The Academy Awards are considering a major change that would see the category of Best Picture cut from ten nominees to just five. The Oscars expanded its category to ten in 2009 (and then anywhere between 5-10 in the following years) though it considering a return to the five nominees last seen in 2008 when Slumdog Millionaire beat The Reader, Milk, Frost/Nixon and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

BirdmanAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman won the Best Picture this year, against nine rivals

The initial change essentially came when there was uproar over the omission of The Dark Knight from the line-up, however, after experimenting over the past six years the Academy now believes its field is being watered down (The Blind Side, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, 127 Hours and Philomena were all Best Picture nominees). The flip side is that the expanded category gives lesser known films a chance to shine - we're thinking Whiplash and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

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An Academy spokesperson declined to comment on the specifics of the potential change, though said, "As we do each year, the Academy will meet in the coming months to evaluate not only the telecast, but also the awards season in its entirety."

Next year's Oscars contenders are likely to include Steven Spielberg's untitled Cold War thriller with Tom Hanks, David O' Russell's comedy biopic Joy with Jennifer Lawrence and potentially Netflix's war drama Beasts of No Nation with Idris Elba.

Elsewhere, Oscar-winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio is likely to be in the mix, as is Quentin Tarantino's much-hyped western The Hateful Eight. 

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