It's top-10 time as Oscars reveal expanded lineup
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- Academy Awards voters are about to release their first top-10 list in 66 years.
Oscar nominations Tuesday feature 10 best-picture nominees instead of the usual five, the first time since the 1943 awards show that so many films are competing for Hollywood's highest honor.
Academy organizers say they wanted a broader range of titles in the mix, including worthy populist movies that often miss out on best-picture nominations in favor of the smaller dramas Oscar voters typically prefer.
Blockbuster best-picture contenders usually translate to better ratings for the Oscar broadcast, whose TV audience peaked with James Cameron's "Titanic" triumph 12 years ago. Ratings have been so-so ever since, hitting an all-time low two years ago.
Luckily for Oscar overseers, the show this time likely will include the biggest thing since "Titanic," Cameron's own "Avatar." The science-fiction sensation has soared past "Titanic" to become No. 1 on the box-office charts, with $2 billion and climbing worldwide.
From 1931 to 1943, the Oscars featured between eight and 12 best-picture nominees. There were 10 in 1943, when "Casablanca" won best picture, but the show switched to five nominees after that.
Other hits in the running for slots in this season's expanded best-picture race include the sci-fi tales "Star Trek" and "District 9," the World War II saga "Inglourious Basterds," the football drama "The Blind Side," the Julia Child romp "Julie & Julia," and the animated comedy "Up."
Prospects also include critical favorites such as the war-on-terror thriller "The Hurt Locker," the recession tale "Up in the Air," the Nelson Mandela story "Invictus," and the teen dramas "An Education" and "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire."
The best-picture and director categories could turn into a showdown between ex-spouses. Cameron and ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, who made "The Hurt Locker," have dominated earlier Hollywood honors.
"Avatar" won best drama and director at the Golden Globes, while Bigelow beat out Cameron at the Directors Guild of America Awards, whose recipient usually goes on to earn the best-director Oscar.
"The Hurt Locker" also beat "Avatar" for the Producers Guild of America top prize and was chosen as last year's best film by many key critics groups.
Among acting contenders, longtime audience darling Sandra Bullock has never been nominated for an Oscar before but is considered the best-actress front-runner for the real-life drama "The Blind Side," in which she plays a wealthy woman who takes in homeless teen Michael Oher, now a star with the Baltimore Ravens.
Another veteran, Jeff Bridges, has been nominated four times previously without winning an Oscar. Bridges is viewed as the man to beat this time as best actor for his role as a boozy country singer trying to clean up his act in "Crazy Heart."
Bullock and Bridges won top acting prizes at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, establishing them as Oscar favorites.
Also considered Oscar favorites are the Globe and SAG supporting-acting winners, Mo'Nique as a reprehensible welfare mother in "Precious" and Christoph Waltz as a gleefully garrulous Nazi in "Inglourious Basterds."
Oscar nominees are chosen in most categories by specific branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, such as actors, directors and writers. The academy's full membership of about 5,800 was eligible to vote for best-picture nominations and can cast ballots for the winners in all categories at the Oscar ceremony itself.
The 82nd Oscars will be presented March 7 in a ceremony airing on ABC from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.
This season's program continues last year's effort to liven up the show. Organizers chose song-and-dance Hugh Jackman as host a year ago rather than the usual comedian, and this time, they decided to go with dual hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.
Oscar producers Adam Shankman, a choreographer and director whose films include "Hairspray," and Bill Mechanic, former studio boss at 20th Century Fox, are promising to step up the fun quotient at this year's show.
Honorary Oscars, which took up a big chunk of space during past shows, were moved to a separate event last fall, freeing up more time to focus on the expanded best-picture nominees and other categories viewers care most about.
On the Net:
- Brad Pitt's Changing Looks
- Hollywood's Hottest Dads
- Mark Wahlberg's Shirtless Looks
- Prince William & Duchess Kate's Cutest Couple Moments
- Stars with tattoos of other celebs
- Brooke Shields' Changing Looks
- Carrie Underwood's Evolving Looks
- 'Fast & Furious 6' Cast Yearbook Photos
- Worst Celeb Sunburns
- Celeb Twins
- Celebs Who Work Out on the Beach
- Country Music's Hottest Couples
- Worst spring wardrobes
- Leonardo DiCaprio's Romance Retro
- WATN: 'Boy Meets World'
- Tim McGraw's changing looks
- Craziest Kim Kardashian pregnancy rumors
- Celebs Who Look Like Their Pets
- Mariah & Nick's Matching Style
- Hollywood's Tomboys
- The Royal Couple's Favorite Sports
- Kim Kardashian's Curvy Maternity Style
- WATN: 'Jurassic Park'
- January Jones' Retro Looks
- The Rock's Soft Side
- WATN: 'Veronica Mars'
- WATN: 'Beetlejuice'
- Fergie's Changing Looks
- Star Twitter Quitters
- Hollywood's Hottest Ryans
- Insured Celebrity Body Parts
- Most Expensive Celeb Engagement Rings
- Sweetest Celeb PDA
- Kim Kardashian's Tightest Looks
- Olivia Wilde's Best Street Style
- Justin Timberlake's Many Looks
- Hottest Royal Beach Bodies
- Celebrity Pets with Famous Names
- Michelle Williams' Best Fashion Moments
- Lindsay Lohan's Changing Looks
- Justin Bieber's Changing Hair
- Most Awkward People on the Red Carpet
- WATN: '7th Heaven'
- Ke$ha's Worst Looks
- Worst Oscar Fashion
- George Clooney's Oscar Dates
- Most Embarrassing Celeb Splits
- Stars Before They Were Oscar Nominees
- Jennifer Lawrence's Best Fashion Moments
- Rihanna's Sexiest Grammy Style
- Drew Barrymore's Craziest Looks
- Jennifer Aniston's Changing Looks
- Worst Dressed Celeb Designers
- Anne Hathaway's Oscar Looks
- Grammy's Hottest Couples
- Taylor Swift's Best Grammy Fashion
- WATN: 'Wonder Years'
- Destiny's Child's Most Iconic Looks
- Best Off-Season Bikini Bods
- Emma Stone's Best Red-Carpet Looks
- Celeb Flashers
- Mariah Carey's Biggest Feuds
- Mariah Carey's Wacky Wardrobe
- Britney Spears' Wackiest Red Carpet Poses
- Celeb Makeup Mistakes
- Ryan Gosling's Leading Ladies
- Nicole Kidman's Golden Globe Fashion
- Katy Perry's Year as a Single Gal
- Celebs Who've Removed Romantic Tattoos
- Most Memorable Celeb Holiday Cards
- Five of the Worst Celeb Winter Wardrobes
- Jennifer Aniston & Justin Theroux's Romance Retro
- Stars Who Are Aging in Reverse
- Christina Aguilera's Worst Looks
- 2012's One Hit Wonders
- Celebs Without Makeup
- Best and Worst Beach Bodies of 2012
- 2012 Fashion Don'ts
- Craziest Beauty Trends of 2012
- Celebs Who Survived Cheating Scandals
- The Turkeys of 2012
- Kristen Stewart's Best Red Carpet Moments
- WATN: 'Less Than Zero'
- Star Couples Who Went from Friends to Lovers
- The Most Famous Celebrity Pets
- The Hottest Celebrity Halloween Costumes
- WATN: 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
- Jessica Biel's White Hot Red Carpet Style
Demi Lovato drops some major newborn scoop about Selena Gomez's family on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Check out some of Kim Kardashian's tightest outfits.Watch Video »
Best Bikini Bods
From Jennifer Lawrence to Rihanna, see the best off-season celeb bikini bods.Watch Video »
Two months after major marital problems, Ozzy and Sharon do a Hollywood date night on Celebs gone Social.Watch Video »
See how this country cutie has changed her looks over the years.Watch Video »
See how this former Calvin Klein model's looks have changed over the years.Watch Video »
From Videos of Wonderwall
From Crowd Ignite