The ten Best Picture nominations might finally do away with Oscar-type movies

Posted in Academy Awards, Bad Movies, Best Picture, Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks, Uncategorized, US by on February 4, 2010

The most interesting and unusual change in the Academy Awards this year is the seemingly off-the-wall shift from the usual five nominees for best picture to a colossal ten. At first glance, it feels like a kids’ intramural track meet where everyone is given a coloured ribbon so they won’t feel discouraged or left out. The ten nominations are a whole handful of ribbons. But why stop at ten? Why not twenty… or fifty?

But if you think about it, there is some sense to this decision. I think the Oscars were caught in a rut, and they knew it. There used to be unwritten rules to qualify for an Academy Award. No sequels, no franchises, no genre movies. Nothing funny, and no cartoons. The nominees have to appeal to people who watch PBS. They need actors wearing giant powdered wigs. Characters that overcome cancer, or a dying baby, or the holocaust, or a traumatic historical event. It has to make baby boomers remember how much better life used to be, how much more “real”, or better yet — and this is crucial one — the movie’s a biopic or biopic-looking film where an alcoholic rock star overcomes his addiction before one last concert. And then he dies. Dying is especially good because then there’s no chance of a sequel.

If all else fails at least use a good-looking movie star with a fake nose or funny teeth so they can live like the ugly people and stare pensively to the right of the camera… That’s what gets you a Best Picture award.

Anyway, too many of the Academy Award winning movies and nominees over the past few decades were so dusty and mouldy and awful that they had formed their own de facto genre, and it seemed almost like producers were making movies for no other purpose than to win an Oscar. Weird.

So, possibly to get rid of this embarrassment of bad winning movies, the Oscars decided to expand it, first to low budget indies, and — now that all the independent production companies have gone tits- up – they’ve decided to be all-inclusive in their nominations. And I think it’s a good thing.

So maybe the 10 nominees are a sign that Hollywood will eventually start to make good movies again.

Daniel Garber, February 3, 2010

2 Responses

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  1. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr said, on February 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    i for one think its ridiculous that they have increased the Best Picture Nominees to 10 films. firstly, there is still only one winner so i believe their change to nominate 10 films is purely a marketing one – whereas they are sleeping with the studios and the intent is to get more people out spending money in movie theatres.


    • daniel garber said, on February 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      You’re right that they want to be in bed with as many studios as possible, but I think they also want to redefine the Best Picture category to include more than just the crappy dramas that have dominated that prize in past years.

      Can you believe what won best picture awards since 1990?
      Forrest Gump. The English Patient. Shakespeare in Love. Chicago. American Beauty. Gladiator. A Beautiful Mind. Crash…


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