Oscars stick with expanded Best Picture category

So much for all the chatter that the Oscars would return to a slate of just five films for Best Picture. On Tuesday, the academy board of governors endorsed the current system of between five and 10 nominees as determined by a preferential ballot. This variable number of nominees has been in place since 2012 and followed two years of a guaranteed 10 contenders. Under the sliding scale, there were three years of nine nominees and then eight in the running last year. 

The board did clarify that the producers nominated in this top category must be classified as such by the Producers Guild of America (or, at the least, have appealed its ruling of their ineligibilty). The final determination of the qualifying nominees will made by the academy’s producers branch.

The other changes were relativelty minor and are detailed below. 

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Best Visual Effects
The short list is bumped from 15 to 20 films. That will be cut in half for the bake-off, the term used to describe the  special screening of excerpts from the films for branch members who then determine the five nominees. 

Best Documentary Short Subject
The shortlist is expanded from eight to 10 and the number of nominees is set at five rather than between three and five depending on scores. 

Best Animated Short/Best Live Action Short
To qualify, a film must have at least one screening per day for seven days (up from four) in one theater in Los Angeles County and be included in the theater listings. 

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And despite efforts to add categories to recognize the achievements of casting directors and stunt coordinators, the board is keeping the count at 24 competitive awards. 

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