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Oscars Change the Rules for ‘Best Picture’ Category Again

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are set to make changes to the Oscars format again and once again it will be the Best Picture category that will be shifting. 2009 saw Best Picture expand to 10 nominees after 65 years of only allowing 5 nominees. Now it seems the Academy wants to find some middle ground.

The Best Picture category will now see not 5 nor 10 nominees but rather BETWEEN 5 and 10 in a new variable voting system. Offering more insight into the change, the Academy explains that the new rule will depend on the number of votes films receive during preliminary nominations thus requiring a Best Picture nominee to receive 5% of first-place votes in order to be eligible for the award when voting members rank their preferred candidates for best picture from 1 to 10 on the official ballot.

The Los Angeles Times offers further analysis by explaining “…how the new rule will change the way the race is run. Given the number of members who typically cast nominating ballots, a film would have to secure roughly 240 first-place votes on the nominations ballot to clear the 5% threshold and enter the best-picture race.” Is this a positive step forward for the awards or could this possibly have unforeseen negative ramifications?

Does it really give “a new twist” and “a new element of surprise” to the nominations as the Academy’s board of governors seem to believe? With that we leave you with a quote from outgoing academy Executive Director Bruce Davis who sums it up well by saying “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.”