One voter who enthusiastically supports the five extra finalists is John Lasseter, the big cheese of animation at Pixarand Disney as well as the secretary of the board of governors. Considering the only animated feature to ever make the best-picture cut was 1991's Beauty and the Beast
, he's delighted that movies like Pixar's summer hit Up
– which earned ecstatic reviews – will have an easier chance of sneaking in.
"I don't think it diminishes anything," he says. "There are an awful lot of more commercial films that have not been nominated that should have been. Now there's a whole generation of moviegoers who don't relate as much to the Oscars, since the movies that they love so much are not represented. This will open the door."
It does rankle some that the rules had to be bent before animated features as well as documentaries and foreign-language films, which all have separate best-picture categories, could be given a fairer chance at the biggest honor.
Says Peter Schneider, the former head of Disney feature animation who was in charge when Beauty
was in the running: "It won't mean as much. Getting in is not as special as when it was just five. It's like cheating."