(Updates with president’s comment in the third paragraph.)
June 15 (Bloomberg) -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will nominate five to 10 movies for best picture, pulling back from a two-year expansion of the Oscars category to 10 movies.
The final number will be revealed when nominations are announced, the academy said yesterday on its website. At least 5 percent of the first-place votes will be required for each finalist.
The change is designed to inject more suspense in the annual race for Hollywood’s most prestigious award, academy President Tom Sherak said in an interview. The academy, based in Beverly Hills, California, expanded the category to 10 from five to showcase blockbusters and drive ratings for the televised Oscars awards show early each year.
“We said right from the beginning we would keep revisiting,” Sherak said. “We’re willing to give this a try. If it doesn’t work, we’ll go back to the board and we’ll change it.”
Ratings for the 2011 awards show fell 9.8 percent to 37.6 million viewers from 41.7 million in 2010, according to Nielsen Co. data. The independent film “The King’s Speech” won the best-picture award, prevailing over nominees that included the animated “Toy Story 3” and “The Social Network,” about the founding of Facebook Inc.
The board decided on 10 nominees two years ago because the number conformed to “10-best” lists published by many critics, Sherak said. The new format frees academy voters from an arbitrary number of nominees, he said.
The best-picture nominations are based on a voting formula in which the academy’s members rank films beginning with their first choice for the award. If the 5 percent rule had been in place over the past 10 years, the number of nominees would have varied from five to nine nominees, according to the statement.
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