We don't write off the musical/comedy races at the Golden Globes, per se, but we're rarely excited about them either. Those are the categories that have nominated "Patch Adams," "Burlesque," and "The Tourist," after all. But even when the nominees aren't quite so dubious, they're usually not the main event; we usually find our top Oscar contenders competing as dramas. Not so this year, when the musical/comedy race is arguably even more crowded than drama. How did that happen?
Sometimes studios try to take advantage of the less crowded category by passing off borderline dramatic films as laffers, and sometimes those placements pay off in nominations ("Hyde Park on Hudson," "My Week with Marilyn") or wins ("The Kids Are All Right"), so if anyone so much as cracks a smile in your movie, the musical/comedy field might be worth a shot. (That, alas, rules out "12 Years a Slave.")
Strategically, a serious Academy Award contender is better off competing as a drama. Over the past 20 years, 10 Best Drama Pictures at the Globes repeated on Oscar night, but several winners of Best Musical/Comedy Picture nonetheless ended up prevailing with academy members: "The Artist," "Chicago" and "Shakespeare in Love."
This year there seems to be an unprecedented glut of these dramedies clogging up the musical/comedy categories, so much that some of them might have been better off as dramas, where there's suddenly a lot of available real estate.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" is about financial-sector sociopaths, kind of like "Goodfellas" crossed with "Wall Street" – both dramas at the Globes – but their behavior is so off-the-wall it tips over into the absurd. I think it's at least as disturbing as it is funny, but then again, Leonardo DiCaprio rolls around high on Quaaludes. Comedy!
"American Hustle" is about a real-life, high-stakes government operation, kind of like "Argo," which won Best Drama Picture last year. "Argo" also had a lot of humor in it, but it had more geopolitical import than "Hustle's" New York/New Jersey-based con game. Also, Bradley Cooper's perm and Christian Bale's comb-over. Comedy!
On top of those you've got the Coen brothers' melancholic folk musical "Inside Llewyn Davis," Spike Jonze's off-beat cyber-romance "Her," and Alexander Payne's quirky "Nebraska." Most of those placements are at least justifiable – except maybe "August," which really is a stretch; the weird part isn't that any one of those films is competing as a comedy, but that all of them are.
Earlier I had wondered if Sony Pictures Classics made a strategic mistake pushing "Blue Jasmine" as a drama. I think it's a lot funnier than "Hustle," "Wolf," or "August," but now maybe the Woody Allen film can kick back, relax a bit, and enjoy its extra leg room now that a lot of the heavy hitters are battling each other elsewhere.
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Read more about entry and rules here. Make your initial Oscar predictions now. Change them later as often as you wish up until Oscar Day. Below, meet our past winners of recent award prediction contests.
Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.