The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced it's going to expand the Best Picture category from five nominees to ten.
Decades ago the Academy had ten Best Picture nominees, ending the practice after 1943.
Having ten nominees made sense in a year like 1939, when Best Picture GONE WITH THE WIND was joined on the list by MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, THE WIZARD OF OZ, STAGECOACH, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, LOVE AFFAIR, NINOTCHKA, DARK VICTORY, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, and OF MICE AND MEN.
Or take a look at the following year's list of 10: REBECCA (the winner) and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, THE LETTER, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, THE LONG VOYAGE HOME, THE GREAT DICTATOR, OUR TOWN, KITTY FOYLE, and ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO.
Or the year after that: HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (the winner), CITIZEN KANE, THE MALTESE FALCON, SERGEANT YORK, THE LITTLE FOXES, SUSPICION, HERE COMES MR. JORDAN, HOLD BACK THE DAWN, ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN, and BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST.
Even the weakest of those titles has stood the test of time as a solid, well-crafted movie remembered decades later. And most of the films are four-star classics.
The Academy really thinks there are currently ten releases a year which will stand the test of time as these movies have from the '30s and '40s?!
Update: Thoughts from Kenneth Turan.