When the nominations for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual
open bar awards gala, the Golden Globes, were announced Thursday morning, something funny happened in the Best Picture – Comedy or Musical category. Or, wait: nothing funny happened. While there are a few laughs in the category, the five films nominated — “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” — are decidedly dark.
Amid all the “it’s an honor to be nominated” statements yesterday, there were some dissenting voices asking where, exactly, the funny had gone. It’s not just Internet pundits, either. It would be easy to dismiss the complaints of comedic filmmakers as sour grapes in the aftermath of being shunned by the nominating committee if they didn’t have such a valid point.
Take, for example, Simon Pegg, a favorite of director Edgar Wright’s and the star of this year’s (very funny) “The World’s End.” “How come there are no musicals or comedies in the musical or comedy category of the Golden Globes?” he tweeted. Judd Apatow, who produced the upcoming “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” which was not nominated though it was eligible, joined in as well. (Apatow did score a nomination in the television category for “Girls,” the HBO series he produces.) In a string of tweets, Apatow criticized the HFPA’s picks, while joking around a bit too:
“Golden Globes needs a dramedy category. How about a ‘musical or so funny I shit my kilt’ category? Is it a comedy if you don’t shart?” he tweeted. “How about ‘best musical or movie that thinks the comedy category would be easier to win than the drama category because of ’12 Years A Slave’?”
“I think GG should change the category to best musical or comedy which isn’t actually that funny at all but is just an awesome movie,” he continued.
Apatow may be right: the nominees are all awesome movies. Knee-slappers? not so much. We took a gander at the five nominated flicks with an eye for the funny and broke down for you, the comedy-seeking, awards-loving movie connoisseur that you are, just how much humor you can expect in each of the HFPA’s picks.
The Movie: “American Hustle”
The Gist: In director David O. Russell’s latest effort, a former stripper (Amy Adams) teams up with the con-artist beneath the most elaborate combover spotted in this universe (Christian Bale) to work with a hyperactive FBI agent with Timberlake curls (Bradley Cooper) to bust politicians taking bribes (Jeremy Renner). Somewhere along the line, a boozy, fire-starting housewife with repeated microwave issues (Jennifer Lawrence) involves herself in the action to a not-so-happy ending.
LOLs on a Scale of 1 to 10: That combover is pretty funny, but it’s mostly sad-funny. He’s really trying. 3.
The Movie: “Her”
The Gist: Theodore Twombley (Joaquin Phoenix) has been left by his wife (Rooney Mara) and decides to download an operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) that will adapt to his moods and anticipate his needs. Eventually, he needs a girlfriend. The need is filled. The guy essentially dates his computer.
LOLs on a Scale of 1 to 10: See “American Hustle” for definition of sad-funny, but with an emphasis on the sad. So sad! No rating, because we’re told negative numbers aren’t allowed on this list.
The Movie: “Inside Llewyn Davis”
The Gist: The mayor of Sad Bastard Island, who masquerades as a perpetually wandering folk musician (Oscar Isaac) rambles about, sometimes carrying a cat and usually carrying a guitar, being a bummer and having nothing go right for him. He meets John Goodman. That doesn’t go so well either.
LOLs on a Scale of 1 to 10: There’s maybe one part with the cat that’s funny? You might smile when Justin Timberlake sings song that is actual nonsense? All in all, it’s pretty bleak. The Coen Brothers don’t do funny-ha-ha so much as funny-oh-god-why-am-I-crying. 1
The Movie: “Nebraska”
The Gist: An aging midwestern man (Bruce Dern) is convinced he’s won a million dollar sweepstakes, which, it’s clear from the beginning, is a scam to sell magazine subscriptions. His adult son (Will Forte, in a rare dramatic role) comes along on a road trip with him to claim that the bogus
LOLs on a Scale of 1 to 10: As if this movie being in black and white wasn’t a red (grayscale) flag to begin with, you want to laugh at an old man? You’re a monster. .5
The Movie: “The Wolf of Wall Street”
The Gist: A stockbroker (Leonardo DiCaprio) works his way up from cold-calling to the top of the food chain, making a lot of money and also doing cocaine out of strippers’ butts. There are consequences, but also a lot of lobster.
LOLs on a Scale of 1 to 10: Okay, yes, you’ve got us here: we laughed. Multiple times. Heartily. But we immediately felt bad about it afterward. There’s near-death by deli meat, physical violence and the malicious hurling of crustaceans at Kyle Chandler. These aren’t good people, and we feel guilty for laughing. But then again, there’s a monkey in roller skates in this thing. Points off for setting a bad example. 4.