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Golden Globe Musical or Comedy: a thin field or just a mysterious one?

Last week was a good one for Gold Derby. Not only did Ryan Murphy elevate their brand status by ____ them to death with an Oscar on American Horror Story but their story that David O. Russell's Joy would go Drama at the Golden Globes got a lot of "whoa, really?" press. I'm sure it's true-ish now but people are so exciteable about any "news" that I'm always finding myself in the position of splash of cold water realism. Truth: there are few certainties this early as it's only October and there's lots of wiggle room still for campaigns and precursor ponderings and such. Films are still entering (The Big Short) and exiting (I Saw The Light) the 2015 calendar and some switcheroos of fate/precursors/campaigning happen at all junctures on the way to Oscar: remember when My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Gangs of New York were suddenly Original Screenplays (oy); remember when Oscar decided abruptly that all the precursors were wrong and Kate Winslet was a leading lady in The Reader (they were right of course but it was super gross how all the precursors and media were all "Yay, category fraud!!!"); or when Whiplash was determined to be Adapted too late for its FYCs to urge voters to vote that way.

So let's assume that Joy is out of the Golden Globe Musical or Comedy and let's assume The Martian is in (though obviously things could change on either front). And after shedding whatever tears must be shed that the Coen Bros Hail, Caesar! is not opening in time to own this category, we move on.

Is the field thin or just mysterious to our eyes in October? Let's take a look after the jump...

• Youth We all know that the categorizations are fluid at the Globes and while people have been earmarking this as a drama, it might do Fox Searchlight some good to redirect attention and pitch it another way. Youth does have a certain level of eyebrow raised amusement at its own surrealism and absurdity  -- and people always think old horny men are hilarious. You could consider it a satire. At the very least it's a dramedy. Plus it ends with a musical number. My guess is it would be a slam dunk Best Picture nominee if it's in the Musical/Comedy category and it will have a much tougher time (though it could theoretically make it) over in drama. 

The Martian - It's light tone and "science the shit out of this" joking could even prevail in this category without a big ticket musical in the way! 
Grandma - Obviously a comedy and a good one, too. But would the Globes embrace something this "indie small" that isn't British? When they pick a tiny film no one is expecting in Best Picture it's usually British.
I'll See You In My Dreams -It would be an atypically low key choice for them but stranger things have happened in their strangest category
Trainwreck - It's always tough to know if the Globes will feel like laughing or if they'll just want dramedies. If they feel like laughing, they'll totally embrace one of the year's most talked about comedies especially since Amy Schumer has had a huge year.
Cinderella - it feels like a musical sometimes, right? If they chose this film it would likely shock everyone for two seconds until people were all like 'oh, yeah. duh. Sure.'
Spy - Though it was a box office hit, it was so funny we always expect it to get bigger than it did. Might the Globes remind people of how funny it was with a Best Picture nomination in this category

Ricki and The Flash - while it's box office was minimal and critics were lukewarm, the Globes love Streep even more than the Oscars do and it has the added benefit of being chalk full of musical numbers, too. 
Pitch Perfect 2 - No, no one thinks it's "good filmmaking" but it is a musical
The Last Five Years - an actual musical! Not that anyone remembers that it actually came out this year. Still it might be a pleasant surprise if, say, Anna Kendrick were given a shout out as Best Actress in a Musical.
Diary of a Teenage Girl - This is 100/1 odds at Gold Derby's chart. Ha ha. But it's more likely than that. It's prestige enough in its countenance. It's sometimes funny. It's well loved by those who've actually seen it and the Globes have a very small voting body so you only have to convince a few handfuls of people to really love you more than they love the others. 

Other 2015 Comedies: Learning to Drive, Dope, Danny Collins, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Mistress America, What We Do in the Shadows, Tangerine, Magic Mike XXL, Hot Pursuit, Sleeping With Other People 

The Big Short - Some say this financial crisis comedy with an all star male cast went over really well at a recent LA screening but that's one screening. We'll know more when it has its official premiere at AFI in November. 
• Burnt - a lot of pundits seem hot on the Best Pic Comedy chances of this Bradley Cooper as chef movie. Which is a little weird as buzz was not at all strong on early screenings when it was called Adam Jones (his character's name)
Lady in the Van - what we were saying earlier about the Globes loving small British comedies...  
• Trumbo -Is Hollywood's most shameful hour funny now? Hmmm.
• Sisters - The Globes do kinda owe Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, the titular characters, for restoring their shine these past years via great hosting.
Our Brand is Crisis - Response seems to be mixed but perhaps a serious theme coupled with its natural humor and funnywoman Sandra Bullock as lead will be more than enough?


Actress Comedy/Musical 

  • McCarthy (Spy)
  • Schumer (Trainwreck)
  • Smith (The Lady in the Van)
  • Streep (Ricki & The Flash)
  • Tomlin (Grandma)

    alternates: Blythe Danner, Sandra Bullock, or Bel Powley

Actor Comedy/Musical

  • Carell (The Big Short)
  • Cooper (Burnt)
  • Damon (The Martian)
  • Hader (Trainwreck)
  • Murray (Rock the Kasbah)

    alternates: Bryan Cranston, Channing Tatum, or Joaquin Phoenix

Picture, Comedy/Musical

  • The Big Short
  • Grandma
  • The Martian
  • Spy
  • Trainwreck

    alternates: Cinderella, The Lady in the Van, or Our Brand is Crisis 


Musical or Comedy (Our Imaginary Lineup)
Grandma, I'll See You In My Dreams, The Martian, Spy, Tangerine
Actress, Comedy (Our Imaginary Lineup):
Danner (I'll See You...), Kendrick (Last Five Years), McCarthy (Spy), Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Streep (Ricki & The Flash), Tomlin (Grandma), and the ladies from Tangerine (Tangerine). Shit, that's 8 women.
Actor, Comedy (Our Imaginary Lineup):
Caine (Youth), Damon (The Martian), Hader (Trainwreck), Keitel (Youth), Tatum (Magic Mike XXL)
Supporting Actress Comedy (Our Imaginary Lineup)
Byrne (Spy), Fonda (Youth), Harden (Grandma), Weisz (Youth), and Wiig (Diary...)
Supporting Actor Comedy (Our Imaginary Lineup):
Ejiofor (Martian), Law (Spy), Ransone (Tangerine), Starr (I'll See You...), and Statham (Spy)



What are you expecting from the Globes this year? Or perhaps you're hoping for WTF nominations like In Bruges (highly deserving but very unexpected) or The Tourist (but everyone hates it! and it's not a comedy).

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Reader Comments (31)

The Martian getting in here would be a gross category no way it's a comedy, it's a drama with funny scenes.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersati

Why wouldn't Straight Outta Compton go here? I'd honestly expect it to take three of the five Mus/Com actor nominations right now and, even if Youth goes comedy, it'll still take two slots.
Also: Ransone, not Ransome.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Y'all don't be forgetting Alex Skarsgard in Teenage Girl. I thought he was equal to Powley, and maybe even better than Wiig (and I adore Kristen Wiig!) My feelings watching that movie evolved based on how much sympathy I was able to muster for him, and I think his performance was key in allowing different measures of sympathy before it evaporates.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Compton is classified as a Drama for Globe consideration. Musical biopics usually default to the Comedy or Musical section. But like Dancer in the Dark, Straight Outta Compton's tone and thematic material just screams drama despite all the musical sequences.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Is The Lobster opening in time to be considered for this? It's too outre for most awards, but Colin Farrell is fantastic, has been getting great reviews and he's had love from HFPA before for a pretty out-there comedy. I wouldn't rule out a nomination as best comedy actor.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

The Lobster is not opening stateside this year. Hopefully it'll leak online and I'll experience it with the rest of the world. It isn't like I ever saw Lanthimos movie theatrically.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

The Tangerine ladies are Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodreguiz. No wonder they don't have a shot in hell.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersummer

I'd be inclined to think Bullock will squeeze into their Actress list, though your Actress list makes sense. I kind of wish Danner would make that cut, but I doubt that'll happen.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

With all the lamenting of the lack of comedy film candidates, it's actually really exciting to see a diverse range of potential nominees for lead actress. Especially as they've been downplaying their starf-cking lately, even recognizing Tangerine doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility. Even if they go for more populist choices like Spy or Trainwreck, can we really complain considering some of their past dubious choices?

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Are we that desperate and so desensitized to genre category fraud that we assume The Martian to be a comedy??? Oh my. Just because it's "light" doesn't mean in the slightest that it's a comedy.

Sasha Stone even suggested recently that Steve Jobs should be in the running for the Comedy Golden globe.....ummmm...

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Aaron: agreed. The Globes always seem to struggle to fill the BP lineup in Comedy/Musical.

I also don't see how Burnt can be categorized as a comedy, either. Cooper's eerily similar TV show, Kitchen Confidential, now that was a comedy.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJames

volvagia -- yeah, i'm expecting STRAIGHT OUTTA to compete in Drama but musical dramas are hard to predict with the Globes. sometimes they go drama sometimes musical comedy.

October 18, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The aspect I love the most about this division that the Globes make consists on the opportunity to recognize tremendous comedic genius that we all know won't be recognized by the Oscars. Examples from past years (that I love to remember) are Julia Louis-Dreyfus for 'Enough Said', Greta Gerwig for 'Frances Ha' and Amy Adams for 'Enchanted'. This year, I'll be delighted if Amy Schumer gets a Golden Globe nomination for 'Trainwreck', there is something terribly sexy, transparent, natural and downright hilarious about her performance, and everything has to do with the tremendous amount of comedic skill that she invests in the character.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuigi De Angelis

I still think it's so strange considering she's an Oscar nominee, Emmy winner, and major movie star that Melissa McCarthy who almost exclusively stars in comedies, hasn't become a Golden Globe nominee yet. You'd think between Mike & Molly, Bridesmaids, The Heat, and St. Vincent it would have happened at least once. Perhaps Spy is the trick, or perhaps they just don't like her?

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Not even an Actress nod for Bullock? Her film would have to be a huge flop. I'd be very surpised.

The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck and Our Brand is Crisis seem most likely for Picture. Burnt or The Big Short probably take the last slot. The three ladies from those plus Meryl and then Tomlin is probably ahead of Smith. Could Billy Bob be a player in Actor? Carell, Cooper, Damon, maybe Bale. Caine would be smart to go for this. What about Shameik Moore in Dope?

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I wish the Globes stopped pairing musicals with comedies. How many genuine musicals actually open each year? And why are musicals automatically considered comedic, or lumped together with comedies? It ain't 1964 anymore, time for some category changes!

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

For male leads in "musicals", how about Don Cheadle as Miles Davis, or Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker?

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteradri

"The Martian" is not a comedy ( and by the way isn't that a terrible title)

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I would not be totally surprised if they nominated Entourage ias Comedy film. It has a Golden Globes award as it's climax and I think enough HFPA may be self obsessed enough to nominate it.

I don't think The Martian is a comedy. If any film with witty lines and some geek/management clash is a comedy, then The Social Network was more of a comedy than The Martian and no-one discussed what category it would be.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVaus

Vaus, they didn't nominate anyone from the Sex and the City film nor did they nominate the film and they love that show more than Entourage plus it was a huge hit, which Entourage wasn't. I suspect we won't be having to talk about it.

I think at least Trainwreck will win Best Picture or Amy Schumer will win Best Actress. They gave the award to The Hangover that one year, remember? And They'd love to see a Schumer speech.

These categories do seem.... thin. At least in terms on what could/will be nominated. Like you said, would be great to see Tangerine nominated, and Anna Kendrick for The Last Five Years. Hell, even Anne Hathaway for One Song. And even though it's best parts are drama, don't we all think Inside Out would've won (ala Toy Story 2) if they hadn't changed their stupid rules years ago?

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Yeah these categories are VERY thin this year. Bland even.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph W

Nat: I also mentioned that you misspelled the last name of the actor who plays Chester in Tangerine. It's Ransone, not Ransome.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Yes, I was going to say the exact same thing Glenn did -- this is the group that gave Best Comedy to The Hangover, which was lewd, raucous, and obscene (but A FUNNY MOVIE). I'll never forget Reese Witherspoon's genuine look of surprise and Nora Ephron tearing up her acceptance speech.

October 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjakey

Nominating Martian in the "comedy" category -- or does all that disco music mean they think it's a musical? -- is massive category fraud and proves yet again that the Golden Globes folks have zero - zero- integrity. My fervent wish is that Tangerine will be nominated in Picture/Actress/Supporting Actress/Supporting Actor/Director/Screenplay. I don't think a couple of those are really that far-fetched. It's getting more attention than expected, and I think it will do very well in the Indie Spirits which will raise its profile some more. Here's hoping. And btw Spy and Trainwreck are two of the worst movies of the year. Here's hoping their possible nominations are taken by Tangerine!

October 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Oh yeah, and one more thing, Is it too much of a non-starter to hope for Regina Case in The Second Mother for Best Actress in a Comedy? Foreign actresses have slipped in before.

October 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Wait, The Martian? A comedy? Whaaat??

Is this a real thing that the studio/HFPA has announced? Or just speculation? I second all the comments about how that's gross. The Martian is the definition of a mainstream, uplifting, entertaining Hollywood drama. It just happens to have made the rather savvy decision to go light in tone and use lots of disco and Abba to cut the (pre)tension.

Also, as enjoyable as it was at times, I found the justification of the comedic conceits kind of forced and contrived... Like, really? She's an actual NASA commander, and that's ALL the music that she (or anyone) had on her laptop?

October 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAdam K

I really hope they consider "The Last Five Years" for Best Picture (Musical/Comedy), Actress (Anna Kendrick) and Actor (Jeremy Jordan). LOVED that film, and perhaps with it being available all year now, they might've had a chance to have seen it already at home?

October 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P

Am I the only one praying for "Hail Caesar!" to be in the awards race? If it manages to get a public showing in 2015 I could well see Coen's latest to be in the run for a Golden Globe in the Comedy category, to say the least....

October 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEd

3rtful and others - If the Ana Maria Bahiana blog is right (One HFPA voter), since last year, the HFPA will reject "musical" in the comedy categories. No more musicals as picks for comedy categories.

George P - "The Last 5 Years" competed last year at the GG (At least from the Hollywood Reporter)

Also, with "The Martian", "The Walk" is confirmed as comedy for the Globes. So no Anna Kendrick this year.

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Yeah I was gonna say to all those mentioning Straight Outta Compton... don't y'all remember that they relegated Get On Up to the drama category and we figured it was the end of the music biopic in the comedy/musical category.

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Cinderella getting nominated here wouldn't suprise me in the slightest. They nominated Alice in Wonderland 5 years ago in this very category with many raised eyebrows. I wouldn't count out Cate Blanchett getting nominated for her stepmother either in the same way Johnny Depp was nominated for his Hatter.

Cinderella might end up as the belle of the Comedy/Musical ball because of 3 important circumstances:

1. Straight Outta Compton is being considered in the Drama category.
2. Sunshine on Leith has no US release date as of yet
3. I saw the Light and Hail Ceaser have been moved to next year

November 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJez

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