Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 09:31 UK

Oscars expand best film category

Slumdog director Danny Boyle and actress Rubiana Ali
Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire won best picture this year

The best picture shortlist at the 2010 Oscars will be 10 films instead of the customary five, it has been announced.

Official organisers have said the move will recognise a wider range of films and include "more populist movies".

It is the first time since 1943 that 10 films will be in the running and has been called "a return to the past".

At this year's ceremony, a 10-strong shortlist would likely have featured box office smash The Dark Knight and Ben Stiller comedy Tropic Thunder.

'Singular honour'

Audiences and many critics felt that the latest Batman epic, which won a posthumous best supporting actor award for Heath Ledger, should have been included among this year's best picture nominees.

But Academy president Sid Ganis said the film "did not come up" in discussions about expanding the category.

Following last year's ceremony, the show's producers advised the Academy that efforts were needed to bring the show to a wider audience.

It is believed that if the best picture category were to feature more box office hits, television ratings would improve in 2010.

However the idea of splitting the 10 films into dramas and comedies - in a move similar to the Golden Globes - was rejected.

"It's about the best picture, not the best something picture. It's a singular honour," said Mr Ganis.

But he added that comedies could eventually benefit from the broadening of the best picture list.

Assurances have been made that the 2010 Academy Awards ceremony, which takes place on 7 March, will not be longer due to 10 shortlisted films.

The contenders will be revealed when the Oscar nominations are announced on 2 February.

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