BirdmanIf it's an honor to be nominated for an Oscar, then three films wouldn't have had that honor last year if the Best Picture category had been capped at five.

Yet, that's exactly what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is considering, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Since 2009, the number of potential Best Picture nominees was raised to 10, but now the organization may return to the previous number of five.

THR sources say that AMPAS board members feel like the higher number of nominees has "watered down the prestige of a nomination." And including more Best Picture films hasn't boosted the ratings of the ceremony broadcast. "They tried it, and it really didn't do us any good," one source said.

The initial decision to raise the number of nominees to 10 was born from a widespread feeling that the blockbuster hit "The Dark Knight" had been snubbed in the category. And the most-watched Oscars telecast in history was the year when "Titanic," a huge box office smash, won.

Since then, AMPAS tweaked the rules so that the Best Picture category could have anywhere between five and 10 nominees (in the last three years, there have been eight, nine, and nine contenders).

But rather than including more popular films, it's gone the other way - the eight films nominated for Best Picture last year combined for a record low $999.5 million worldwide gross. The only mega-hit of the bunch was "American Sniper" - which made more than the other seven nominees combined.

Then again, it's not clear that if this past Oscars had whittled the Best Picture nominees down to five, that "American Sniper" would've been included (its director, Clint Eastwood, didn't get a nomination).

categories Movies