The Dark KnightIf you've ever felt that a movie got robbed of a Best Picture Oscar nomination, raise your hand.

Oh, that's ... all of you? Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief -- and also brace yourself -- because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just announced that for the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010, it'll be expanding the list of Best Picture nominees to include 10 candidates. The Dark KnightIf you've ever felt that a movie got robbed of a Best Picture Oscar nomination, raise your hand.

Oh, that's ... all of you? Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief -- and also brace yourself -- because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just announced that for the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010, it'll be expanding the list of Best Picture nominees to include 10 candidates.

The expansion may come as a surprise, but it certainly isn't unprecedented. Ten Best Picture nominees was the norm from 1932 to 1943 (in 1934 and 1935, in fact, there were 12), but for the ceremony honoring 1944's best movies, the Academy switched that number to the current five.

The reason for this sudden change? "Having 10 best picture nominees is going [to] allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize," Academy president Sid Ganis said.

It's hard not to wonder whether the Powers That Be listened to the clamor surrounding last year's nominations, when movies like 'The Dark Knight' and 'WALL-E' were snubbed in favor of more traditional (some might say conservative) Oscar fare like 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' and 'The Reader.'

But could the expansion prove to be too much of a good thing? The most impressive extended list was probably 1939's, when 'Gone With the Wind,' the eventual winner, was nominated alongside heavyweights like 'Dark Victory,' 'Love Affair,' 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' 'Of Mice and Men,' 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Wuthering Heights.' But then there was a year like 1943, in which 'Casablanca' beat out not just 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' but also a number of films that have since been lost to history ('The More the Merrier'? 'In Which We Serve'?).

What do you think? Will the expanded nominee list be good for the Academy Awards, making the race more competitive and diverse; or will it reward mediocrity and clutter an already crowded field? Will the ceremony become livelier, featuring movies that people actually saw ... or will it now drag on even longer, past the point of watchability?
-- By Patricia Chui



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CATEGORIES Hot Topic, Oscars, Awards