When the folks over at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced last week that they’re upping the number of Best Picture nominees at the 2010 Oscars from five to ten, we tried our best to keep a positive outlook. But as more and more information comes to light about the other changes that will need to be made to the ceremony in order to facilitate this change, we’re getting less and less psyched about it. Take, for instance, the curiously timed press release AMPAS sent out on Friday — in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, mind you — that stated that the “lifetime achievement” portion of the program will be excised from the broadcast; recipients of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and the Honorary Award will now pick up their statues at a black-tie event in front of a room of 500 people rather than at the Oscars with millions watching. There are also some rumblings that the Academy Award for Best Song might be in trouble, too.
According to Screen Daily, the Music Branch Executive Committee is seeking to amend the rules they use to generate the nominees for the Best Song category. Their recommendation is “that if no song achieves a minimum average score of 8.25 in the nominations voting, there will be no nominees and therefore no Oscar in that category for that year.” While we’re wholly in favor of fixing the rules for this category (especially after Bruce Springsteen’s haunting title track for The Wrestler somehow got overlooked last year), we’re not sure this is the right way to do it. If they’re looking to trim the show’s run time, we’re A-OK with cutting out the crappy musical performances, but the possibility that the entire category itself might be cut just doesn’t sit as well.