Does Judd Apatow's Funny People Have Oscar Potential?
Yes, I know it's way too early in the year to already be talking about next year's Oscars, however, a few interesting stories have start popping up across the web about Judd Apatow's newest summer film Funny People. The buzz is specifically coming from Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsehwere, where he has collected feedback from a few different test screenings of the film in LA. The quote that kicked it all off is from one of Wells' director friends. "Possibly an award-level thing," he told Wells. "It's more in the realm of Sandler for Best Actor and Apatow's script for Best Original Screenplay, he speculated, than a Best Picture shot."
Another separate report from one of Wells' readers says the same. "Really funny, a really sweet movie, a lot of veracity… really a brilliant film. Everybody's game goes up a lot. It's a James L. Brooks-level thing and a great role for Adam. It's a perfect blend of everything Sandler has done in a serious vein." Considering Brooks won three Oscars for Terms of Endearment and was nominated for Broadcast News, Jerry Maguire, and As Good as It Gets, that's a damn good reference to use. If Apatow has reached that same brilliant level as Brooks, which is certainly possible, then I'm even more excited for Funny People than I originally was.
Of course, it's way too early to tell if it really has any Oscar potential, because we don't know what else it'll be up against. If there are at least five other very strong contenders by the end of the year, Funny People, as good as it may be, could be edged out in the end. It's also just a long shot to begin with, because how many comedies really get nominated anyway? I mean, sure James L. Brooks had some Oscar noms, but those were all back in the 90s. Nowadays, nothing but dramas usually win Best Picture, although comedies do certainly win Best Screenplay (like Juno a few years ago) and have a shot at other categories as well.
This is all just early speculation coming from a few limited reports from early test screenings, however, it is still a strong indication that Funny People will be a great movie, even if it doesn't get nominated for any Oscars. It's the one and only comedy that I am really looking forward to this summer, especially after watching the trailer, which was one of the best trailers for a comedy I think I've ever seen. But alas, that's just the marketing side of it, and we'll have to wait to see if it's really as great as it seem to be in the trailer. Only time will tell if it really has Oscar potential, but for now, I'll say that the buzz is good, very good.