'District 9' Slips Into Expanded Oscar Best Picture Race

Movie may have last year's Oscar snub of 'The Dark Knight' to thank for its nomination.

[movie id="372771"]"District 9"[/movie] director Neill Blomkamp might want to call up [movie id="306605"]"The Dark Knight"[/movie] helmer Christopher Nolan and say, "Thanks, bro!" That's because Blomkamp's film might never have nabbed a 2010 Best Picture Oscar nomination had it not been for Nolan's best pic snub last year.

While "Dark Knight" was by far the highest-grossing film of 2008, it failed to garner a Best Picture nod, leading some to speculate that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters were hopelessly out of touch with the tastes of the American public. Enough with the art-house flicks no one watches, some complained, it's time to honor the films we actually like. In other words, be more like the Golden Globes, which nominates 10 best picture films over two categories.

Cut to last June, when the Academy announced the Best Picture category would expand to 10 films, rather than the normal five, for the first time since 1943. In the months following the change, speculation centered on a number of blockbusters that traditionally wouldn't be selected in the Best Picture category — from "Star Trek" to "The Hangover" to "The Blind Side" — to see if any widely popular movie, rather than the usual art-house fare, would benefit from the expanded field.

On Tuesday morning (February 2), not only did Sandra Bullock's "Blind Side" get a Best Picture nod, so did "District 9." Shot on a relatively tight budget of $30 million, Blomkamp's sci-fi film about a race of aliens held captive in a South African slum received near-universal critical acclaim (90 percent freshness at the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator) and reeled in over $115 million at the box office.

The Best Picture nod was one of four "District 9" received on Tuesday. The movie also secured noms for writing (adapted screenplay), film editing and visual effects.

Check out everything we've got on "District 9."

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