By Daniel D'Addario
March 5, 2015

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body that hands out the Oscars, is reportedly mulling a switch back to five Best Picture nominees only, as an expansion intended to get more blockbusters into the mix is widely seen as a failure. (Though several of the Best Picture nominees from the past year were financially successful, only one, American Sniper, crossed the $100 million threshold seen as the difference between a success and a blockbuster.) The committee that makes the rules wants to see big hits in the mix; meanwhile, the people who vote on Oscars can’t seem to find any.

For six years, the expanded Best Picture field may not have made room for significantly more smashes, but it did allow many more movies to claim they were Oscar favorites, even if they may have only come tenth in the voting. It’s been an interesting and at times confounding change in how viewers think about the Best Picture category, flooding prognosticators with significantly more movies to address. Looking ahead to a potential future with five nominees a year and back on the effects of recent rules changes, it’s worth considering what movies got a clear boost from the expansion. If the change in nominations had never happened, what films’ low nomination tally or un-Oscars-y subject matter show would have been left out in the cold?

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