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Oscars to have 10 best-picture nominees

THE Academy Awards will have 10 best-picture nominees instead of the usual five starting next year, improving the odds for films such as "The Dark Knight," a fan favorite that was snubbed last time.

Doubling the number of nominees for Hollywood's top prize will make room for more worthy films and potentially give a jolt to the Oscar TV ratings, Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said on Wednesday in California.

The change takes effect with the 82nd Oscar show on March 7, 2010.

The academy board of governors decided that there were more than five films last year that deserved best-picture consideration, Ganis said.

Among those that "were part of the conversation" were the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight," along with the animated "WALL-E" and the comedy "Tropic Thunder," Ganis said.

All were huge box-office successes but the sort of movies that rarely make the best-picture cut.

The change caught studio executives and others in Hollywood by surprise. Some said it was a good idea.

Academy voters often have overlooked "big box-office successes that also were really big artistic successes," said Christine Birch, an academy member and head of marketing for DreamWorks. "Those weren't deemed quote-unquote 'academy' movies. This gives those movies an opportunity to not have to fall by the wayside."

Others said it was tough to say how it might affect the Oscars, which are awarded by the academy's 5,800 members.


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