01.03.10

Oscar Voters Dish: Best Picture

For the first time in 60 years, there will be 10 nominees for Best Picture. The Daily Beast polled Academy voters for their picks. Which films are locks and who’s on the bubble?

Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent Oscar ballots to its roughly 6,000 members. And for the first time since 1943—when Casablanca beat out nine other films—voters will select 10 nominees for Best Picture.

The irony, as several voters pointed out in interviews with The Daily Beast over the last few weeks, is that while 2009 has been very strong at the box office, it has not exactly been filled with Oscar-caliber films.

Click Image to View Our Best Picture Nominee Predictions

“I can’t think of five movies I’ll be nominating for Best Picture, much less 10,” said one member from the producer’s wing, in a comment that was echoed many times. “All these movies that don’t deserve to be nominated are going to wind up getting nominated.”

Perhaps.

Another refrain heard repeatedly from voters is that the Academy made the change to 10 nominations in an effort to get more commercial movies nominated and that it’s simply going to mean more high-minded independent films get nominated.

This seems less likely.

In conversations with voters (as well as consultants working for the studios), the list of films most likely to be nominated does seem to have been influenced significantly by the addition of five more slots. Yes, art-house pictures will likely outnumber blockbusters when the nominations are announced February 2, but by a much smaller margin than last year when the only film with more than $100 million in domestic box office was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

For example, the Weinstein Company’s Inglourious Basterds will almost certainly be nominated for Best Picture this year, and that probably wouldn’t be the case had the number of films remained at five.

The same is true for Up, the critically acclaimed film from Pixar that in ordinary years would have had to settle for a Best Animated Film nomination. And by our count, at least two other high-grossing films will likely be nominated.

So what are the other films likely to get nominated? And what’s going to get shut out? VIEW OUR GALLERY.

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