Oscars 2022: How the Academy Changed the Best Picture Category


Each year, the Academy’s Governing Council reviews the categories and potential changes. This means that certain categories – juvenile acting, dance direction and shared winners for black-and-white and color films – are gone. Best Picture, the film’s highest honor, is often criticized. Do you remember the brief moment, not too long ago, when there was going to be a popular Oscar category?

This year, such a change comes into effect: the top 10 image contestants will be announced on the morning of February 8. Here’s what to expect:

WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT BEST PICTURE CATEGORY THIS YEAR?

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There will be 10 films announced as top nominees for the 94th Academy Awards on Tuesday. Over the past decade, there has been a moving range of five to ten nominees. Most years had eight or nine.

IS THIS UNPRECEDENTED?

No, the academy has changed the number of Best Picture nominees several times. In the 1930s and early 1940s, eight to 12 films could be nominated each year. In 1944 it was increased to five and in 2009 it was extended to 10. Then in 2011 it was increased to five against 10.

titanic The Oscars’ biggest audience came in 1998 when more than 55 million viewers tuned in to watch Titanic scoop the awards. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

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A few reasons. A nomination for best picture is a major plus for a film. This increases awareness and can often lead to a box office bump (although this year may be an exception due to the pandemic). But, perhaps more importantly, many believe expanding the field to 10 may open up nominations to genres that aren’t typically considered Oscar material, including comic book movies. Many assumed that the 2009 change was a direct response to The Dark Knight not getting a nomination. Conventional thinking is that when popular films are nominated, more viewers will tune in to the show, which has seen its ratings drop over the years. The show’s biggest audience came in 1998 when more than 55 million viewers tuned in to watch Titanic scoop the awards.

Spider-Man No Coming Home, No Coming Home, Does Spider-Man: No Way Home have a chance at the Oscars this year? (Picture: Sony Pictures)

SO WILL SPIDER-MAN BE NOMINATED THIS YEAR?

The biggest blockbuster of the pandemic, Spider-Man: No Way Home, doesn’t seem to have much of a chance of being nominated for Best Picture anymore given that it didn’t get a nod from the Producers Guild. Ditto for the James Bond picture No Time To Die. But there could be surprises on Tuesday morning.

WHO VOTES FOR BEST PHOTO NOMINEES?

Most categories limit the nomination vote to their specific branch (actors nominate actors, costumers nominate costumers), but all members of the academy can vote for the best picture.

WHAT OTHER BETTER IMAGE CHANGES ARE ON THE GO?

New inclusion standards for top image hopefuls were announced in 2020 and aim to encourage diversity and fair representation on and off screen, taking into account gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and disability, but will not take effect until the 96th Academy Awards in 2024.



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