10 Best Picture films current 2009 box office ranking based off US domestic gross.
1. Avatar ($709 million)
5. Up ($293 million)
8. The Blind Side ($249 million)
25. Inglourious Basterds ($120 million)
27. District 9 ($115 million)
38. Up in the Air ($82 million)
65. Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire ($47 million)
131. The Hurt Locker ($12 million)
135. An Education ($11 million)
150. A Single Man ($8 million)
I think having 5 of the 10 films above the $100 million mark definitely communicates that this year's award nominees are more accessible choices. Had their been 5, only 1 or 2 films would have been in that range and the awards would have seemed more elite.
The expansion of 10 films certainly seems to have made the awards more "accessible" although, it's hard to tell what that'll do for ratings. I was skeptical at first, but I think I'm happy with the change in having ten nominees.
I must admit, it's nice to see a wide range of films making the cut, and it's a pity that some of those at the bottom didn't get more attention in the theaters, but it's nice to see that they haven't been ignored in award season.