June 15, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The Academy, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to fiddle once again with the Best Picture category.  Instead of 5 nominees, as was the case pre-2009, or 10, as we’ve had the past 2 years, now no one will know just how large the category will be until the nominations are announced (January 24 in 2012).  Any potential nominee will have to pass a threshold requirement of 5% of nomination votes cast, and while there will always be a minimum of 5 nominees, the total number could range up to as many as 10 if there are enough titles with the requisite votes.  It’s hard to see how this will matter to the Oscar telecast’s ratings (“Gee, I wasn’t going to watch this year if there were 7 nominees, but it turns out there are only 6!”), although it’ll probably make for even more strategizing by studio publicists.  In terms of real-world effect, one assumes that the more marginal nominees from the past couple of years might not have qualified– last year, 127 Hours, which was really a contender only for Best Actor, would seem likeliest to have been eliminated.  But by the time we figure out how this system plays out, no doubt the Academy will have come up with a new wrinkle or two…

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."