Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ten Best Picture Nominees!

I have not seen the movie Brüno and I am not predicting that it will be nominated for Best Picture.

This year, there will be ten films nominated for Best Picture instead of the usual five. Some people think that is a bad move. I think with the recent problems that the Oscars have had, it is needed badly.

I will first give my one objection to this change. Since 1997, I have seen all five films that were nominated for Best Picture before the Oscars would take place. This has allowed me to judge all five films and guess what will win Best Picture. From 1997-2008, I have only been wrong twice. I guessed that Saving Private Ryan would win for 1998 and Brokeback Mountain would win for 2005. Going 9 out of 11 is not bad though. Now I would have to see all ten nominated films to continue my streak. If one of those films is not in the theater or on DVD, my streak will end.

The reason why the Oscars should have ten films up for Best Picture is because in recently years, we would have five films up for the big award that few people have seen. Before 2004, big budget films that grabbed audiences like Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Titanic, Gladiator, and the third Lord of The Rings movie had also won Best Picture.

After the third Lord of the Rings film won Best Picture, the last five years have had low budget films nominated and winning the top award. I think that the main problem in recent years is that film studios are scared to try to make dramas that have a big budget because if the drama does not touch audiences, then the film can lose the studio potentially over $100 million.

That is why the big budget movies tend to be based on comic book characters because those are fun movies that usually are safe bets at the box office. Recently The Dark Knight was both a critical and financial success. Not only did the movie become the second highest grossing film in the United States (right behind Titanic), but critics and audiences thought that the film had a great story. When the Oscar nominations came out, The Dark Knight was not nominated for Best Picture. Instead, The Reader was nominated without a chance of winning.

This is where the Oscars have been messing up. Looking at the five films nominated for Best Picture last year, they were all low-budget dramas. To make the Oscars more exciting, I would have been okay with them plucking The Reader from the list because it was the least likely of the films to actually win Best Picture.

The Dark Knight was the closest thing that the Oscars had to a big budget movie that could get people to watch the Oscars. Now they are not going to bump films like The Reader, but I think that allowing ten films to be nominated will give films like The Dark Knight a chance of receiving a nomination.

It may also stop certain films from running away as the clear winner. Slumdog Millionaire was great, but the lack of competition made this one of the least exciting year for the Oscars in recent memory. The Oscars need a more diverse group of films to be nominated for Best Picture if they expect to have a big audience. I’m not saying that they should nominate Twilight, Transformers, or Brüno, but they should nominate at least one movie that had a large audience. Maybe Public Enemies with Johnny Depp will be the movie that grabs audiences and critics. It is time that Hollywood puts a new focus back on big budget movies that can also get Roger Ebert’s thumbs to point up.

If ten Best Picture nominees helps honor the big audience films that have been truly overlooked in the last few years, then the Oscars will be like they used to be. I want to make it clear that in most of the years, I do believe that the Best Picture winner actually was the best movie, but I think that the awards will be more relevant to society if they have at least one very successful film nominated for Best Picture.

People want to root for their favorite film, even if it is a based on a comic book.


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