The Academy Awards went ol’ school this year when they went back to their roots of having 10 nominees for Best Picture, a practice that was discontinued sixty years ago.
Why’d they do it?
The President of the Academy, Sid Ganis, said, “Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize.”
That’s certainly true, but there are other reasons for widening the field, including making the run for the gold more suspenseful (and making it more likely for an underdog to win) and giving more films additional marketing power.
So, should we do it? Should the Tonys widen their field of Best Musical and Best Play nominees to five?
The answer is Yes.
The Tony Committee should have the authority to widen their choice of Best Musical and Best Play nominees to more than four should they feel that the season demands it (especially since they nixed the Special Event Tony – where are all those folks gonna go?). We’ve all seen snubs in the past four years that just didn’t make sense, and this would be a way to recognize shows on the fringe, give them the marketing power of the Tony Award (plus the performance on the telecast – which is what the audience tunes in for), and make it more of a nail-biter of a race.
Awards are about two things: recognizing excellence, and marketing the industry that they are awarding.
Right now, we’re not taking full enough advantage of either.