Five simple rules for winning an Oscar nomination

Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:33am EST
 
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Forget the rules of awards season, we were told.

When the Academy's board of governors announced eight months ago that the best picture category would be supersized to 10 nominees, awards watchers predicted that the race for the top Oscar would play out like none in the modern era. Gone were the honed awards playbooks, the paint-by-numbers campaign strategies that have come to define the annual winter horse race. We were entering a brave new world of unpredictability and experimentation.

Or something like that. Now that the first crop of 10 nominees has been selected, it's time to evaluate how the expanded field changed the game. Which strategies benefited from the 10 nominations and which fell flat? Here are five lessons learned from the season.

1. NO LAUGHING MATTER

Heading into the fall, comedy producers were tickled by the prospect that the expanded best picture field might finally allow some serious acknowledgment of funny movies.

Comedies have long been the redheaded stepchild of the Oscars (1976's "Annie Hall" is the last full-on laffer to take home the best picture prize). But if the supersized category was conceived to include more populist films, the thinking went, surely a couple of successful humor pictures -- like "The Hangover" or "It's Complicated" -- would make the cut.

But while several best picture nominees have their lighter moments, there is nary a straight comedy among them. In fact, despite studio efforts to reposition them as awards films -- and even after some success at the Golden Globes -- "Hangover," "It's Complicated" and the romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer" were totally blanked by the Academy.

Lesson learned: Oscar might be more populist, but he's certainly not any funnier.   Continued...

 
<p>An Oscar statue is seen on stage after the 82nd annual Academy Awards nomination announcements in Beverly Hills February 2, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>