Two years ago the Best Picture race was bumped to ten nominees instead of the traditional five. That marketing tactic felt thin then, and it feels thinner this year.
What does it say when five to six thousand Academy members could only come up with nine nominees? The rules say, “No picture shall be nominated that receives less than five percent of the total votes cast.”
No more than five of the nominees show probable cause for winning. Often it’s only two or three. This round feels sufficiently un-superlative that the surprise meter could register potential on any of this year’s nine. Check out the Best Picture / Best Director link to find out which nominees to dismiss quickly and which contend well for Oscar’s most coveted honor.
Rarely do foreign language films get nominated for Best Picture. It does have its own category, which evades an important question. The crossovers were “Grand Illusion” (1938); “Z” (1969); “The Emigrants” (1972); “Cries and Whispers” (1973); “Il Postino” (1995); “Life Is Beautiful” (1998); “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000) and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006).
This year’s likely Best Foreign Language film, “A Separation,” deserves that vacant tenth slot. Actually, this deeply wrenching family drama from Iran rates a berth in the top five.