Oscar Best Picture Category Expands To 10 Nominees

More than five films were recognized in the early years of the Academy Awards.

When the Oscars return in March, the red carpet might be considerably more crowded. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday (June 24) that the Best Picture category will now include 10 feature films, rather than the usual five.

For a decade during the early years of the awards show, the category included more than five films, and the Academy is positioning the Best Picture change as a way to recognize more movies and return to the show's historical foundation.

"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," Academy President Sid Ganis said during a press conference in Beverly Hills, California, according to 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."

For two years in the 1930s, the Best Picture category embraced 12 nominees. Since 1943, when the field included 10 films ("Casablanca" won), the category has stuck with five movies. The Golden Globes already honor 10 or more film nominees each year, as that show splits its movies into Drama and Musical or Comedy categories.

"Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize," Ganis said at the press conference. "I can't wait to see what that list of 10 looks like when the nominees are announced in February."

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