As per tradition, Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday (February 2) in a crack-of-dawn ceremony met with plenty of excitement. You may have noticed, however, that this year's Best Picture category felt a bit more ... well, crowded.
Ever since the Oscars announced last July that they'd be breaking with tradition and allowing twice as many movies to earn nominations, people have had heated opinions about the move. Of course, Tuesday's marathon announcement has reopened that golden can of worms.
"Opening it up to 10 nominations, I think, is the best idea they've had in years," insisted MTV News legend/ die-hard movie buff Kurt Loder. "It's such a good idea, because now it looks like a race. Now you can put in movies that wouldn't have fit in before, that didn't have any place. It was so constricted before — let's say you have five art movies in the past, who cares?"
To play devil's advocate, some people are still asking the same question. While the 10 nominees have indeed opened up the field, they've hardly broadened the conversation. Everyone seems to know which films have a realistic shot at winning — and which are the token five freebies.
" 'Avatar' definitely would have been in anyway ... probably 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Inglourious Basterds,' " Loder explained, agreeing that certain films were so good they would have made it in with the old rules or the new. " 'Up in the Air' — that movie is so good [and also would have been nominated]; as people have said, it's a perfect movie. There is nothing wrong with it."
From there, things seem to get a bit murkier. "Up" may very well be the best film of the year — but since it's a cartoon, it most likely would've had to settle for a Best Animated nomination under the old rules, as every animated film has since the category was invented. Beyond that, you have five films that either would've been sitting on the fence for that final spot, or an utter long shot.
"[With 10 nominees], they have room now to put in for the first time 'Up' as an animated film. I don't think 'The Blind Side' would have made it; maybe [it would have been picked] just because of box-office," Loder reasoned. " 'District 9' probably would have been up for Best Picture, and it only cost, like, $5 [to make]. 'An Education' probably wouldn't have been up for Best Picture, because the story in 'An Education' is just Carey Mulligan, who's a fantastic arrival. 'Precious' either — I'm not sure if that would have been in there. And 'A Serious Man' certainly would not have been nominated in years past."
Feel free to sound off below with your opinion on whether 10 nominees has made the Best Picture race more exciting. But ultimately, it seems everything will boil down to one factor: If "The Blind Side," "District 9," "A Serious Man" or the like shocks everyone and wins, it will automatically unleash a new round of debate over whether those supposedly lesser Best Picture nominees benefited from split votes among the favorites.
"I think it's great to have all these movies up there," Loder reasoned. On March 7, we can all look forward to the final chapter in a most unusual Oscar story.
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