Oscars' Best Picture Category Changes Again, And It's A Surprise!

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony brought a big change to the proceedings. The Best Picture category, the award that closes the event every year, was expanded from five contenders to 10 in an attempt to sex things up for viewers. Unlikely candidates for previous years, like District 9, actually now get to call themselves "Best Picture Nominees," which boosts both reputation and home video sales.

Well, it turns out that merely expanding the category wasn't good enough. The Academy has now voted to bring an element of surprise into future proceedings, a press release reveals. Instead of there just being five nominees, or just being 10, the final count will now fall somewhere between those two numbers ... and the figure won't be revealed until the day the nominations are announced. While the category's expansion a couple years ago raised a few eyebrows, this change actually kinda sorta makes some sense.

As Academy executive director Bruce Davis explained in a statement, "In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies. A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number."

The Best Animated Feature Film category has also gotten a bit of a rules tweak. The board will no longer vote to "activate" the category, although a minimum number of releases (eight) is required each year for nominees to be considered. It is also now possible that we'll be seeing a larger number of nominees in that category. If eight to 12 animated features are released in a single year, three nominees will be selected; 13 to 15 films means four nominees; 16 or more brings the total tally up to five.

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