Oscars best picture category to include between five and ten nominees

New Academy rules mean the number of films contesting the prize could vary from year to year

America’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts is to change the process by which movies are nominated for the best picture category at the Oscars.

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Ahead of the 2010 awards, a preferential voting system was introduced and the category was expanded to include ten rather than five nominees. But having since analysed voting from the last decade, officials have decided this doesn’t always produce the fairest line-up.

Retiring Academy executive Bruce Davis suggested the changes: ”In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies,” he said.

”A best picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honour in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”

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Starting with the 2012 awards, all films included in the final running will have received at least five per cent of first-place votes from Academy members. That means anywhere between five and ten movies could end up being included in any given year.