Academy Awards May Go Back to Only Five Best Picture Nominees
Since 2010, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have allowed for up to 10 nominees in the Best Picture category after the rules were changed to make the awards ceremony more inclusive for films like The Dark Knight. It was a move aiming to get more people to tune in to the Oscars see if their favorite movie would win the big prize. However, THR reports The Academy is now considering dropping the number of competitors back down to the traditional five nominees. So the six year run of allowing up to 10 nominees hasn't worked as a trade source says, "They tried it, and it really didn't do us any good."
As of now no official proposal has been made to change the rules again, but that could happen before the end of the month as The Academy's board of governors meets again on March 24th. Of course, there's no guarantee that this change will happen since the board meets every year following the most recent Academy Awards telecast to evaluate the show and awards season in general. But the trade notes that there's a large portion of the board who has been pushing to revert back to five nominees because the higher number has "watered down the prestige of a nomination" and hasn't boosted the ratings for the ceremony as was hoped.
Despite the fact that this year's Academy Awards ratings tanked, dropping 15% from last year's show, I hardly think that changing the rules again is going to fix that problem. This year specifically, the issue seemed to be that there were a ton of nominees that weren't very accessible to average moviegoers, mainly due to the slew of independent film nominees. But at the same time, people just seem to be caring less and less about the Oscars on television, which is consistently boring and overlong. There's even a chance that reducing the pool might actually push the ratings to fall even further.
But no matter how many nominees in the Best Picture category, The Academy doesn't usually pick the kind of movies that the general public loves, and that seems to be where this little experiment failed as blockbusters were left out in the wind again. While they certainly shouldn't intentionally skew their voting to bring more mainstream movies into the fray, general audiences just won't always care as much about the same movies Academy voters do. After all, the most-watched Oscars telecast is still the 1998 show, which was when the box office giant Titanic was in the running and won Best Picture.
At the end of the day, reverting back to five nominees probably won't change much as far as the interest in the Academy Awards telecast is concerned. The problem lies within the format and length of the show itself. As soon as The Academy realizes it will never satisfy a large audience as long as it prefers arthouse cinema, maybe they'll put their focus on making the show better instead of trying to make the nominees themselves more appealing. It seems that films like The Dark Knight getting a Best Picture nomination just isn't in the cards, even though that's what The Academy wanted after they missed out on honoring that particular blockbuster. Is there anything The Academy can do to get people interested? What do you think?