Judd Apatow Thinks There Should Be an Oscars Category for Comedy

November 21, 2011
Source: LA Times

Judd Apatow

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?

Find more posts: Awards, Discuss, Editorial



Thats a tough one. Everyone has a different taste in comedy. The Hangover isn't funny to me. But, apparently, it's one of the funniest movies ever. You can tell if someone that Matt Damon is a good actor. But you can't tellsomeone that Louis C.K. is funnier than Katt Williams.

Daniel on Nov 21, 2011


I agree.

Xerxexx on Nov 21, 2011


If they can do an animated feature, they can do a "Best Comedy." It can be all its own. And, like a great animated feature, if it's a great comedy, it can get a Best Picture nomination as well. I know, I know...There's a lot more skill needed to make an animated feature than an comedy. It's like the difference between a ninja and a gunslinger. Sure, the ninja goes through years of training, and the gunslinger learns to fire a weapon, but you wouldn't make fun of the gunslinger after he skillfully puts a bullet in your head. Bad analogy? Yes, but you get the point. Comedies are a dime a dozen, but a great one is memorable. Create the category and let's drink to it.

Quanah on Nov 21, 2011


I got your analogy, but it's more like: it takes decades to train a ninja and only months to train a gunslinger... however... it takes a lot more raw TALENT to be a gunslinger than a ninja. Just like great comedic timing is more of am inherit talent than a learned skill.

Anonymous on Nov 21, 2011


Well said.

Quanah on Nov 22, 2011


Trade one of the traditionally awful musical segments of the Academy Awards show for this new category. Why not.

rennmaxbeta on Nov 21, 2011


Yes they should have added Best Comedy decades ago... however, with how weak comedy has been in the last 5 years (1 or 2 greats, a handful of good, and a TON of S*#T!) it might be too late.

Anonymous on Nov 21, 2011


Comedy is harder to do than Drama, so why doesn't it get a category? 

John on Nov 22, 2011



stfugtfo on Nov 22, 2011


I have always thought that comedy should have its own category

Redmollyo on Nov 22, 2011


does it matter? just make a funny as shit movie, thats all that matters. if you're movie is really, really funny, and thats how you intended it to be, havent you accomplished everything that matters when making a comedy? awards schmawards

Ictimerlsf on Nov 22, 2011


It's a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, you've got some great Oscar-worthy comedies that have been overlooked over the years, because dramas are pretty much the only movies that are nominated for Best Picture. On the other hand, most comedies suck. In any given year, there's probably not going to be enough truly great comedies to fill a category. Then again, if they can give animated movies their own category, why not comedy?

Craig on Nov 22, 2011


Their have been many good comedy films that have been nominated. Last comedy winner Shakespeare in Love in 99. I dont think that was a zillion years ago Judd... But if you want slapstick comedy about guys farting in each others faces to be held in high regard your barking up the wrong tree here dude, try the MTV and Peoples Choice awards. Your movies dont even get nominated at the Golden Globes who have a comedy category. That should tell you something.

happy camper on Nov 22, 2011


if comedy was a category in the oscars, rob corddry should win best actor for and hot tub time machine best picture, lmao

Dpramroop on Nov 22, 2011


They have enough stupid categories so I don't see why not. The academy probably doesn't wan to have to deal with the shame of handing out an Oscar to a movie like Harold and Kumar though so I bet we will never see it as a category. I bet the Academy views comedy as a genre for the low-dregs of society.

Josh Taylor on Nov 22, 2011

New comments are no longer allowed on this post.



Subscribe to our feed -or- daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main account on twitter:
For the latest posts only - follow this one:

Add our updates to your Feedly - click here

Get the latest posts sent in Telegram Telegram