So I guess starting next year the Oscars are widening the Best Picture race to include 10 movies.
I have mixed feelings about this and will have to wait and see how it plays out. On one hand, it could make things more interesting. I did a post pre-Oscars this year about how annoyed I was that the nominees seemed to be limited to "awards bait" films released within a month of the end of the year cut off date, alienating anything premiering from January through November. I was especially irritated that The Dark Knight and WALL-E were overlooked. Having double the number of nominees could open the door for bigger movies that have increasingly been dismissed as summer fluff.
I'm wondering if this development also means they are considering UP for a Best Picture slot this year. The addition of the Best Animated Feature in 2002 gave the Academy an excuse to exclude any animated film from the Best Picture race, no matter how impressive the film. This particularly irked me last year when WALL-E was snubbed and I will be similarly peeved if UP is overlooked come January, especially with 10 available slots. UP is by far the best film I've seen so far this year, and I would even go as far as to say it was slightly better than WALL-E.
I would be happy if you nominated me. Squirrel!
I do have my reservations, however. It is curious that this change is being made in a year with so few great movies. We are finally feeling the effects from last year's writer's strike with a dearth of quality films. I wonder come awards season if the Academy will be scraping the bottom of the barrel for nominees.
It also makes me wonder, even if this was a year chock full of good flicks, if increasing the size of the playing field could dilute the award altogether. I've often felt the Golden Globes suffer from this problem even as they separate their top prize into "Best Drama" and "Best Musical or Comedy" categories. The Oscars have no such plan to split Best Picture into categories and I'm wondering how it will look to see something like "Schindler's List" up against something like "Mamma Mia!".
It's still too early for me to form an opinion on this development so I'll have to reserve judgement until next February after the big show. I just hope this doesn't mean I have to stay up for a 6 hour broadcast just to see clips from all the films.