It is award season again, and the Golden Globes are airing tonight. The annual event is a celebration of comedy and drama, both on and off the screen, although some would say that the nominations in the “Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy” category represent a tendency to confuse the two. While the nominees in that category are talented actors, every one of them, the movies in question could hardly be considered comedies. Splitting hairs, someone could classify them as dramas with comedic moments, but the decision to choose the movies they did, rather than ones that are true representations of the comedic genre, such as Anchorman 2 or The Heat, has some in Hollywood upset with the snub.
The pictures that were nominated, American Hustle, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, and The Wolf of Wall Street, are all deserving of recognition on the artistic merits of the performances given. The comedic aspects of those performances were only incidental to the overall story-lines of the films. While demonstrating an emotional and dramatic range in the actors, those are different skills than those required to pull off true comedy as a genre.
While the Anchorman 2 movie may or may not be worthy of a Golden Globe, it is undeniably an actual comedy, and a more appropriate representation of the style being recognized with the award. Snub or not, the Golden Globes have a history of a similar tendency to confuse comedy and drama with the selections chosen. This demonstrates an inability of a large portion of Hollywood to wrap their heads around the craft and complexity brought to comedic performances. The term “comedic genius” means less these days than in the days where a similar performance from an actor like Carol Burnette would be met with great acclaim.
Sharing the hosting duties for the event will be Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, comedians both, of Saturday Night Live fame. With a string of successes in both television and film, this duo is widely recognized as among the funniest women in Hollywood, and are drawing a large viewing audience. Both of them have had comedic roles in movies where they gave excellent performances which were largely unrecognized, except perhaps by the extension of an invitation to host the show. It is a bit ironic that they will entrust the ratings to the comedy chops of the pair, but fail as an institution to reward the skills that make the choice a smart one.
The Golden Globes is destination television for millions of people around the world, and the red carpet festivities before it even begins are almost as anticipated as the award ceremony. These festivities have become synonymous with high fashion and elegance, and every person attending knows that they will have their entire appearance dissected and analyzed in the national media. Discussions of how much flesh was or was not revealed, along with choice of style and color and hair, will dominate the news cycle for a couple of days, while the hosts will likely be most often mentioned as an afterthought with patronizing praise and an industry “attaboy” before moving on to discussions of how their dresses made them look. The fact alone could be viewed as both comedy and drama.
Amy Adams gave a phenomenal performance to win her the award for “Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy,” but it is a dramatic performance that effectively used comedy. It was brilliant, and worthy of recognition. It may or may not have been for a movie that is best characterized as a comedy. While it may not have been a true snub not to recognize Anchorman 2 as the paragon of the comedic art, it does give evidence that the Golden Globes continues to demonstrate confusion between comedy and drama with its choices for nominations. Fortunately for comedic actors, making a comedy still pays well. It just doesn’t get properly recognized by Hollywood.
By Maritza Malone