The Academy’s Rules For Best Picture Change Again

Not long ago, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences decided to shake things up with their top category by changing the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten. Many people believe this to be because the Academy had failed to nominate Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight, so they wanted to open up the category for the potential to include more popular films.

Now they’ve decided to change things again by implementing a rule that will leave the number of Best Picture nominees a mystery until the day the nominations are announced. Since the average percentage of first place votes received by the top film was 20.5%, it was determined that a film would have to receive a minimum of 5% of first place votes in order to receive a nomination for Best Picture, resulting in a slate of anywhere from five to ten films.

Retiring Academy executive director Bruce Davis had this to say about the change: ““In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”

Personally I think this is a good change. Having ten nominees for the top prize merely cheapened the category for the past two years with it being easier to get a Best Picture nomination. It was particularly frustrating because there usually aren’t ten films each year that deserve such an honor, giving us films in the last two batches of nominees that really had no business being there. There’s still a chance that we’ll have ten nominees, but at least now they’ll hopefully be films that deserve it, though this still doesn’t necessarily mean that the Academy will make good decisions.

The 84th Academy Award nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 5:30 PT. The awards themselves will be given out on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at the Kodak Theatre and will be aired live on ABC.