The OscarsThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has once again changed its rules for Best Picture nominees. Each year going forward, there will be between 5 and 10 nominees in the best picture category with a minimum of 5% of first place votes needed for a film to receive a nomination. Over the last 10 years, the average percentage of first place votes for the Best Picture winner was 20.5

The academy apparently took a hard look at what would have happened over the past 10 years had the new system been in place, and discovered that between 2001 and 2008 (the year of the expansion to the mandatory 10) there would have been years that yielded 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 nominees.

Don't really see how this adds much of a twist other than what will surely be the short-lived surprise as to the exact number of films to be added each year. Considering the past, we know it will likely be in the 6 to 7 range, but we do know what WON'T happen: undeserving films will not receive nominations just to fill the mandatory quota of ten.

Among some of the other changes enacted is the "requirement" to activate the Best Animated Feature category each year as well as some refinements to the number of possible nominees in the animated features and short film category, and an increase in the number of participants in the Special Effects category.

The 84th Academy Awards nomination will be announced on January 24 with the ceremony being held on February 26th, 2012.