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Judd Apatow Wants A Comedy Oscar

The concept of “Oscar bait” brings a number of images to mind. A lot of spectacle, a worthy subject (preferably a real person), a big name director. Preferably some emotional shouty scenes that you can stick in the trailer. Basically that new George Clooney film. What isn’t Oscar-worthy, though, is the comedy. It is very rare that a predominantly comedic film walks off with the Best Film award. The most recent contenders, SHAKESPERE IN LOVE and AMERICAN BEAUTY, both fall into the usual Oscar traps (based on a real person and shouty emotion, respectively), and aren’t full on comedies. The most recent  genuine laugh fest to pick up the big prize is Woody Allen’s masterpiece, ANNIE HALL, which famously beat out STAR WARS, to the anger of people who don’t know which film is better than the other. But comedy overlord Judd Apatow is fed up with this apparent bias, and has a cunning scheme to fix it.

Well, actually, a pretty simple scheme. Apatow, whose comedy pies that house his fingers include KNOCKED UP, BRIDESMAIDS and the criminally undervalued FREAKS AND GEEKS, thinks there should be a separate Best Film award for comedies. Just as the Golden Globes has a separate category for Musicals and Comedies, Apatow believes that the Academy Awards should separate comedy from drama. The reactions to this idea have essentially taken one of two sides: “Apatow is right” and “where will this all end?” Will we see Wes Craven demanding a horror category? Quentin Tarantino demanding a smug category?

Though Apatow’s complains of academy bias do hold water, it’s hard to get too invested in his complaints. Firstly, one can’t help but wonder how selfish his motives are. As the producer of comedy films, could he be trying to level the playing field for his own purposes? Secondly, and more importantly, most awards are essentially meaningless. How often is it that the best thing wins the biggest prize? To recycle an extreme example, THE WIRE won exactly zero Emmys throughout its five year run. There are certainly problems in the awards community, but one of them is just how much importance some put into them.

Source: LA Times

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