The nominations for the 82nd Oscars were announced today, and what is unique for this year’s Oscars is that for the best picture category they have 10 nominations instead of the usual 5. The nominations are:
- The Blind Side
- District 9
- An Education
- The Hurt Locker
- Inglourious Basterds
- A Serious Man
- Up in the Air
The reasoning behind this increase in nominations is that the Oscars have successively lost viewership for each year that has passed. Some people aren’t really interested in the Oscars anymore, or they might feel alienated from the Oscars. Some think/ believe that what the academy views as the best picture candidates isn’t in line with what the audience, and also in some cases what the critics think. Case in point is a small movie that many thought deserved an Oscar nom at least but didn’t get was “The Dark Knight”. It is highly regarded by viewers and it received among the highest rating from critics for that year, yet it didn’t even get nominated. This upset many viewers and could be one of the reasons for why people have lost interest in the Oscars. Hugh Jackman, who was the host for the event, even mentioned it during his opening number.
How this connects to the increased number of nominations is that people are more likely to watch the Oscars if the movie they root for is in the race. However, although the number has increased to 10m it is pretty obvious that only 4 movies stand a chance of winning, still even though the chances are small of the other 6 movies winning that fact that they are nominated does provide some recognition.
But will this strategy work? Looking at past data we find that there is strong reason for it. The peaks of viewership that the Oscars have had were when a more mainstream movie was nominated (and won). Case in point is Titanic with 57 million viewers and Lord of the rings: Return of the king with 43 million viewers. In between those movies the ratings dipped. The number of viewers for last year’s show was 36 million.
Also worth noting is that the nominations for this year covers a wider range of categories. Avatar & District 9 are Sci-fi-adventure movies, Blind side is a sports drama, Up is an animated movie from pixar, Hurt locker is a Iraq war movie, Precious & An education (Drama), Inglorious basterds (War movie, thriller, drama, dark comedy), A serious man (dark comedy), Up in the air (Drama, comedy & Romance).
Contrast this to last year’s nominations:
Slumdog millionaire (Crime, romance, drama), Frost Nixon (Drama thriller), The Reader (Drama), Milk (Drama) and Benjamin Button (Drama, Fantasy, Mystery)
As we can see there is a heavy emphasis on just drama movies which could be one of the reasons for less people watching. By covering more genres it is more likely that it will get more people watching.
Anyway we will have to wait until March 7 to find out