Ten movies will be nominated for the big prize at the 82nd Oscars in March.
Explaining the shift, Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis says, "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.
"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."
An average of 10 films competed annually for the top prize for the first 16 years of the Oscars, and the last classic to win gold after beating out nine other movies was Casablanca in 1943.
Ganis adds, "Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize."
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