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Point/Counterpoint: Should There Be A Separate Comedic Category For The Academy Awards?

Andrew Payne Andrew Payne
February 13th, 2008 1:00pm EST
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Will Ferrell in Semi-ProThink of your favorite comedies. Whether it be Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Caddyshack, Animal House, or recent films like Dumb and Dumber, Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Borat, they all have something in common. Each film boasts incredible performances, and the Academy has not recognized any of them. How is this fair? Bill Murray, Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller - all the successful comic actors should get their due.

It is equally hard to create a great comedy as it is to make a gripping drama. The Golden Globes have a separate category for comedic performance and comedic/musical films, so why shouldn't the Academy follow suit? What would these comedies be without their performances? Three of the highest grossing films this year happened to be comedies - Superbad, The Simpsons Movie, and Knocked Up. They both were well received critically, and and I happen to love all of them.

But the Academy closes its eyes to films like this for no reason. The Academy gave the Oscar to Jack Nicholson for his performance in As Good As It Gets, but that was more along the lines of a dramedy. The closest thing to a pure comedy that the Academy has recognized in the past 20 years is Big, starring Tom Hanks. All these classic comedies are just ignored. It is pretty clear that for an actor to win an Oscar, they must act in something serious.

A few years back, Sean Penn won best Actor for Mystic River. Regardless of how you feel about the movie, his performance was excellent. His character was all over the emotional spectrum, with a few gut wrenching scenes to boot. However, that year Johnny Depp gave birth to one of the famous characters of the decade in Jack Sparrow. His performance alone helped make that film one of the highest grossing films of that year, and Depp would go on to star in two other Pirates of the Caribbean films. I won't get into the debate on who should have won the Oscar that year, but I think time speaks for itself as far as what performance we still remember today. It is time for actors and comedic actors to get their own category.

Pirates of the Caribbean

While it is safe to say the the Academy Awards are the most serious of all the Award shows, it shouldn't be only the serious that get rewarded. Do they think by creating a separate category for comedies that people wouldn't respect it as much? That is insanity. Any actor would LOVE to win an Oscar. Nearly all of them cry when they win. A best comedic category, while it may not bring tears to those who win, would finally give the recognition to the funnymen in Hollywood that they deserve.

For all the money that comedies bring in for Hollywood ("The Simpsons Movie" was the ninth highest grossing film of 2007), they sure are ignored when it comes down to award time. If the Academy did create this category, don't you think others would follow suit? Critic circles of various cities could do the same, and a domino effect would change award circuits everywhere.

There is no argument against creating a separate category for comedic performances. They are as integral to the industry as dramas, so why only honor one type of performance? It makes absolutely no sense. Comedies have the highest replay value of any type of movie, so why do they get the shaft? It is gut check time for the Academy. It is time once and for all to honor those involved in the films that make us laugh.

Point by Anthony Liccaradello
Starpulse contributing writer

Click on page 2 to read why the Academy should NOT create a separate comedic category.

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