Oscars: And then there were 10

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The Associated PressThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to expand the nominee field for best picture to 10 movies starting with the March 7, 2010, ceremony.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the academy board of governors has decided there were more than five films last year that deserved best-picture consideration. These included The Dark Knight and WALL-E, which were snubbed when it came to best picture nominations despite being among the most talked-about films in years.

Academy voters often have overlooked “big box-office successes that also were really big artistic successes,” Christine Birch, an academy member and head of marketing for DreamWorks, told the AP. “Those weren’t deemed quote-unquote ‘academy’ movies. This gives those movies an opportunity to not have to fall by the wayside.”

Two of this year’s best-reviewed movies, Paramount’s sci-fi adventure Star Trek and Disney and Pixar Animation’s animated tale Up, now have better odds of best-picture nominations, she said in the AP story.

And yet, there still can be only one winner. …

The decision is no doubt a cunning play to boost the ceremony’s TV ratings by returning to Oscar traditions of the 1930s and ’40s, when a best-picture field of 10 or more films was common. It could also lead to a cash infusion for movie studios, who use the nominations to get more screen time and for DVD promotion.

Photo: The Associated Press

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