x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

The Academy Awards plot thickens

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has unveiled some major changes to its nomination process, but we're still being kept in suspense.

Cue drum roll. The prize for fairest awards ceremony goes to? Well, the Oscars, actually. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has unveiled some major changes to its nomination process - not least an overhaul of the coveted Best Picture category.

Just two years ago, committee governors decided to widen the race rules, doubling the number of nominees for the category from five to a fixed 10 films. Now, as with any good thriller, the board have made a u-turn and decided there will be a minimum of five nominees and a maximum of 10. Moreover, under the new guidelines, films vying for the top spot will have to have to secure at least five per cent of the first-place votes.

Why the shake up? According to the retiring Academy executive Bruce Davis, a study conducted by PriceWaterhouse Coopers revealed that members had shown "strong admiration" for more than five movies in recent years. However, under pressure to find 10 movies of "extraordinary merit", there was a risk of less worthy films making up the shortfall if, say, only eight standouts were agreed upon.

Adding to the suspense, the number of nominees will be announced at the same time as the nomination announcements: leaving everyone from studios, actors and directors in the dark until just one month before the February ceremony. That means we'll all have to wait until January 24, 2012, to find out whether 2011 will go down in Oscar history as a five, six, seven, eight, nine or 10-nominee year.