Earlier this week, I was sitting here watching the big reveal of nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards, when suddenly my chin dropped to the floor and my eyes went BO-IIIIIII-NG!

This year, instead of five nominees for Best Picture, there are ten.

TEN.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganas, as quoted in an official press release back in June: “After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” said Ganis. “The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.”

Translation: By doubling the amount of nominees, we plan to make twice as many people feel good about themselves even though there are scads of others out there in the industry who are working their butts off, too. We can’t recognize everyone, but hey, at least we fit in FIVE more…it IS an honor, just to be nominated. Remember?

Between 1932 and 1943, he Academy had between eight and twelve (!!!) nominees for Best Picture before they took the field down to five, and that’s where it has stayed until this year.

This really struck a chord with me. Several things come to my mind:

1. Why have more of a chance to be nominated for Best Picture than, say, Best Director? Isn’t the Academy now offending five directors? I mean, not that the Best Director category is always a mirror of the Best PIcture (remember the controversy when Barbra Streisand wasn’t nominated for “The Prince of Tides”? Sheesh!), but really, shouldn’t they have the opportunity??

2. And if they give the directors five more slots, then shouldn’t the writers get ten chances to be nominated, too? I mean, if the writers didn’t do their job, there would be no movie.

3. Actually, come to think of it, the actors should get ten slots each, too (Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress), because they’re the ones on the front lines who can ultimately make or break a movie…

4. Also, I wonder if this decision to increase the field to ten grew out of the parenting trends of late, as in “everybody’s a winner” and such. (Those Little League games in which no score is kept at all, so both teams win? BLECH.) Guess what, people? That’s life! You win some, you lose some. It’s vital to develop that coping mechanism as a life skill in order to not end up in the corner, all curled up in the fetal position because someone moved your cheese.

Speaking of how life is, my friend Huckdoll wrote a great post the other day* after the Grammys in which she lamented that there are soooo many other artists who never make it to the spotlight, let alone the nominee list. Here’s part of my comment:

“…the point you made is true of almost any industry, public or not, isn’t it? There are always more (or equally) talented people who never see as much recognition or get as much validation as others.”

Think about it. No matter what industry, hobby, or sport you could talk about, there are people who get recognized above all others. It doesn’t mean that everyone else is a loser; sometimes it just means that they were in the right place at the right time, or they know the right people. Sasha Cohen didn’t get her chance to make a big comeback at the Olympics in Vancouver; does the fact that she fell at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships mean that she is no longer one of our elite skaters? Heck no. In fact, there are hundreds of women who could be ranked below Cohen who not only didn’t make it to that competition, but who we’ve never even heard of. Does that mean they suck? Of course not.

Closer to home, imagine the “Employee of the Month” program in the office environment. There’s only room for one “Winner” each month, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other employees who aren’t just as good (or even better) as the chosen one.

And then there are bloggers. Lists which spotlight “The best” in various categories are created on a regular basis. The truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there who have never made it onto an “official” list (myself included, though I’m not complaining), even though they work very hard. Of course, I appreciate the accomplishments of the bloggers who are on all of those lists; I’m just saying that I really, really enjoy what I do and the little community I’ve created over here, and the fact that I’m not a so-called “top blogger” doesn’t affect that in the least. I set out on this blogging journey for FUN, and it seems to me that when you pull away from the pack and get out in front, not only is the pressure “on like Donkey Kong” (ha ha Julesie), but there’s also a bigger target on your back. Not that I wouldn’t accept a spot on some list or another, of course**; I’m just saying that appearing on a list is not my primary goal here.

I think that everybody looks for validation now and then; to hear somebody say “Hey, you’re doing a great job!” is a wonderful feeling, no doubt about that. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser if you don’t win the Big Prize. In many cases, it just means that the “winner” had a better day/week/season.

Is it possible that we as a society are “looking for love in all the wrong places”? Do we really need to make the field of elite performers wider, or do we need to pull together and try harder to express appreciation to those directly around us?

Discuss.

*except that she totally dissed my Gaga, which I wasn’t happy about. But the Huckster and I have a deep mutual respect for each other’s music choices, and I forgive her this one transgression. (HAHA, just kidding. She’s allowed to not enjoy the Gaga, I GUESS.)
**Don’t be silly.

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