The Oscar nominees for Best Picture have arrived — all ten of them. This year, in an effort to rebuild the award show's waning audience, organizers have doubled the number of nominations in this marquee category. While some critics praise the change for allowing movies like the South African sci-fi thriller "District 9" to make the cut, a greater number are grumbling about the move. Here, according to the doubters, are ten reasons why it's a mistake to have ten nominees:
1. Why not 100? "The Academy might as well have expanded the category to 50 films, or 4,423 films, or simply everything that has ever been released in the civilized world," says Ryan Gilbey in New Statesman.
2. It opens the door to Sandra Bullock: Now we know "what happens when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences radically shakes things up," says Allison Benedikt in the Village Voice. "A Sandra Bullock movie makes the list."
3. Too many choices! "For the past decade or so," the Academy's "Best Picture" selections have "come mostly from a boutique of small indie films," says Richard Corliss in Time. But with the five additional nominations, it's now "more like a Wal-Mart."
4. Has anyone even seen all ten? The Academy has guaranteed that "the number of moviegoers to have seen" all the nominees for Best Picture "will shrink even further," says Michael Medved in CNN.
5. A nomination used to be worth something: The move has "devalued" the brand, says Jo-Ann Armao in the Washington Post. "Because no matter how you do the math, being one in a select group of 10 is not as special as being in a select group of five."
6. Michael Bay, Oscar nominee? "It's difficult enough coming up with five legitimate 'Best Picture' nominees," says Jim Caple in ESPN. But at this rate, "we'll see a Michael Bay movie earning a 'Best Picture' nomination."
7. Funny is still stigmatized: Despite "doubling the size" of the "Best Picture" list, says Jim Slotek in the Toronto Sun, the Academy has still found a way to keep comedies out of the running.
8. The selections are still boring: The expanded "roster offered virtually no surprises — except in how conventional it turned out to be," says Elizabeth Weitzman in the NY Daily News. It was a wasted chance to "shake things up and bring in a new, younger audience."
9. The Oscars go downmarket: Maybe the Academy will accomplish its goal of giving "casual moviegoers" more of a reason to watch, says Jack Mathews at Moviefone. But in the process it's moved a step closer to becoming "the People's Choice Awards."
10. It doesn't affect the outcome: Since "four of the five nominees were already set in stone," says Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times, adding the extra five selections "isn't going to make the slightest bit of difference in the Oscar race."