Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Jaime Trueblood/ DreamWorks Pictures

Now that the Oscars has expanded its Best Picture field to 10 films, things are going to get Cocoa Puffs crazy: The Hangover and Paul Blart for Best Picture; Transformers' Megan Fox for Best Actress.

Er, right…?

Wrong, say the Vegas oddsmaker, the Industry exec and the film professor we touched base with regarding the Academy's new big-tent policy.

"The notion of an Academy Award movie isn't going to be changed," Christine Birch, president of marketing for DreamWorks said.

Here's what that means to the Class of 2009's hopefuls:

The Hangover has "no shot."

This, per Johnny Avello, Vegas' go-to man for Oscar odds. (His sports book at the Wynn Las Vegas is the only Sin City casino to issue a line—for entertainment purposes only, of course—on the Academy Awards.)

Avello isn't picking on the R-rated blockbuster, which has picked up nearly as much praise as dollars—he's just not bullish on the releases from the first half of this year. He expects next year's Oscar Best Picture category to be filled by, per usual, films released after the summer.

That's good news for those betting on year-end releases such as Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, James Cameron's Avatar and Rob Marshall's movie musical version of Nine.

And, to Avello, at least, that's no-go news for current favorites such as Star Trek and, yes, The Hangover.

Up will (probably, maybe) not be WALL-E'd.

The general concensus is that, had this past year's Best Picture race boasted 10 entrants, WALL-E, along with The Dark Knight and Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, would have been there.

The general thinking is that next year's new math will help WALL-E's Pixar cousin Up become the first animated Best Picture nominee since Beauty and the Beast.

"Now that we go 10 deep, there might be a possiblity," Avello concedes. "It would have a shot."

Little films will have a bigger shot.

To Reed Martin, an adjunct professor of movie marketing at NYU's Stern School of Business and author of The Reel Truth, what's good for the crowd-pleasing popcorn films will be good for the teeny-tiny indies, too.

"I think it'll pull in an additional film on both sides of the spectrum," Martin said, "another art film and other successful Hollywood film."

Actors in big films will not have bigger shots.

This isn't the same as saying they won't have any shot, although Reed issued a quick "no" when asked if, say, Fox's chances for nabbing a nod suddenly improved.

But if the larger question is, "Will more films under consideration for Oscar's top prize mean more stars under consideration for Oscar's acting prizes?"—the answer is, not necessarily, according to Reed.

"There are Oscar-worthy performances," Reed says, "…the Academy-worthy performances always a cut above and always acknowledged to be on a different playing field."

And while Birch thinks the new-look Oscars will broaden the definition of what an Academy-worthy film is, it won't change the idea of the award itself.

Says Birch: "It's always going to be about the movies themselves."

Best Picture This
Which already released 2009 film do you think deserves a place in Oscar's expanded Best Picture race?
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