There’s always been a dicey relationship between the Academy’s voting members, its governing body, and the network that airs the ceremony. The former is focused on doing its job—picking the best picture of each year. The latter wants ratings and needs popular films to be nominated to get them. The governing body coordinates between the two, trying to please both.
The mid to late aughts was perhaps the most trying period between the groups. A scourge of unpopular nominees forced the Academy to make one of its most controversial rule changes. In 2005, none of the nominees surpassed $100 million at the box office. 2006 and 2007 only featured one each, and 2008 had two—but no Dark Knight.