The 82nd Academy Awards, which will be presented on March 7, 2010, will have 10 feature films vying in the Best Picture category, Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis announced today (June 24) at a press conference in Beverly Hills.
"After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year," said Ganis. "The final outcome, of course, will be the same - one Best Picture winner - but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009."
For more than a decade during the Academy's earlier years, the Best Picture category welcomed more than five films; for nine years there were 10 nominees. The 16th Academy Awards (1943) was the last year to include a field of that size; Casablanca was named Best Picture. (In 1931/32, there were eight nominees and in 1934 and 1935 there were 12 nominees.)
Currently, the Academy is presenting a bicoastal screening series showcasing the 10 Best Picture nominees of 1939, arguably one of Hollywood's greatest film years. Best Picture nominees of that year include such diverse classics as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz and Best Picture Winner Gone With the Wind.
"Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize," commented Ganis. "I can't wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February."
The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2. The Oscar ceremony honoring films for 2009 will again take place at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.