The Golden Globes are pretty much awards season’s most pointless stop. They’re voted on by a mysterious, tiny group of journalists with shady credentials, and they have literally no bearing on the Oscar race whatsoever. They are a fun ceremony, however, and they can also sometimes clue us into what to expect from films that have yet to be seen. Case in point, we’ve now learned whether director David O. Russell’s American Hustle follow-up Joy will be competing as a comedy or a drama, giving us an inkling as to what kind of David O. Russell movie we may be in for.
Per the LA Times, Joy has been submitted for Golden Globes consideration in the Best Comedy category, as has Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure The Martian, which has some folks pretty upset. But first let’s talk about Joy. The movie originated with a script by Bridesmaids co-writer Annie Mumalo as a biopic of Joy Mangano, the woman who invented the Miracle Mop. When Russell signed on, however, he put his signature spin on the material and crafted a half-fiction story inspired by strong women in his life, resulting in…well we don’t know what just yet, but Jennifer Lawrence does some intense things and shoots a shotgun so, yeah, it’s a David O. Russell movie.
It should be noted that Russell’s last two films, American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, also competed in the Best Comedy or Musical category at the Globes so while Joy may qualify as such, it’ll no doubt carry some hefty dramatic weight as well. However, we now know that the film is not a straight drama, as some early reports suggested, and we also know that the film’s post-production is finally complete, which means it’ll be ready in time to screen for critics groups as the first awards start to be handed out at the beginning of December.
As for The Martian, well, I suppose one could consider it a comedy if they really wanted to. It’s certainly a funny movie, with a whip smart script by The Cabin in the Woods director/co-writer Drew Goddard and a winning performance by Matt Damon, but it does feel a bit like cheating here—a film this big and this different from all the other Best Comedy or Musical nominees feels like it has a much better shot at winning, plus it gets the attention without being lost in the Best Drama shuffle. If I were Trainwreck or Spy I wouldn’t be incredibly pleased. Indeed, the LA Times notes that it only won category placement in Best Comedy by a single vote, while Trumbo‘s submission for Best Comedy was denied—that movie will be competing as Best Drama.
I think Spy director Paul Feig actually put it best when explaining when a film should and shouldn’t qualify as a “Best Comedy” candidate:
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. https://t.co/ikuWK14FJh
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) November 13, 2015
The 2016 Golden Globes will be hosted by Ricky Gervais and broadcast live on January 10th.