By the time the next Oscar season rolls around, we could be looking at just five best picture contenders rather than a potential six, seven, eight, nine or 10.
The Hollywood Reporter says that many Academy members are acknowledging that the increase in the number of top nominees has failed. When the expansion was announced in June 2009, it was designed to make sure that commercial hits such as “The Dark Knight” could be invited to the party along with smaller arthouse favorites.
The rule was later tweaked to allow up to 10 nominees and, in many years, nine pictures were in contention. This year, it was eight. A change back to five would require a vote of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors.
A thornier problem is the explosion of televised awards shows, especially in a year when the same actors or filmmakers sweep the top honors.
The Oscars are still the most prestigious, important awards but they follow the Hollywood Film Awards (ugh), People’s Choice Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTAs, NAACP Image Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and Grammys which occasionally have some crossover. And I could be forgetting one or two, not to mention the honors that are not televised.
The job of hosting the Oscars gets harder each year. Not only do hosts have to brace for criticism afterward but, thanks to Twitter, during the telecast.
Years ago I suggested bringing back the “Friends of Oscar” concept with eight hosts as Team Oscar. That might be a good place to start and make sure one of them has a regular TV platform (Jimmy Kimmel, for instance) to help promote the show even more than he does now.
Photo: Presenter Reese Witherspoon on the stage of the Dolby Theatre at the 87th Academy Awards Feb. 22. Host Neil Patrick Harris. Photos by Michael Yada and Todd Wawrychuk and Jordan Murph / A.M.P.A.S.