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Funny what's tagged as comedy

December 14, 2007|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

I laughed, I cried -- but is it a comedy?

Let's ask the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. The Golden Globe nominees in various "comedy or musical" categories suggest that comedy is the serious theme explored via satire or the personal story that features the cutting edge of self-regard.

Or, alternatively, movies the group just wanted to praise but had to admit weren't as important as, say, "Atonement."

So the Hollywood Foreign Press calls them comedies, bear-hugging "Charlie Wilson's War" (politics) "Juno" (pregnant teen), "The Savages" (dying parent), "Lars and the Real Girl" (guy and doll), and "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (biopic parody) in some manner of major nomination.

"It's just such a unique, special film," said Ryan Gosling of "Lars," for which he earned a nomination for best performance by an actor in a motion picture comedy or musical.

" . . . It reminded me of 'Harvey' or 'Being There,' " he said of the film, "one of those films that there's not really a genre. They kind of appear and then there's nothing like them for a long time and then they appear again."

"For me, ['Juno'] is true to life, and in life there is drama and there is comedy," said Jason Reitman, who directed the film from a script by Diablo Cody, who received a nomination for her screenplay about a 16-year-old girl (nominee Ellen Page) and her unplanned pregnancy.

"The most dramatic moments in my life have also had humor," Reitman said. "One can't exist without the other." He mentioned "American Beauty" and "The Graduate" before saying: "I don't know how you classify these films. It's a nice crutch for us comedy [filmmakers] because otherwise we wouldn't get recognized. But it's hard to really get into the fairness of awards."


Times staff writer Robert W. Welkos contributed to this story.

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