Why, Oh Why?

Every now and then, the mad  geniuses at the Motion Picture Academy drop a little bombshell of an announcement:

The 82nd Academy Awards to feature TEN nominees!

That’s AMPAS president Sid Ganis in the picture, looking all pleased with himself after making this riveting announcement.  Notice he’s backed by two posters exhorting the anniversary of what many believe to be the greatest year in American Cinema, 1939.  Perhaps Sid is under the impression that 2009 will be the next 1939.  Sid, dream on.

This.  Is.  So.  Wrong.

Ten nominees?  Heck.  I can barely remember what the top five are every year.  How ’bout you?  Think about last year.  Can you name the five nominees?  In 3, 2, 1… Go!

Tick, tick, tick….time’s almost up.

Bong!  Time’s up.  How did you do?

(It was, in case you care, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon (yeah, like that ever had a chance), Milk, The Reader (another “filler”), and the big winner, Slumdog Millionaire.)

Now, can you remember anything that was nominated the year before that?

The Academy claims that this will be a way to broaden the spectrum, allowing more overlooked, less mainstream films to garner a nomination.  Finally, Michael Bay can sit near the front of the audience at the Kodak Theater and hope, hope, hope that his latest epic, Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen will get the nod.

He will, of course, be surrounded by a surfeit of producers of quirky indie productions, all of whom will have, by that time, convinced themselves that their Wes Anderson derivative movie will have been good enough to propel them to the podium to pick up their golden statuette.  Wes might be joining them.  Fantastic Mr. Fox is due for release in November.

Another theory is that the Academy is looking at this as a kind of economic stimulus…as in, box office numbers always rise for a film that garners a Best Picture nod.  So, if it works for five films, why not spread the wealth for ten?

Why not?  Ever hear of DVDs, AMPAS?  How about Netflix?  Do you all really think I’m gonna hit my neighborhood multiplex and plunk  down twelve bucks for ten films when I barely do that for the usual five?

AMPAS is quick to point out that the whole ten nominee thing is not new.  The last time it happened was in 1943.  Here are the nominees.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (Paramount)

Heaven Can Wait (Twentieth Century-Fox)

The Human Comedy (MGM)

In Which We Serve (Two Cities; United Artists)

Madame Curie (MGM)

The More the Merrier (Columbia)

The Ox-Bow Incident (Twentieth Century-Fox)

The Song of Bernadette (Twentieth Century-Fox)

Watch on the Rhine (Warner Bros.)

Casablanca (Warner Bros.)

Ohhhhhh, check out the diversity on that list.  There’s some comedies, some dramas, and a few war flicks.  War flicks are basically dramas, right?  And which of these ten were really Oscar worthy?  Oh, about five of them.  And The Ox-Bow incident didn’t win, so…meh!  I mean, really…when was the last time anyone sat through and actually enjoyed The Song of Bernadette or Madame Curie?  I have the answer.  Never.  You can throw Watch on the Rhine onto that list, too. The Human Comedy is pretty brutal as well.

(However, The More the Merrier is still pretty snappy.  Check it out next time it makes its way through the TCM rotation).

Plus, can you imagine how bloated the already over-bloated Oscar ceremony will be with, not five, but ten Best Picture nominees?  Oh, good lord, kill me now.



The staff of Cinema Misfits takes their best guess at which 10 films in next year’s Best Picture catagory will be nominated.

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