At last some really good news to report. And boy do we need it now! Finally the board of governors of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made a major change in the Academy Awards, a change that we all have been clamoring for - that's right, the Academy Awards are doubling the number of best-picture nominees from 5 to 10. The change takes effect with next year's Oscars on March 7.
Academy President Sid Ganis said at a news conference that the academy's board of governors made the decision to expand the slate. Ganis said the decision will open the field up to more worthy films for the top prize at Hollywood's biggest party. That is so wonderful. These last few years must have been hell for the Academy voters to have to narrow down all the great, worthy films for Oscar consideration to only five.
When the first awards were given out in 1927-28 the nominees were only three, "The Racket," "7th Heaven," and the winner that year, "Wings." In 1928-29 five pictures were nominated. Five nominees also for 1929-30 and 1930-31. Then for the 1931-32 awards ceremony the list grew to 8 nominees. It went to 10 in 1932-33 but swelled to 12 in 1934 and 1935. The number of nominees settled back to 10 in 1936 and stayed at that that number until 1940 at which time the number was only 9. In 1941 it went back to 10 and continued at that number for the following two years. In 1944 the number of nominees went down to 5 and there it stayed for the next 64 years, until last week.
Interesting that over the last six and a half decades the Academy was able to narrow down the pictures to the best five from all that were offered in any given year. But now the voting members need to double the nominees to ten. Well, it must be because of the large amount of outstanding motion pictures now being produced. Ya think?
The Academy certainly doesn't want any of the marvelous, inspiring, artistic films to be left out. They can't allow all those fabulous achievements in motion picture excellence to go unrewarded. Let's review some of those great motion pictures that were NOT nominated in the last couple of years because the Academy was "confined" to only five contenders. Here is the deserving bunch:
2008: The Dark Knight
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Kung Fu Panda
2007: Spiderman 3
Shrek the Third
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I Am Legend
Can you believe that these tremendous motion pictures were totally dissed? NOT EVEN NOMINATED!! Well, all that will change thank Heavens, now that we have doubled the nominee count. Finally all the really great films of this generation can at last be recognized for what they are - Academy Award nominees!
But why stop at Best Picture? I mean how can you nominate 10 movies for Best Motion Picture and not nominate 10 directors also? And why not increase the Best Acting awards to ten nominations in each category as well? We have much better working actors today than they did in the so-called "Golden Age." If you don't believe me, go ask anyone under the age of 30. But if you plan on asking the youn-uns for comparisons to the old stars, be forewarned, they might not know who the hell Spencer Tracy, Fredrick March, Charles Laughton, Bette Davis, Olivia deHavilland or Susan Hayward are.
And why stop at only 10 nominations? Let's consider GIVING EVERYONE AN AWARD. You know, like they do in children's school sports. You made a movie? Yes, you get an award!
And another thing, I believe it's about time we expand the Oscar show, which is what increasing the nominations will most definitely do. I was getting worried, frankly, that the show was zooming by just too damn fast. Things zip by so quickly that it doesn't give one a chance to really savor all the artistic achievement that goes into each one of the fabulous films that are nominated. I think maybe we need a week-long Oscar show, sort of like the Olympics. That way we might truly get into the full depth of the art of the motion picture. Each night we would breathlessly tune in to see another category lovingly reviewed and explained and lavished awards upon. Sort of the way the acting nominations were done last year, remember? The old stars standing over the nominees and telling them how wonderful they were.
More awards. That's what we need now. More awards.