Prominent producer/writer/director Judd Apatow was recorded while speaking at some sort of L.A. Times sponsored press event recently, and he had some interesting comments about The Academy and how he thinks comedies are treated unfairly at the Oscars. You can head over to 24 Frames to watch the whole thing, or just read below and I’ll give you the gist of what was said.
Apatow is of the opinion that there should be a new Oscar category created for “Best Comedy,” much like an Oscar for “Best Animated Film” was created in 2001. His reasoning: “Why not?” Okay, that isn’t his entire reasoning. He goes on to say that because “a comedy has only won Best Picture 5 times in a zillion years” he doesn’t think it would be “screwing up Schindler’s List for Hangover to have its own category.”
And he goes even further to say that once a new Comedy category was created the Academy could “get rid of the Key Grip category,” a comment that elicits some boos from a tech-appreciative crowd gathered around the interview area. In response to the booing Apatow explains, “I love the key grips, they do a fantastic job, but in hour four I would rather see Zach Galifianakis show up rather than my friend Curtis.”
You have to admit that the man has a point. Two of the main problems people cite with the Oscars every year are that they traditionally only nominate serious art films that the bulk of the TV-watching public aren’t very familiar with, and that the ceremony always goes on far longer than people’s attentions will last. If you were to cut out a lot of the tech categories, which only hardcore film aficionados are interested in, and create a new category for comedies, which are very popular with mainstream audiences, you could theoretically create some new interest in an awards show that has been having trouble maintaining relevance. On the other hand, Apatow’s comments can be seen as self-serving, because he will likely have a hand in most of the pictures that would be getting nominated for this new award every year.
What do you think? Would the Oscars be better off if they took some time to appreciate the year’s funniest films? And do you agree with Apatow when he says things like, “I think that Lawrence of Arabia was easy to make, because there were no laughs”?