Star TrekOfficials of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences got a little help from their friends in the Producers Guild of America today when the PGA included the $257.7 million blockbuster 'Star Trek' among its 10 nominees for the year's Best Picture. Technically, the PGA award honors "those visionaries who produce and execute motion pictures," but no one doubts that the PGA began giving its annual award in 1990 to become a player in the Oscar game.

And in no previous year are the producers more apt to play a role. With both the Academy and the PGA doubling their number of nominees for Best Picture from 5 to 10, Oscar observers have been haunted by two questions: How in the world will either group find 10 worthwhile nominees?; and, will the voters answer the Academy's prayers by nominating a big audience movie that would never make a five-picture field?

After the PGA's list sinks in, Academy voters may just say "Ditto" and save themselves further headaches.
categories Movies, Oscars