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Academy Awards Doubles Up Best Picture Category

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Slumdog Millionaire - Hoping for an Oscar? © Fox Searchlight Pictures
Slumdog Millionaire - Hoping for an Oscar? © Fox Searchlight Pictures
Slumdog Millionaire. 'Best Picture' winner, and only beating four other films in the end © Fox Searchlight Pictures

Sid Ganis, the President of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, had a surprise announcement today – next year instead of five Best Picture nominees there will be 10! The first 16 years the Oscars were handed out 10 movies each year were in contention for the top prize. The last movie to beat out nine others was Casablanca in 1943. “After more than six decades the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots,” says Ganis, “when a wider field competed for the top award of the year. The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.’

I’m sorry, has he seen any of the movies this year? Film historian Leonard Maltin said today that he’s not sure there will be 10 movies worthy of an Oscar nomination. Just think if the new rules were established last year, The Dark Knight might have actually been in the running – which it should have been anyway. Many pundits feel this is a cry for a bigger TV audience, as most of the viewers this year hadn’t seen Slumdog Millionaire.  Here’s another thought – will Hugh Jackman have to sing 10 opening songs, and will the Oscars be twice as long next year … that would be six hours. You do the math!