Oscar best picture field will play like an accordion. What does it mean for fans?
The group that hands out the Oscars announced late Tuesday night that it was revamping its best picture system to allow for between five to 10 nominees, a change from the flat 10 contenders of the last two years.
You can read all about the reasons for and implications of the decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on our sister Awards Tracker blog. But the upshot of the change for film fans is that we won't automatically get the expanded field that has allowed for some less obvious best picture nominees -- "The Blind Side," cough cough -- to make the list these last two years.
Instead, films beyond the top five will have to get a critical mass of at least 5% of votes to be given one of the added slots. Which means that we'll now not only get arguments about what does or doesn't deserve to be nominated, but which films are strong enough to merit expanding the field in the first place.
In a statement, the academy said that it wanted to add "a new element of surprise to its annual nominations announcement." It's done that -- along with a new element of debate as well.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Oscar statues are kept covered before the 2010 telecast. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times