The Producers Guild of America said Monday it would double the number of slots for its Producer of the Year Award to 10, following the lead of Oscar organizers.
The guild's top award is a fairly accurate predictor of the best picture Oscar, which also goes to producers.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said in June it would double the size of the best-picture race, in what was believed to be a reaction to the snub of such crowd-pleasers as The Dark Knight and WALL-E.
PGA president Marshall Herskovitz nodded to the Academy's earlier decision but said that wasn't his group's sole motivation.
The PGA board approved the expansion of our best produced picture category nominations to support our colleagues at the Academy, but also because we feel it better represents the unprecedented diversity of films being produced today, he said.
Supporters of slot expansion argue that the move makes for a more inclusive awards season and spreads the kudos (and awards business) around. But upon hearing the news, several awards-watchers noted that the PGA move would reinforce a problem begun by the Academy -- namely, of finding enough worthy films to honor at a time when specialty and awards releases are being scaled back.
Still unclear is how the PGA will handle the voting once the field is narrowed to ten; the group could switch to the preferential voting system recently announced by the Academy or maintain a system where voters pick just one film, with the highest vote-getter declared the winner.
The PGA will announce nominees on January 5 ahead of its January 24 ceremony at the Hollywood Palladium.