As readers here know, every year I post my long article shredding the Golden Globes as a joke and a borderline scam. (I'll likely post it again this year, but for those who can't wait, you can read it here.)
And now comes the news that the "Hollywood Foreign Press Association" (a joke of an organization, since it's far different than most people think, see the link above...) has classified the movie The Martian to be...a comedy!!
I've read a lot of comments on social media expressing what an embarrassment this is for the HFPA. The reality is that the group is already a joke, so it's near-impossible to embarrass them.
Given their past history (again, see above...), I wouldn't put it past them to have accepted a bit of under-the-table gratuity to move the film to the category which is "easier" because there are fewer competitors. Is it fair to wonder this? It may not be true, but I definitely think it's fair giving the long history of actual evidence that the organization can be bribed.
In this article here in the Los Angeles Times, writer/director Judd Apatow (who will be competing in the comedy category with Trainwrecked) said previous to this announcement when jockeying started, "Trying to dominate the comedy category when you are really a drama afraid of dramatic competition is a punk move." Comedy Writer/director Paul Feig (Spy and director of Bridesmaids) sent out a Tweet -- "A comedy's a film whose #1 goal is to make people laugh. If that wasn't the filmmakers' top goal, it's not a comedy."
It's a solid point. And the #1 goal of The Martian wasn't to make people laugh. I'm not sure that it was one of its top five goals.
The movie did have some laughs, but so do most movies, often to break the tension, often to break the most tension. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? had some laughs. Note: it was not a comedy.
The L.A. Times article mentioned that the film Trumbo was trying to get classified as a comedy, as well, but failed. That's as it should be. It's actually very funny in many parts, but in no way is it a comedy. Not classifying it as a comedy, though, should not be a feather in the cap of the HFPA. A) You don't get bonus points for doing the sane, rational thing, and B) I'm going to just presume that Trumbo, being a low-budget film, didn't have enough money in their budget to offer a big enough bribe.
To be clear, I don't care who wins the Golden Globes or gets nominated. I won't watch the awards again, as I haven't for many years. It's a joke and a borderline scam. So, whatever category the HFPA puts a movie in is between them and their faux-god. I only write about it here for two reasons.
First, I actually care about the film industry and about comedy, having worked in the fields for a long time, and how it's perceived matters to me.
And second, I think it's important to use any opportunity let people know what a joke and borderline scam the "Hollywood Foreign Press Association" is, and every time they give more ammunition -- which they tend to, the same way you and I breathe -- it is an opportunity worth taking.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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