Toronto: Should There Be (Gasp!) 20 Best Picture Nominees This Year?

Best Picture race

At least 11 titles are already in the running, with more possibilities yet to open

When the Academy expanded the best-pic race to include up to 10 contenders, some purists balked. But 2013 is proving the wisdom of that move. In fact, there’s so many promising titles that even more then 10 would probably all still be respectable choices — though of course that would make the Oscarcast way, way too long.

The Toronto Film Festival, running Sept. 5-15, underlined the kudos buzz for some films that had wowed audiences at Sundance, Cannes, Venice and Telluride. And in the past few days, it added some titles of its own.

At this point, it looks like the best picture race could include “12 Years a Slave,” “August: Osage County,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Gravity,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,”  “Philomena,”  “Prisoners” and “Rush.”

That’s 11 films right there. And that doesn’t include the dark horses, which are inevitable — and plentiful. That list could include any of the following: “42,” “All is Lost,” “Blue Jasmine,” “The Fifth Estate,” “Invisible Woman,” “Kill Your Darlings,” “Labor Day,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and “Nebraska.”

A few years ago, some voters groaned that they were having a hard time finding even five films they liked, much less 10. But any of the films listed above would be totally at home on a best-picture list.

Some of these films have generated overwhelmingly positive reactions. Others got more mixed reception. But a film doesn’t need across-the-board love; it just needs a group of passionate supporters. Look at “Crash”: That film split people, but its advocates were ardent enough to give it an Oscar.

Plus there are some very hot possibilities in animated features, foreign-language films and documentaries, which are definitely best-pic eligible. The docu race in particular is shaping up with some great contenders, and that’s a category that hasn’t made it into Oscar’s Top 10 list yet.

And these are just a fraction of films. There are a lot of films from indies this year that are worth remembering (Cinedigm’s “Short Term 12,” “Mud” and several others)

As they say on the TV ads but wait, there’s more!

Among the many titles set to open by the end of the year:  Sony’s “American Hustle,” Fox’s “The Counselor,” Sony Classics’ “Foxcatcher,” WB’s “Her,” the MGM-WB-New Line “The Hobbit,” Universal’s “Lone Survivor,” Sony’s “The Monuments Men,” Relativity’s “Out of the Furnace,” Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” Fox’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and Paramount’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Even if only half of those are good, that still means the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the PGA might want to consider expanding the best-picture race to 20 slots.

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  1. deb says:

    Just nominate every film released. More trophies for participation is what we need.

  2. Oh Dear says:

    Exactly how did you manage to list so many films and not mention the best film of the year (BEFORE MIDNIGHT)?

  3. Till says:

    The best movies I’ve seen so far this year are “Adore” and “The Place Beyond the Pines”. Too bad these two don’t have any oscar buzz :(

  4. Adam Dawtrey says:

    Oh, and Tim didn’t even mention Belle, or Under the Skin, or The Railway Man.

  5. Adam Dawtrey says:

    For those commenters taking this seriously, Tim is joking to make a point. He isn’t really suggesting there should be 20 nominees, simply that there may be 20 films worthy of nomination. The paradox is that he’s right, and yet best picture is surely also a one-horse race already: 12 Years a Slave is the tightest lock I can ever recall in September. There may be other films as brilliant (though surely none better), but there won’t be any other films as good with that subject matter.

  6. Tyler says:

    20 slots would be overkill. I thought 10 was perfect. Just the right amount. Besides if there would be twenty, that means that a lot of films would only have a one-time nomination for Picture and nothing else, seeing how small all the other categories are.

  7. Evan says:

    No. There are more good movies than Oscar slots every year. The competition that results is the source of all the fun and prestige associated with the Academy Awards.

  8. John says:

    This is completely asinine and the writer shows a clear lack of understanding of what an award should mean. Not every good movie needs an Oscar nomination-every year has more good fIlms than slots at the Oscars. The point of the award is to honor the Best Picture-ten is more than enough. Twenty is idiotic.

  9. Robin Morano RN says:

    I loved “kill your darlings”. I would vote for this film. Excellent

  10. Jamie says:

    Absolutely not. Picking the nine or ten “Oscar worthy” films is realistic. After all, we are talking about the ten most recommended, best, or talked about films of the year. Anything more would diminish the honor. What I would like to see is an expansion of the other top categories. Just because 10 are allowed doesn’t mean 10 have to be nominated, but it would allow for matching those categories to the lauded pictures. Often a performance will stand out in an otherwise average movie. Those great tours of the art should be acknowledged.

  11. cadavra says:

    It might be a better idea to expand the acting categories, especially Supporting.

  12. VirtualJB says:

    Do a pre-vote so that 10+ films can get some extra limelight and BO, but by January reduce the contenders to 5. Oscar campaigns are expensive and the benefits don’t overcome the costs when too many films are in the race.

  13. Jolie says:

    No, go back to original number. We have way too many now, takes away from the intent.

  14. George Valentin says:

    In my opinion, the Academy should go back with just nominating 5 Best Pictures.

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