What If They'd Had Ten Nominees?
The Academy recently announced that, starting with the 2009 Oscars, they will be reviving a tradition, shelved for the last 65 years, of including ten rather than five movies in their Best Picture roster. Before getting elated or hysterical about this news, I thought I'd see how this might actually have looked recently. These are my best guesses (obviously subjective) about what AMPAS would collectively have laureled in recent years, under the new rules. Not to be confused with my own annual favorites!

Year Projected Field Which Means...
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Gran Torino
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
The Wrestler
On balance, a handy improvement!

Closer, but still no cigar for
Doubt, Frozen River, Iron Man, Rachel Getting Married, Revolutionary Road, Tropic Thunder, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Visitor
American Gangster
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
Sweeney Todd
There Will Be Blood
About the same, and in the context of an already above-par year, that's a good thing

Closer, but still no cigar for
3:10 to Yuma, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Away from Her, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Charlie Wilson's War, Eastern Promises, Hairspray, I'm Not There, In the Valley of Elah, The Kite Runner, Ratatouille, Zodiac
Blood Diamond
The Departed
The Devil Wears Prada
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Queen
Still mediocre, but a tad more interesting

Closer, but still no cigar for
Bobby, Borat, Cars, Casino Royale, Children of Men, Flags of Our Fathers, The Good Shepherd, Happy Feet, The History Boys, The Illusionist, An Inconvenient Truth, The Last King of Scotland, Little Children, Notes on a Scandal, The Prestige, United 93, Volver
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
Good Night, and Good Luck.
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice
Walk the Line
About the same, a bit more "studio"... but I do think Brokeback would have won with more vote-splitting among its detractors, and I still would have thought Capote and Munich had barely squeaked in there.

Closer, but still no cigar for
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Batman Begins, Caché, The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence, Jarhead, March of the Penguins, Match Point, The New World, Syriana
The Aviator
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Finding Neverland
Hotel Rwanda
Million Dollar Baby
The Passion of the Christ
The Phantom of the Opera
Better and worse, but I'd love to know whether Passion and Fahrenheit even figured into the top ten among AMPAS' favorites, and I think Vera Drake is exactly the kind of movie that might have scored among directors, writers, and actors, and still missed a BP nod.

Closer, but still no cigar for
The Bourne Supremacy, Closer, Fahrenheit 9/11, Garden State, The Incredibles, Kinsey, Lemony Snicket, Maria Full of Grace, The Motorcycle Diaries, Napoleon Dynamite, The Sea Inside, Shrek 2, Vera Drake, A Very Long Engagement
City of God
Cold Mountain
Finding Nemo
In America
The Last Samurai
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Mystic River
I wouldn't have been excited per se, but wide-open spots for a non-English and an animated title... and completely feasible upsets for stuff like Station Agent, given how well it did at SAG.

Closer, but still no cigar for
21 Grams, American Splendor, Bend It Like Beckham, Big Fish, Dirty Pretty Things, The Fog of War, House of Sand and Fog, Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Something's Gotta Give, The Station Agent, Whale Rider
About a Boy
About Schmidt
Catch Me If You Can
Gangs of New York
The Hours
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Pianist
Road to Perdition
A downgrade, especially because I don't think Far from Heaven or Director nominee Talk to Her are really next in line here; even if one of the Abouts misses, I think Spider-Man and even Adaptation, maybe even Minority Report and Frida were in better spots to step in.

Closer, but still no cigar for
Adaptation., Barbershop, The Bourne Identity, Bowling for Columbine, Far from Heaven, Frida, Ice Age, Minority Report, Monsoon Wedding, Punch-Drunk Love, The Quiet American, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Spider-Man, Spirited Away, Talk to Her, Y tu mamá también
A Beautiful Mind
Black Hawk Down
Gosford Park
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge!
Ocean's Eleven
A downgrade overall, but with higher "high"s than this list usually allows. I can't imagine the Lynch film scoring up top despite the Director nod, and (as with Doubt) I don't think all those Iris acting nods necessarily mean a BP nod, either.

Closer, but still no cigar for
A.I., Ali, Bridget Jones's Diary, Ghost World, Iris, Legally Blonde, Memento, Monster's Ball, Monsters, Inc., Mulholland Drive, The Others, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Shipping News, Vanilla Sky
Almost Famous
Billy Elliot
Cast Away
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Erin Brockovich
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
About even. I still would have wondered how Chocolat got in here, and how Wonder Boys didn't.

Closer, but still no cigar for
Before Night Falls, Chicken Run, Dancer in the Dark, The Patriot, The Perfect Storm, Pollock, Requiem for a Dream, State and Main, Sunshine, Thirteen Days, Wonder Boys, X-Men, You Can Count on Me
American Beauty
Being John Malkovich
The Cider House Rules
The Green Mile
The Hurricane
The Insider
The Matrix
The Sixth Sense
The Talented Mr. Ripley
A notable improvement, though almost anything would be... and I don't think that a doubled list would have opened the floodgates to all the most exciting "rebel" contenders, since there were still some Hurricanes sliding around.

Closer, but still no cigar for
All About My Mother, The Blair Witch Project, Boys Don't Cry, Cradle Will Rock, Election, The End of the Affair, Fight Club, Magnolia, Man on the Moon, Run Lola Run, Sleepy Hollow, The Straight Story, The Thomas Crown Affair, Three Kings, Toy Story 2
1998 1997 1996 1995
Gods and Monsters
Life Is Beautiful
Out of Sight
Saving Private Ryan
Shakespeare in Love
The Thin Red Line
The Truman Show
Waking Ned Devine

or maybe... Bulworth, A Civil Action, The Horse Whisperer, Primary Colors, The Prince of Egypt, A Simple Plan
As Good As It Gets
Boogie Nights
The Full Monty
Good Will Hunting
L.A. Confidential
Wag the Dog
The Wings of the Dove

or maybe... Air Force One, Contact, The Ice Storm, Men in Black, Mrs. Brown, The Sweet Hereafter
The English Patient
Jerry Maguire
Lone Star
The People vs. Larry Flynt
Secrets & Lies
Sling Blade

or maybe... The Birdcage, Breaking the Waves, Courage Under Fire, The Crucible, Everyone Says I Love You, Ghosts of Mississippi, Ransom, A Time to Kill, When We Were Kings
The American President
Apollo 13
The Bridges of Madison County
Dead Man Walking
Leaving Las Vegas
Il Postino
Sense and Sensibility
Toy Story

or maybe... 12 Monkeys, Casino, Get Shorty, Heat, Mr. Holland's Opus, Nixon, The Usual Suspects
1994 1993 1992 1991
Bullets over Broadway
Forrest Gump
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Hoop Dreams
Legends of the Fall
The Lion King
The Madness of King George
Pulp Fiction
Quiz Show
The Shawshank Redemption

or maybe... Ed Wood, Little Women, Nell, Nobody's Fool, Speed, Three Colors: Red
The Age of Innocence
The Fugitive
In the Line of Fire
In the Name of the Father
The Piano
The Remains of the Day
Schindler's List
Short Cuts

or maybe... Farewell My Concubine, The Joy Luck Club, Jurassic Park, Like Water for Chocolate, Mrs. Doubtfire, Shadowlands, Sleepless in Seattle
The Crying Game
A Few Good Men
Howards End
The Last of the Mohicans
Malcolm X
The Player
A River Runs through It
Scent of a Woman

or maybe... Bram Stoker's Dracula, Chaplin, Enchanted April, Hoffa, Husbands and Wives, A League of Their Own, Lorenzo's Oil
Beauty and the Beast
Boyz N the Hood
The Fisher King
Grand Canyon
The Prince of Tides
The Silence of the Lambs
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Thelma & Louise

or maybe... Barton Fink, City Slickers, Fried Green Tomatoes, Hear My Song, Rambling Rose
1990 1989 1988 1987
Cyrano de Bergerac
Dances with Wolves
Dick Tracy
The Godfather, Part III
The Grifters
Reversal of Fortune

or maybe... Alice, Edward Scissorhands, Green Card, The Hunt for Red October, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, Pretty Woman
Born on the Fourth of July
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Dead Poets Society
Do the Right Thing
Driving Miss Daisy
Field of Dreams
Henry V
My Left Foot
When Harry Met Sally...

or maybe... Batman, The Bear, Cinema Paradiso, Enemies, a Love Story, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Little Mermaid, Parenthood, Roger & Me, sex, lies, and videotape
The Accidental Tourist
Bull Durham
Dangerous Liaisons
A Fish Called Wanda
Gorillas in the Mist
Mississippi Burning
Rain Man
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Working Girl

or maybe... Bird, A Cry in the Dark, Die Hard, The Last Temptation of Christ, Running on Empty, The Thin Blue Line, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Au revoir, les enfants
Broadcast News
Cry Freedom
Empire of the Sun
Fatal Attraction
Good Morning, Vietnam
Hope and Glory
The Last Emperor
The Untouchables

or maybe... The Dead, Full Metal Jacket, Ironweed, Lethal Weapon, Matewan, My Life as a Dog, The Princess Bride, Radio Days, Roxanne, Wall Street

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