Tradition isn’t what it used to be. Back in the early years, the Academy would throw anywhere from eight to a dozen movies into the Best Picture category. In those days, Best Picture was called Outstanding Picture and was matched, for the first couple of years, with another top prize, Unique and Artistic Production. The Academy soon dropped that jawbreaker and, in the ‘30s, changed the name of the category to Outstanding Production. The early ‘40s saw a brief switch to Outstanding Motion Picture, quickly supplanted by Best Motion Picture. Since 1962 it’s settled in as Best Picture. Starting in 1944, the Academy whittled the nominations down to a standard five. That number held for 65 years — until, in 2009, somebody got the bright idea that a larger field meant more movies could put “Nominated for Best Picture” in their ads and sell more tickets. For a few years this spirit of largesse resulted in 10 nominations. Then, for the next few, it dwindled to nine. This year, it’s down to eight. By the Academy’s rules, a movie must get at least 5 percent of the first-place rankings in the nomination process to make the cut. It seems that this year’s eight nominees were the only ones to rise to that bar.