The recent decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to expand the nominees for Best Picture from five to 10 is clearly a business decision.
This is not a new idea. From 1932 through 1943, there were 10 nominees for Best Production or Best Motion Picture. In both 1934 and '35 the nominations stretched to 12 films.
This was a great idea in terms of recognizing outstanding achievement ... in any category. But why limit it to any number? If one year there's eight worthy films, nominate eight.
Here's an idea that what would make the process and the award more meaningful.
First, split the Best Picture category into Best Drama, Best Comedy or Musical, and Best Animated Feature. It only makes sense. Documentary and fiction features are separate. Short films and features are separate. Why compare Wall-E be to The Dark Knight or Slumdog Millionaire. Each wonderful films, in their own ways.
Second, let the fans make the initial cut, by text, just like American Idol. Films have to receive a certain number of votes to make the final list. Then, let the members of the Academy make the final vote.
And this tactic should be applied to the other major crafts--actor/actress, director, etc.
This would better engage the fans, and happy fans make the film companies and exhibitors happy. And it just makes sense.