It looks like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have been paying attention to critics.
Back in 2009, the Academy announced that the Best Picture category would be expanded from 5 nominees to 10 - a move that quickly drew fire. Since it was the only category expanded, it meant that you had several so-called "best pictures" that weren't nominated in a single other category. So it was a great movie, apparently, that directed, shot, and acted itself.
It also led to several films being nominated simply to fill out the quota (coughcough "The Kids Are All Right" coughcough).
U.S. & World
It seemed like a simple fix: Only nominate 10 if there are 10 worthy films. Well, the Academy is listening, and that's exactly what they are going to do next year.
In an official statement from the Academy, it was announced that there will be between 5 and 10 nominees next year, with the exact number kept secret until the nominees are revealed in January.
“In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies,” said Academy executive director Bruce Davis. “A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”
Other changes? There won't be a Best Animated Film category unless the Academy decides there are at least 8 worthy films. So we can mercifully say good-bye to the category: "Pixar vs. Two Dreamworks Films That Have No Chance in Hell."