The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is said to be seriously considering a return to its former policy of having only five best picture nominees rather than the current maximum of ten.
The move is reportedly being pushed by a significant fraction of the Academy, but if it were to happen it would be an acknowledgement that the initiative has failed. The initiative was proposed in the wake of the 2009 Oscars following the snubbing of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”.
That film proved the catalyst for the board to open up the Best Picture race to potentially include more mainstream and wider-appealing films and thus potentially boost the sagging ratings for the Oscars broadcast.
Instead the strategy has backfired, Academy voters are opting to increasingly include more art-house and speciality films with only the rare exception (eg. “American Sniper”) breaking through. Supporters for this pullback claim it has watered down the prestige of a Best Picture nomination.
No official proposal has been placed before the Academy’s board of governors as yet, but one could happen as soon as the next scheduled meeting on March 24th.
That meeting should prove an interesting one as this year’s Oscars telecast was down 15% on ratings from last year and there is apparent fury among the governors about the bloated length and tepid reviews for this year’s show.