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10 best picture nominees will mean cuts in the Oscar telecast

June 24, 2009 |  2:04 pm

AnimatedShort Don't fret about getting ready for that close-up.

Ten best picture nominees will likely be bad news for sound mixers, costume designers and others in low-profile categories who were dreaming of a little TV time during next year's Oscars.

The awards show telecast will have to change dramatically, one person close to the production suggested. While no decisions have been made, there's little chance the ABC television network, which broadcasts the Oscars, would expand the ceremony's three-hour running time. If the show is going to run highlight reels from an additional five films without losing the commercials (and those aren't going away),  there's only one option: Move other awards out of the prime-time show.

Likely candidates are, of course, the categories that already appear early in the show and get the shortest acceptance speeches: sound mixing and editing, makeup, art direction and the short films -- animated, documentary and live action.

-- Meg James and Ben Fritz

In Wednesday's Times, find out more about the decision, its impact on the film business and the reaction of stars like Samuel L. Jackson and Jon Favreau; the financial reasons behind the move; the new calculus for potential best picture nominees; and read commentary from film critic Kenneth Turan and columnist Patrick Goldstein.

Photo: Kunio Kato accepting the animated short film Oscar for "La Maison en Petit Cubes" at the 2008 Academy Awards in March.