June 24th, 2009
01:58 PM ET
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Sid Ganis dropped a bombshell today: the number of best picture nominees is doubling to 10, from its current five.
“After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” Ganis said in a press release. “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.”
Decades ago, the Oscars had up to 10 best picture nominees for several years. "Gone With the Wind" famously beat a number of great films for best picture in 1939, including "Stagecoach," "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "Ninotchka," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
But in the mid-1940s, the system changed to its present five films, and five films it's been ever since. That's led to any number of crowd-pleasing but not "Oscar-worthy" (as the Academy believes) films not making the cut. Just last year, there were howls of protest for the failure of "The Dark Knight" to crack the Academy's top five.
Will the greater number of nominees make you more likely to pay attention to the Oscars?
- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer
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