
“I know it’s the oldest cliche in the world but, by and large, if people are talking about you, it’s always a good thing. The move to expand the nominees has created an enormous amount of buzz about the Oscars and the movies that are in contention. A lot of people think it’s a good idea, a lot of people don’t, but regardless of the pros and cons, it’s ignited a debate that been good for the Oscars.”
Now I know this has been debated to death, but Goldstein makes a valid point. What was the purpose of this exercise if there are sure fire Oscar noms? Is being “talked about” as Sherak implies simply enough? Or will the six other nominees “being recognized” be satisfied with that?
In these quotes from two different Academy presidents we have different reasonings for having nominations–with only one of them supporting the benefit of the nominees. When it comes down to it, I tend to agree with Goldstein, adding five more nominations doesn’t do all that much. In this specific scenario this year, I’m sure that the other six movies that are nominated would be talked about just as much if they hadn’t been nominated before this change was made (they probably still would have been talked about just as much–but mainly because why they’re good but not included).
This is of course all hypotheticals. We’ll just have to wait and see after the awards come out whether or not this decision proved fruitful.