The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences continues to add what they call "a new twist" to their award ceremony. For next year's 84th Academy Awards ceremony, the Best Picture category will have "a new element of surprise," according to The Hollywood Reporter, which will be the second rule revision in just as many years.

Since making the decision to go digital for their voting, AMPAS announced, via press release on their website, that the new system could result in anywhere between five and ten Best Picture nominees. As if the Academy's board of governors is taking a page out of Viacom's reality TV playbook, the number of movies that make the cut won't be revealed until the nominees are officially announced on January 24, 2012.

Speaking about the change, retiring Academy executive director Bruce David said, "In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies. A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn't feel an obligation to round out the number."

The new selection method will work like this: When the list of films eligible for consideration is sent out to prospective voters, only those with at least 5% of the total first place votes will be included as nominees for the award. The press release doesn't mention if five is the minimum number of nominees allotted, but it seems more than likely. This could make sure that accidents like when The Blind Side earned a nomination in 2009 won't ever happen again.

There are also new rules concerning the documentary, Best Visual Effects, and Best Animated Film categories, which you can read more about in detail at the Academy's website.

[Via The Hollywood Reporter]