Judd Apatow Thinks There Should Be an Oscars Category for Comedy
Though the Hollywood Foreign Press has long recognized the delineation between comedy and drama by giving out separate Golden Globes for each genre (though the comedy category puts musical in the same boat as well), the Academy Awards still lumps all films together when vying for the Best Picture honor. However, recently the Academy decided to give animation their own feature film category, and now director Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People) express, albeit in a bit of a sloppy, shorthand manner, that maybe it's time for comedy to get its own sandbox at the awards playground.
In a video from LA Times' Envelope screening series, Apatow was asked about the concept of comedy receiving its own category at the Oscars, and he's all about it. The filmmaker says:
"There should be a comedy category at the Oscars because why not? Comedy's not included ever. It's been like five times in a zillion years that [a comedy] has won Best Picture]. It doesn't seem like it's screwing up 'Schindler's List' for 'The Hangover' to have its own category."
As far as the reasoning behind comedy's lack of inclusion in Best Picture nominations or the lack of its own category, Apatow offers this mocking explanation saying, "Comedy is easy to do. Serious is hard." While I like the idea of giving comedy its due diligence and awards love in the entertainment industry, the Golden Globes often hasn't respected the right comedies and has a hard time determining the line where comedy ends and drama begins. Using one of Apatow's films, Funny People has plenty of laughs, but there's also a hell of a lot of drama. Even films like As Good As It Gets, which have been honored by some Oscar nominations, have quite an abundance of comedy mixed in with hard-hitting drama.
This year especially there are a handful of films that have plenty of hilarious material throughout a compelling dramatic story. Some of my favorite films this year so far include The Beaver, Win Win and 50/50, all films that have more than just a few laughs, but bring some really powerful drama and performances to the table, making the films worthy of Oscar love when the time comes. While I would love these films to be honored with a nomination for some type of comedy Oscar, they each make it very difficult to fit one film into only comedy or drama on their own. In a way that makes me think the Academy has the approach to the Best Picture award correct, but they simply aren't recognizing comedies and dramas themselves on the same playing field. While a film like 50/50 certainly deserves a Best Picture nod, maybe it won't measure up to a film like War Horse or Shame in the pretentious eyes of the Academy. It's a very difficult concept to contemplate, but it certainly allows for some intelligent discussion.
Do you think the Academy Awards should have a separate category for comedies?