(LOS ANGELES) -- After expanding the number of nominees in the Best Picture category to 10 movies in 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is shrinking that number again...or maybe not.
In a vote on Tuesday, the Academy's Board of Governors approved a new nominating system that will result in anywhere from five to 10 movies earning top picture nominations. The new system is designed to add an element of surprise to the proceedings as well as to ensure that those movies that earn nominations are really those that voters consider most worthy, according to the Academy.
“A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit," retiring Academy executive director Bruce Davis, who spearheaded the change, said in a statement. "If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”
The change comes in response to a study commissioned by the Academy, which looked at nomination voting over the last decade. In response to that study, the Academy's governors decided that in order to earn a nomination, a movie must receive at least five percent of the first-place votes cast during nominations.
If the new system had been in place from 2001 to 2008 -- before the expansion to a slate of 10 -- there would have been years that yielded five, six, seven, eight and nine Best Picture nominees, the Academy noted.
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