Academy drops alphabetical announcing of Best Picture nominees

Over the weekend, Awards Daily reported that this January’s Oscar nominations announcement will include a twist. Tradition holds that nominees are read alphabetically, but that will be abandoned this year to increase suspense. A major rules change for 2011 has anywhere between five to ten films receiving Best Picture nominations, depending on which gets at least 5% of the overall popular vote. Efforts will be made to withhold just how many Picture contenders there are as the shortlist is unveiled on live television.


This decision prompts the question — seriously? Academy Awards nominations arrive after every other awards group has announced. Critics and guilds kudos will have flooded the news for almost two months by the time we learn the Oscar nominees. Many of the major predictors, including the Golden Globes, will not only have announced their own competitors, but their televised ceremony declaring the winners will have aired.

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How exactly does announcing Best Picture in a jumbled, non-alphabetical order increase so-called suspense? At best, it will result in thirty seconds of disorientation where viewers puzzle over what got snubbed.

We understand the Academy wants to build interest in nominations. This is clearly not the way to do it. Only inviting Anne Hathaway and James Franco to read the finalists could be more disastrously misguided.

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