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Really, Oscar, Ten Best Picture Noms?

by Lisa Diggs on Feb 02nd 2010

Normally, I reserve this space for talking about all things Michigan, but this morning I'm streching a bit because the latest nominations for the Academy Awards were announced, and I find myself wanting to explore their new direction.  As Michigan becomes the Hollywood of the midwest, I like many of you, find myself more interested in how that business works.

This is the first year that the Academy is choosing to recognize ten films in the Best Picture category.  I knew this change was coming, and yet, when it came the oddity of it still startled me. 

As a lifelong fan of movies, I have often lamented the absence of a unique small film that deserved broader recognition and was left off the list of best picture nominees.  But that's the way of the world, and it's how the Academy voters worked.  Their system is indeed flawed, and perhaps this is an attempt to fix it, but is the answer really to recognize even more films? 

It seems to me that many a year goes by that I struggle to find ten films worthy of actually going to the theater and buying a ticket.  Some have a great script, but flawed execution.  Some have one or two brilliant performances, but that's not enough to make me love the movie.  Some have incredibly cool effects, but no real story.  I fear the same is true as the Best Picture category extends to ten. 

The Golden Globes already recognizes ten films, but by having a Drama category and a Comedy or Musical category.  This is far more logical in that it is sometimes difficult to see the equal genius of a Juno and a No Country for Old Men.  Certainly the Academy has a long track record of preferring to be known for epics and deep dramas than for lighter, possibly more entertaining fare.  Thus, a division might have given an opportunity for more of those films to take home a statue.  Instead, they lumped them all into one category, which certainly does not change the odds of a small film winning. 

As long as movie companies are willing to spend and spend to campaign for a film, making one large category certainly doesn't even the playing field.  If anything, it seems to lessen the honor a tad.

I'm curious, what do you think?

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