Nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards have come and gone, and, as expected, comedies were underrepresented. This normally wouldn't come as a particular surprise, but the reason why it's more jarring this specific year is because the number of Best Picture nominations doubled. Now, you can nominate films that everybody knows are never going to win. If you have The Blind Side or District 9 in your office pool, why not just throw your money in the trash can? (Please don't actually do that; it's illegal.)
But seriously, the most glaring omission this year is for (500) Days of Summer. Now, it was predicted that the film wouldn't get nominees for major categories, but that it would at least get nominated and probably win for Best Original Screenplay. It left with nothing. Not even a bone for the hipsters. How ironic is it that Hollywood has always been labeled as "liberal" yet it won't give a movie that caters to young adults, hippies, and hipsters a chance. Not only that, but it's also very critically-acclaimed, and it has won several screenplay awards already (Hollywood Film Festival Award, Satellite Award, and Southeastern Film Critics Association award).
The Academy Awards has to fix this problem. Comedies barely ever win for Best Picture, and when they do, they're hardly considered for the comedy aspect of it. American Beauty won the Academy Award more than a decade ago and is highly critically-acclaimed. It has one of the deepest and most original screenplays ever written for a film. But people don't remember how funny the movie is.
You will never see Anchorman, Role Models, 40 Year-Old Virgin, or Office Space get nominated for any major categories. Even Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (which should win an Oscar for Greatest Movie Title of All-time) was critically acclaimed and snubbed.
Here's what the Academy Awards has to do: make a new category. It's that simple. You would think that more comedies would be nominated since they upped their Best Picture nominations to ten, but apparently not. The new category doesn't necessarily have to be Best Comedy Film. Just make a category called Funniest Film. It takes off the pressure of having an award being taken so seriously, so the snotty traditionalists that don't like the idea of Ron Burgundy being put in the same category as Oskar Schindler, that's fine (and completely appropriate, by the way). This award doesn't have to be taken as seriously.
Also, having it be called "Funniest Film" as opposed to "Best Comedy" gives straight-up comedies a fair chance, while wannabe "Hollywood" comedy-dramas like Up in the Air can still be nominated for Best Picture. Have a group of comedians be the voters of this award, and have them be comedians of different diversities of humor. Movies like Black Dynamite and Zombieland (check back in the next day or two for a review of the new Zombieland DVD release) don't necessarily have to be taken as seriously as dramas, but it's just not fair that they go completely unrecognized. Films like these are still critically-acclaimed, enjoyable, hilarious, satirical, and sometimes, pure entertainment. The Academy needs to start finding more value on these attributes.
P.S. Seriously, not one nomination for (500) Days of Summer? Come on.
P.P.S. Thank you for the Up nomination. That was very nice of you.
What did you think of this idea for a new category? You can post your opinions in the comments box below or write an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you like this article, you should click on that "subscribe" button on top to receive e-mail notifications when new articles are up.