12 days to Nom announcements. 45 days till the Oscars.

As we all know, Billy Crystal is hosting due to Eddie Murphy quitting. This might be the best thing EVER. Billy Crystal is the reason I love the Oscars. Anyone remember the 1997 Oscars??? Yeah, that was right after I went to see Titanic in theaters 4 times (at the age of 8, no less). That may have been the most defining year of my life in terms of my appreciation of cinema. And history. And large boats.

2012 category news:

According to Wikipedia, here are some changes being made for this year:

  • Best Picture: The final nominees can now range from anywhere between 5 and 10. The nomination voting process will be the same as before, through preferential balloting, but now only films that receive a minimum of 5% of total number one votes are eligible for Best Picture nominations. “A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number,” Academy executive director Bruce Davis explained.
  • Best Animated Feature: This is now a permanent competitive category, and no longer requires the Board to annually “activate” it. Additionally, rules were amended to give the category more flexibility in terms of the number of nominees it can allow. (!!!)
  • Best Documentary Feature: The category’s eligibility period has been modified. Prior to 2011, documentaries that screened theatrically between September 1 and August 31 of the following year were eligible. This has now been changed to match the calendar year from January 1 to December 31. As a transition period, the 84th Academy Awards will accept documentaries that were released between September 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011.
  • Best Visual Effects: Previously, seven shortlisted visual effects contenders were announced several weeks before the official nominations announcement. This number has now been changed to 10 to coincide with last year’s expansion of the category from 3 to 5 nominees.

Obviously, I’m excited about the new permanency of the Animated Feature category. (The animated feature is sooooo under-appreciated.) The news about the new flexibility in the Best Picture category is awesome. I felt like some of the nominees over the past couple years have seemed kind of forced. Now only the pictures that “deserve” it will be nominated. (Yes, “deserve” is in quotations. We all know that there’s a certain bias inherent in the system. But we deal.)

Wrap-up note from last year:

My semi-educated guesses of who would win last year went 16/19 (excluding documentary and short film categories). I was only wrong about “Music (Original Song)” which went to the song from Toy Story 3 (but we all knew it was a toss-up between the two Disney songs), “Actress in a Supporting Role” which went to Melissa Leo (I don’t agree with that pick), and “Cinematography” which went to “Inception” and not “Black Swan” (again, a toss-up). My goal for this year: bat 1000.