Who Stands to Gain the Most From Oscar's Best Picture Bombshell?
It's the biggest news to hit the Oscars since, well, probably ever: The 82nd Academy Awards will feature 10 Best Picture nominees, doubling the standard upheld since 1944. This should be cause for celebration around most of Hollywood today, none more jubilant than that of the interested parties you'll find after the jump.
· The Media: Easily the biggest potential beneficiaries of the expanded Picture category, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, both the New York and Los Angeles Times, and a few dozen of the Web's higher-profile movie blogs will now have maybe three times the "for your consideration" ad buyers come October, and twice the ad pool by the time nominations are announced Feb. 2. Even with recession- (and Slumdog-) era Oscar spending dropping up to 40 percent last year, that would still amount to a roughly $90 million pie that requires splitting. I never thought I'd have the chance to legitimately say this, but: We want to thank the Academy!
· DreamWorks/Paramount: On the other hand, 10 nominees makes The Lovely Bones looks more automatic than ever, meaning the divorced superpowers won't have to spend a dime on Oscar campaigning until January at the earliest. Double win.
· Pixar: You could probably just call this expansion the WALL-E Bump, and you wouldn't be too far off. This virtually guarantees Up a spot at the adult's table next winter, thus initiating a new era of whining by Pixar loyalists about Oscar's supposed bias against animation winning it all.
· The Weinstein Company: Assuming Harvey's not bankrupt by November, Nine is in.
· 20th Century Fox: Avatar might very well have been on the bubble with only five slots, but sci-fi or not, at these prices (and with James Cameron's ego) the studio will milk its groundbreaking epic for every drop of prestige it can find. And those extra five slots have never made it look easier.
· Mini-majors: Fox Searchlight also would have been in the mix anyway with Mira Nair's biopic Amelia, but Focus Features instantly goes from being a 2009 dark horse to a legit contender with the Coens' A Serious Man. Sony Pictures Classics can nurture similar hopes for An Education, as can Lionsgate (Precious) and Summit (The Hurt Locker). Sorry Miramax, I don't know what to tell you about this new Clive Owen movie you've got. There's always 2010, or maybe you'll get lucky at the...
· Toronto Film Festival: Crash, Juno and Slumdog Millionaire sprung to Oscar glory from their launching pads in Toronto. Don't expect 2009 to unfold any differently; debuts, deals and reputations will be made north of the border.
Academy president Sid Ganis offered his own two cents to Movieline as well, but before you check that out, tell me: Who did I miss?