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In yet another attempt at maintaining the Academy Awards’ relevance, the Motion Picture Academy announced today that there will be 10 films competing for Best Picture at next year’s 82nd ceremony. This is the first time since 1943 that the Best Picture category has had so many contenders, and it seems to be a return to the earlier years of the Academy where it was not uncommon to have more than 5 nominees.

The move is clearly a follow up to the Academy’s revamping of the ceremony this year with Hugh Jackman, and will allow more crowd-friendly films to be in the running for best pic. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good number of the choices next year have no chance of winning at all. It’s a smart move that will generate more public interest in the Oscars, and I can already see the mouths frothing of  fanboys and girls everywhere.

President of the Academy, Sid Ganis, had this to say on the change:

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. I can’t wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February.

The 82nd Academy Awards noms will be announced on February 2, 2010.

Discuss: Will this change make you more, or less interested in the Oscars? What else can the Academy do to help make the awards more relevant?

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