The irony of the Oscars deciding to go with 10 Best Picture nominations this year instead of the traditional 5 is that it's totally unnecessary.
The move is being done to boost ratings, which were famously anemic last year (this despite an energetic turn by song-and-dance hunk Hugh Jackman).
Most people blamed the poor ratings on the fact that neither The Dark Knight nor WALL•E were nominated for Best Picture.
(The general consensus is that people watch the show when they have a horse in the race—hence the high ratings the years Titanic and The Lord of the Rings were big winners.)
But here's why it's unnecessary: Avatar, fast becoming the biggest blockbuster of all time, was going to get nominated no matter what—indeed, at this early stage in the game, I'd say it's the frontrunner to win the whole shebang. If the Best Picture nominations were restricted to just 5, my guess is they would've been this:
Up in the Air