The nominations for the Drunk Oscars (aka the Golden Globes) were announced this morning, and not surprisingly, the latest remake of A Star Is Born is up for five of those shiny metal balls. But oddly, even though the Globes has a set of categories specifically dedicated to musicals and comedies, A Star Is Born is not in them, instead competing in the drama categories. So if it wasn't a musical, why has the soundtrack been playing on everyone's devices 24/7 since October, driving most of us to the brink of madness?
Did none of those songs mean anything to the Globes? "Shallow"? "Always Remember Us This Way"? The one where Bradley Cooper mumbles incoherently? The other one where Bradley Cooper mumbles incoherently? Actually, it turns out that Warner Bros. purposefully submitted A Star Is Born as a drama. Which in some respects is totally fair. After all, unless you left halfway through to sneak into Venom, it is indeed a pretty damn dramatic movie.
But on the other hand, part of the reason audiences have responded to the film is its modern take on the Hollywood musical. It's part of a long cinematic lineage. Both the 1954 and 1976 versions of A Star Is Born were musicals. as well They also both won Golden Globes in the "Musical or Comedy" category. The '54 version won for its two leads, and the '76 version won five awards, including Best Picture. Both had similar bummer endings to the Lady Gaga version.
This is likely because the studio believes A Star Is Born has the potential to win in the drama categories and thus become an Oscar frontrunner. But that's kind of the problem. Lately, the musical and comedy categories have become a dumping ground for movies which studios think don't have much of a chance otherwise. That's where the decidedly not hilarious The Martian wound up, as did Get Out.
Here we have the opposite problem. While A Star Is Born's success should be elevating the musical genre, instead it's pivoting away from that classification. The musical/somedy categories were created in 1951 "so that no genre would be slighted," but instead it's turned into a sub-competition for any movie outside the narrow definition of what a "Best Picture" should be. And by labeling it "Musical or Comedy," they inadvertently slight those genres, which is the exact opposite of what the Globes set out to do. Why not just combine the two categories and have ten nominees? Or scrap the awards altogether and just air 90 minutes of Tommy Lee Jones scowling? That would be fine too.
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