If the Academy Awards show is about anything, it is tradition. Which we love. We love the clips packages that recall "An Affair to Remember" and "The Graduate" and other films long past, and we love the cameraman finding Mickey Rooney in the audience, or some other star who got their start decades ago.
So when something big and new is announced, we take pause. As we did this morning, when we read that the Academy will now have 10 nominees, instead of the usual five, for Best Picture, at next year's Oscars. The Times had it writ large on the front page, and we're guessing this is a headline that will bounce around town for months to come. We can already hear the late-night wisecracking, and sense the Variety headlines. ("Flick Picks Thickens"?)
How will this shake up the office pool? Will smaller films get bigger chances? Let the movie-centric musings begin and continue through March 7, 2010, the date of the 82nd annual Academy Awards.
And oh, it turns out that the news isn't quite so new, though it is big. The Academy once honored a field of 10 nominees for Best Picture -- it went to five films in 1943 -- so perhaps the new development is really a return to a long-ago tradition.