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Real Comedies That Could'a Been Oscar Contenders

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | November 25, 2011 | Comments ()


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As I reported yesterday, at a Bridesmaids Q&A, Judd Apatow suggested that the Oscars should add a Best Comedy category to the ceremony, reasoning that comedy is as difficult -- if not moreso -- than a great drama, given the degree of difficulty in engaging viewers, giving them a story they can connect with, and bring down the house with laughter. But as I previously argued, the Academy doesn't need to add a new category, what they need to do is broaden their horizons. Stop falling for the Oscar bait and begin to recognize that comedy is not only as difficult -- or more -- than a great drama, but that they can mean as much, or more, to viewers. Why shouldn't they be appreciated simply because they don't tackle meaty issues like the Holocaust, autism, war or, er, women flashing their legs while singing about murdering their husbands. The Academy can continue to be elitist, but would it kill them to have a sense of humor, too?

Looking over the last 20 years or so, I've curated a list of comedies that I think should've been contenders. I'm not saying that they necessarily should've won; I'm saying they should've at least gotten some consideration, although in some cases, these comedies have lived on much longer than the Best Picture winners (*cough* A Beautiful Mind (*cough*).


Groundhog Day

1994 Best Picture Winner: Schindler's List
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Screenplay (Danny Rubin, Harold Ramis), Best Actor (Bill Murray)


Monty Python's The Life of Brian

1980 Best Picture Winner: Kramer vs. Kramer
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Screenplay (The Python Troupe), Best Actor (Graham Chapman), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Palin)


Blazing Saddles

1975 Best Picture Winner: The Godfather part II
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Director (Mel Brooks), Best Screenplay (Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, Alan Uger, Andrew Bergman), Best Actor (Cleavon Little), Best Supporting Actor (Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman), Best Supporting Actress (Madeline Kahn)


40 Year Old Virgin

2006 Best Picture Winner: Crash
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Screenplay (Judd Apatow, Steve Carell), Best Actor (Steve Carell), Best Actress (Catherine Keener), Best Supporting Actor (Romany Malco)


This Is Spinal Tap

1985 Best Picture Winner: Amadeus
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Director (Rob Reiner), Screenplay (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner)


Barbershop

2003 Best Picture Winner: Chicago
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Screenplay (Mark Brown), Best Actor (Cedric The Entertainer), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Ealy, Anthony Anderson)


Wet Hot American Summer

2002 Best Picture Winner: A Beautiful Mind
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Director (David Wain), Best Screenplay (Michael Showalter, David Wain), Best Actor (Michael Showalter), Best Supporting Actor (Christoper Meloni, Michael Showalter)


Ghostbusters

1985 Best Picture Winner: Amadeus
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Director (Ivan Reitman), Best Screenplay (Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray), Best Actor (Bill Murray), Best Actress (Sigourney Weaver), Best Supporting Actor (Rick Moranis)


Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

1989 Best Picture Winner: Rain Man
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Screenplay (Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning), Best Actor (Michael Caine), Best Supporting Actor (Steve Martin), Best Supporting Actress (Glenne Headly)


Coming to America

1989 Best Picture Winner: Rain Man
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Director (John Landis), Best Screenplay (Eddie Murphy, David Sheffield, Barry Blaustein), Best Actor (Eddie Murphy), Best Supporting Actor (Arsenio Hall)

Borat

2007 Best Picture Winner: The Departed
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Director (Larry Charles), Best Screenplay (Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer) Best Actor (Sacha Baron Cohen)


The Hangover

2010 Best Picture Winner: The Hurt Locker
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Screenplay (John Lucas, Scott Moore), Best Supporting Actor (Zach Galifianakis)


Bridesmaids

2012 Best Picture Winner: TBD
Possible Nominations Besides Best Picture: Best Director (Paul Feig), Best Screenplay (Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo), Best Actress (Kristen Wiig), Best Supporting Actress (Melissa McCarthy) Best Supporting Actor (John Hamm)


Rob Payne writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force and tweets on the Twitter himself @RobOfWar. As this isn't an exhaustive list, he's certain he left some great comedy off here that should be rectified post and haste, and he's certain you'll remind him of it below. (Don't forget to fight cancer here and fight poverty here!)


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