Academy says 248 films eligible for best picture nom

In all, 248 feature films have been declared eligible for a best picture nomination in the 83rd annual Academy Awards.

The number of 2010 features eligible for Oscar honors is down 9% from 2009’s tally of 274 films. A total of 281 pics were eligible for the 2008 awards year.

The drop in eligible features underscores the drop in the number of features released each year by the majors. It also reflects the impact of day-and-date theatrical and VOD release plans by indies such as IFC and Magnolia. Those titles are disqualified from Academy Awards consideration.

To be eligible under the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ rules, feature films must open in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County by midnight Dec. 31 and have a minimum run of seven consecutive days.

Feature films that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Oscars in any category.

The nominations will be announced on Jan. 25, with the ceremony set for Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theater.

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