There will be 10 best picture nominees at the 2010 Oscars, ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday.
The move could dramatically up the star wattage at the ceremony, which like many awards shows, has struggled to maintain its high ratings. A broader range of nominees might also help boost viewer interest in the show.
The 2010 Oscars will be broadcast Sunday, March 7.
“After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” said AMPAS chief Sid Ganis. “The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.”
The last time Oscar nominated ten films for best picture was back in 1943, when "Casablanca" won.
“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,” Ganis added.
Nominations for the 2010 Oscars will be announced Feb. 2.