Magazine article Variety

Gong Show Goes for the Laugh Track

Magazine article Variety

Gong Show Goes for the Laugh Track

Article excerpt

AMONG THE UNIQUE attributes of the Golden Globes - guests seated at round tables, eating and drinking throughout the show - its category for comedy/musical best picture stands out and offers recognition for films that often don't make the cut when Oscar nominations are released.

Last year, "Spy" and "Trainwreck" received Globe nominations in the category, but were not nominated for best picture at the Oscars. This year, "Deadpool," "Bad Moms," "Love & Friendship," "Edge of Seventeen," "Sing Street," "Florence Foster Jenkins," "Everybody Wants Some!!," "Queen of Katwe," and "The Meddler" are among the films with a shot at Golden Globes attention in the comedy/ musical category.

Kate Beckinsale, star of Whit Stillman's "Love & Friendship," says in these tumultuous times, there's more need than ever for a good comedy.

"There's a relief and lightness and connection and laughing at ourselves as a human race that particularly right now, when we're all on our back foot and worried and don't know where we're going, anything to connect us to each other is incredibly valuable," she says. "That's one of the things I loved about our movie: When people are laughing, they're being kind of lifted and that's such an amazing pleasure."

Simon Helberg could find Globe love for his role as long-suffering pianist to a terrible singer in "Florence Foster Jenkins," which seems ripe to score nominations for best comedy/musical as well as for stars Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

"By dividing the category in two - dramas and comedies - it opens the competition to a wider array of films," Helberg says. "'Florence Foster Jenkins' seems to fit right in there. And because of the genius of [director] Stephen Frears, as soon as you're laughing at slapstick, something dramatic happens or there's a dark moment or magical realism."

"The Meddler" writer-director Lorene Scafaria says Globes nominations for her film would be meaningful.

"Certainly for smaller movies and certainly for comedies, it kind of ends up being the only [major awards competition] that celebrates comedies and actually makes room for movies like that," she says. "For any small movie, unless it was a smash at the box office, awards, whether it's the Independent Spirits or the Golden Globes, are kind of the only way the little movies get attention. It ends up being the only other way to quantify the value of a movie. People ask, 'Who cares about awards?,' and they say it's only Hollywood congratulating itself, but there's another reason for it: So movies like this continue to be made or seen or talked about. …

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