THE best picture shortlist at the 2010 Oscars will be 10 films instead of the customary five, it has been announced. Official organisers have said the move will recognise a wider range of films and include more populist movies. It is the first time since 1943 that 10 films will be in the running and has been called a return to the past. At this years ceremony, a 10-strong shortlist would likely have featured box office smash The Dark Knight and Ben Stiller comedy Tropic Thunder. Audiences and many critics felt that the latest Batman epic, which won a posthumous best supporting actor award for Heath Ledger, should have been included among this years best picture nominees. But Academy president Sid Ganis said the film did not come up in discussions about expanding the category. Following last years ceremony, the shows producers advised the Academy that efforts were needed to bring the show to a wider audience. It is believed that if the best picture category were to feature more box office hits, television ratings would improve in 2010. However the idea of splitting the 10 films into dramas and comedies - in a move similar to the Golden Globes - was rejected. Its about the best picture, not the best something picture. Its a singular honour, said Mr Ganis. But he added that comedies could eventually benefit from the broadening of the best picture list. - BBC Assurances have been made that the 2010 Academy Awards ceremony, which takes place on 7 March, will not be longer due to 10 shortlisted films. The contenders will be revealed when the Oscar nominations are announced on 2 February. - BBC