Tuned In

Oscars to Double Best-Picture Nominations for 2009

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Because movies are just so good. How can you pick just five?

It’s not a TV story, exactly, but the awards are televised—and, presumably, this means more clutter for the Oscars show to work in. Will there be twice as long an opening musical number? 

So I’ll put it to you: is there some reason I’m overlooking why this is a good idea? I could see, for instance, if the Academy decided to bifurcate the picture awards into drama and musical/comedy, a la the Golden Globes (and the Emmys) so as to correct the awards’ traditional drama bias. But all I see this move doing is increasing the chances that Up can be nominated, then lose. 

Actually, I suppose that’s my current working theory: the more nominees, the more likely that popular films with strong partisans will be nominated, and thus bring viewers to the telecast. That, and maybe—maybe—a wider-open field introduces more suspense to the voting, though I’m not sure that’s really the case. 

The flip side is the danger that doubling the number of nominees dilutes the value of the nominations as movie advertising. [Update: Which assumes a different theory—that the goal is to double the number of pictures that can use “Academy Award Nominee for Best Picture” in their ads.] As of now, film producers can now be exactly half as happy just to be nominated.