The Academy's new Best Picture rule: How it will change the prediction period


Image Credit: Todd Wawrychuk/©A.M.P.A.S.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ surprising decision to allow for anywhere between five and 10 Best Picture nominees next year strikes me as a clear-headed response to some of the criticism surrounding the recent supersizing of the category. It seems to me that, had the newly announced system been in place over the last few years, a film like The Dark Knight would have made it into the race, while a questionable nominee like The Blind Side wouldn’t have made the cut. So they’re on the right track.

But as someone who spends months analyzing the Oscar race and predicting the nominees every year, I have one remaining question: How does it affect ME? (I just saw the phenomenal Book of Mormon last night, so Andrew Rannells’ genius “but mostly me” refrain is bouncing around my head.) I feel like today’s news throws a really fun curve ball into the Oscar prediction game, which has grown increasingly yawn-inducing over the last few years, thanks to all the pre-Oscar lists and prizes. This fall and winter, not only will my Oscar-blogger colleagues and I have to rank the possible contenders as usual, but we’ll also need to speculate as to which ones will be able to snag that magic 5 percent of first-place votes to score a nomination. (Not to keep harping on The Blind Side, but there’s no way 300 of the 6,000 or so AMPAS members put it at No. 1 on their nomination ballots.) In a way, guessing the eventual number of Best Picture nominees will end up being kind of a tie-breaker for all of us Oscar nerds. So I’d like to thank the Academy’s Board of Governors for making our lives a lot more interesting, at least for the next few years.

Read more:
Oscars throw question mark into 10-movie best picture race
Oscars: The wacky way the Academy counts votes
Owen Gleiberman: Why I wish we could go back to having only five Oscar nominees

Comments (31 total) Add your comment
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  • Regina


    • LOL

      Just happy that “Fast Five” won’t make the cut.

  • Angie

    Hopefully this can make it more interesting, I get so bored with all the predictions that are made that I dont even see a point in watching the show….very rarely is there an upset.

  • Stacey

    Probably won’t change much. Because most of the nominess this past year likely would have gotten past the 5% rule. Maybe not Winter Bone. Yeah, Blindside might not. You never know. I think most pictures cited by experts would meet the 5%. But yeah chances are they won’t find 10 this year just because so far very few award worthy have come out as of today, June 15th. But then there is still the summer and the “Oscar bait” fall season to find worthy candidates. I think the experts will still be batting a big number of correct predictions.

    • Lee

      I don’t know. I think there’s been a lot of good movies out so far this year, such as Source Code, Thor, Midnight in Paris, and Tree of Life. I think all of them deserve to be nominated for a Best Pic Oscar.

      • Jesus

        Thor? I liked Thor but it’s no Best Picture.

  • commentor

    I don’t know… the same idiots that put the Blind Side as a best picture nominee, probably also put Crash on there too. Never underestimate the stupidity of your voting constituent.

    • LOL

      “Crash” was good. Better than “Fast Five.”

      • Ian

        Um, Brokeback was better than Crash. Crash was an inside job. ^_^

  • Sarcastic Pr*ck

    Oh, quit whining. You don’t really have a lot to do between December and February, so a little more speculating isn’t going to do you any harm.

    • Tim

      Um, who’s whining?

  • John Huston

    A lot of the 6,000 Academy members don’t even see the films they vote on–they just vote with the herd. It’s all such a sham. AMPAS was originally formed by Louis B. Mayer as a union-busting device–he was able to stave off the Guilds for five years. Yeah, let’s all worship golden idols.

  • ben

    i just still want to know how Shutter Island did not make the cut last year!!!

    • SP

      Because it didn’t make sense… who told Leo to keep going into the prison?

      Not to mention I figured out the twist 5 minutes into the film.

      Easily Scorsese’s worst film to date.

      • RCB

        What are you talking about? Watch the movie again!!!!

  • Mark

    Wow. I faithfully read the hundreds of thousands of words you write each year about the Oscar race, and it never occured to me that you would find making predictions “increasingly yawn-inducing.” There’s always the chance that you’ll repeat last year: being the first, and essentially only, Oscar blogger to predict a victory for “The King’s Speech”, putting up with scorn and ridicule as TSN swept all the critics’ prizes, and still remaining gracious as your colleagues had to eat crow when you proved correct in February.

    • Dave Karger

      Don’t get me wrong, Mark: I absolutely love my job. But the only mystery on nominations morning this year was whether Winter’s Bone or The Town would get the 10th slot. Not too exciting, right? So I’m happy that the new system will shake things up a bit.

      • Allison

        I’m with you 100% Dave. The 10 movies the past two years have been pretty predictable. I’d guess if you go in to writing about movies it was because you thoroughly enjoy movies and having the field be that easy to narrow down couldn’t have been fun.

      • Amy

        I think last year was an exception because generally, people seem to agree that all the nominees deserved to be there. In weaker years, having 10 nominations would probably be less predictable. But overall, this new rule sounds good. Let’s just see how it works out.

  • Jose

    Sadly, “The Blind Side”s of the world will always make it in. AMPAS’s middlebrow taste and white guilt has been prevalent since they began handing out awards.

  • Annalisa

    Question: (re: thinking that Book of Mormon is “phenomenal”) Have you ever seen a South Park episode? Because we’ve been laughing at variations of those jokes for years now, and it’s just not new. the show was “cute” at best. Why is everyone going crazy??

  • nt

    im taking a wild guess here and say: 8 !

    there will be 8 films nominated for best picture, and im going to stick to that until proven otherwise.

    you heard it here first, 8 films for best picture!

    • Gavelek

      How about 8 1/2…

  • PJ

    Oh no. You mean we might actually be SURPRISED at a nominee or winner? Gosh, we can’t have that.

  • RCB

    So I guess we will not just speculate which films will be nominated, but how many? Now for Oscar bloggers, who will have the better bragging right? One who only made 5 predictions, and they all made it in a field of 8? Or one who made 8 predictions, but only got 7 right? Hmmm…

  • Person

    People are always pointing to the blind side and saying how it didn’t deserve a nom and ten noms is dumb. Well blind side didn’t deserve a nom but these films did were better:
    (500) Days of Summer
    In The Loop
    The Messanger
    Fantastic Mr. Fox
    The Hangover
    The Last Station
    Crazy Heart
    The Princess and the Frog
    There. Twelve films better than the blind side off the top of my head so stop complaining

  • Jesus

    Seeing The Hangover nominated would have been awesome. No way it wins, but a nod would be sweet.

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