New tweaks to the Best Picture nominee system make number of nominees a mystery

In the latest attempt by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to tweak and fine-tune the Best Picture race at the Oscars, the Academy yesterday voted to add a new element of surprise to the proceedings. Just a few years back it was announced that the field of nominees in the Best Picture category would be expanded to ten instead of five. Now, nobody knows how many films will be nominated.

A new system has been instituted wherein anywhere between five and ten films can be nominated for Best Picture in any given year. The public won't know how many films are nominated until the day the Best Picture nominees are announced in January.

Says Academy executive director Bruce Davis of the decision, "A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. 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." Huh. Well that makes sense. But how exactly do you figure out where the cut-off is?

With the assistance of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Academy believes they've found a mathematical way to figure this out. The average percentage of first place votes received by the top movie (say THE KING'S SPEECH last year) was 20.5%. Now, only films that get at least 5% of first place votes will be considered nominees for Best Picture. That could be nine...but it could also be five. If that math was applied to last year's nominees, only nine films would've been contenders (sorry WINTER'S BONE).

What do you think of the changes? Honestly, I think it makes a lot of sense and will certainly spice up the Oscar predictions racket. The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT.

Source: Oscars



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