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'Campaign' launched: What comedies will make award-season push?

August 10, 2012|By Glenn Whipp

Even with the film academy’s recent expansion of the best picture category, we’ve all but given up on the idea of Oscar voters ever giving a hat tip to a comedy. If such zeitgeist hits as “The Hangover” and “Bridesmaids” couldn’t make it in, what chance does the potty-mouthed bear in “Ted” have?

Still, the humor-impaired members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. need five titles to slot into their “best motion picture – musical or comedy” category, so campaigns will be assembled with an eye on the academy too.

For the HFPA, Wes Anderson’s wonderful “Moonrise Kingdom” would seem a given, and if Globes voters could nominate “Burlesque,” it’s hard to imagine Tom Hooper’s upcoming adaptation of “Les Miserables” failing to chart.

And, not counting movies with unintentional comic content, there are a couple of strong contenders on the upcoming calendar -- David O. Russell’s dramedy “Silver Linings Playbook” and the latest from Judd Apatow, “This Is 40.” Russell’s film sports caustic humor, hurt and healing -- basically, all the elements that award-season voters require for their support. “This Is 40” finds Apatow continuing a measured shift into more mature fare, hopefully without losing the edge that informs his best work.

The scattershot comedy of “The Campaign” figures to be forgotten. Too American for the HFPA, too slight for academy voters. No, for anyone holding out hope that the academy belatedly discovers its sense of humor, the auteurs -– Russell, Anderson and, yes, Apatow -- remain the best bets. Though we would like to see a tuxedo-clad Ted as a presenter.

Follow Glenn on Twitter: @glennwhipp

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