All About Oscar: Categorically Speaking
Will The Academy Ever Recognize These New Categories?
By Tom Houseman
April 11, 2012
The Argument For It: You might not know this, but the Academy has a reputation for treating comedies like they're smelly hobos asking for change on the subway. Basically, they put on their headphones, keep their heads down, and avoid looking at them at all costs. The accuracy of that broad generalization aside, it is true that the popular comedies loved by fans and worshipped on the internet typically only score token Oscars, usually for their supporting actors or their screenplays. Bridesmaids is a perfect example, as are Tropic Thunder and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. And no matter how much people loved The Hangover, it was never going to get a Best Picture nomination.
So why not solve this problem by diving Best Picture into comedy and drama like they do at the Golden Globes. You'd still be able to award the artsy pretentious dramas while giving some room for mainstream comedies to take home some gold. Plus, the inclusion of popular comedies would certainly boost the show's ratings, so everybody wins, right?
Last Year's Likely Nominees: Assuming that the films are classified the same way they were at the Globes, dramedies Hugo, The Descendants, and Moneyball would all be classified as dramas. That means that The Artist and Midnight in Paris would be the frontrunners for Best Comedy. Bridesmaids had a surprising amount of support, and would likely join them. Last year was a bad year for popular comedies, and I can't imagine Bad Teacher or Horrible Bosses being nominated. It is likely that indie comedies 50/50, Win-Win, Carnage, and Beginners would fight it out, with more mainstream films like The Muppets and Crazy, Stupid, Love serving as spoilers. My Week with Marilyn would also be a contender.
Why It Will Hopefully Never Happen: There is a certain beauty and simplicity in the Academy declaring “of every movie released this year, we declare this one to be The Best Picture.” No matter how wrong they are, it is at least a definitive statement, and that film will always be known as the film that the Academy declared the best. Taking that away would significantly water down the meaning of Best Picture if the Academy started saying “well, this is the best drama, and this is the best comedy.” True, it would clear some recent uproars over The Artist beating Hugo and Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan, but that's part of the fun of the Oscar race. The wonderful purity of a single Best Picture is what makes the Oscars the Oscars, and I would never want that to change.
What about you? Do you think any of these categories definitely should or shouldn't be recognized by the Oscars? What about other awards given out by other groups, from the Saturn Award's Best Action Film to the MTV Movie Awards Best Lip Lock to the Cannes Film Festival's Palm Dog? Which of those should the Academy embrace?