25 June 2009

From Five to Ten

Starting next year that will be the number of Academy Award nominees in the Best Picture category for the first time since 1943.

Michael Cieply:
In a question-and-answer session that followed the announcement, [Academy president Sidney Ganis] said: "I would not be telling you the truth if I said the words ‘Dark Knight’ did not come up.” Earlier this year, “The Dark Knight,” a critically acclaimed blockbuster fantasy, was excluded from a list of nominees that included “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Reader” and the winner, “Slumdog Millionaire.”

None of those films were as widely seen as “The Dark Knight” or “Wall-E,” another favorite that was snubbed, adding heat to a debate about whether the Oscar voters had drifted too far from the audience.
One part of me wants to get up on my soap box and rail against this, that the Academy is supposed to celebrate the art and science of movie making, not the box office (let the MTV Movie Awards do that). Then another part of me balances it all out, remembering that "Slumdog Millionaire" won Best Picture last year over four contenders more worthy of the prize.

So, we wait for January to see what the first list of ten nominations brings.