Which Movies Would Have Snagged Those 5 Extra Nominations Last Year?
Everyone seems to think that the Academy's expansion of the Best Picture category to ten nominees is a direct rebuttal to last year's crop. So, then, it's reasonable to ask: Had this rule been around last year, what additional five nominees would have been added to the category? And would they have made a difference on who won?
Two of the biggest, most ostensibly populist films would certainly have popped through: the beloved Wall-E and The Dark Knight, which had shown industry muscle at the PGA and DGA.
Past that, I think the only lock would have been Doubt, which saw all four of its actors nominated and was surely hovering outside the top five.
Revolutionary Road had been tipped for Oscar nominations, but was ultimately rejected in almost all major categories. An expansion in Best Picture could have seen it nominated, but the film's weak showing elsewhere revealed a lack of ardent partisans. The Wrestler, on the other hand, had a passionate (though younger) fanbase within the Academy that might have been able to jam it into contention, if given the opportunity.
So which film would have snagged that tenth slot? Had studios been given enough warning, I'm fairly certain the Weinstein Company could have helped their well-regarded Vicky Christina Barcelona go the distance.
Now, would any of those films have made a difference on the final winner, Slumdog Millionaire? Haha, no. That film had a stranglehold on the top slot through the entire awards season, and none of the five newcomers would have had a shot at unseating it. A more vulnerable contender might have seen its votes siphoned away by the larger crop of nominees, but Slumdog wasn't it. Will this year's frontrunner befall that fate? We'll see!