For 65 years, the Academy Awards limited Best Picture nominees to five movies. In 2009, they upped the count to 10, which continued in 2010. Now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is shaking things up again.
For the 2011 awards, there will be anywhere from five to 10 nominees, depending on the number of votes the films get during the preliminary nominations round. This new method will require a nominee for Best Picture to receive 5% of the first-place votes in order to be eligible for the award.
“A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary
merit,” says outgoing academy Executive Director Bruce Davis. “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.”
This is the first time the number of nominees will be unknown until the announcement. Prior to 1944, when the number was set at five nominees, the number fluctuated from three to 12, but was always pre-set and did not depend on voting percentages or any other criteria.