At first glance, the Oscar 2020 nominations on Monday seem like a populist revolution.
The film with the most nominations, “Joker”, has earned more than $ 1 billion at the global box office, the first film to achieve that feat since “Avatar” in 2009.
Several other Best Film nominees have earned more than $ 100 million (“Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood”, “Ford v Ferrari”, “Parasite” and “Little Women”), or are far from doing so ( “1917”) Two other nominees are popular Netflix titles (“The Irishman” and “Marriage Story”), and the final contender, “Jojo Rabbit,” has raised only $ 30 million less than Taylor Swift’s “Cats.” Power to the people!
Or is that it? Because there is still something that average people love that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, viewed with utter contempt, believes it is as ingenious as Guy Fieri’s donkey sauce: comedy.
Just look at the most notable Oscar snub on Monday and you’ll see a funny unifying factor: Eddie Murphy in “Dolemite Is My Name”, Adam Sandler in “Uncut Gems” and Awkwafina in “The Farewell”. None of those praised performances was nominated. That is strange, because they all come from other high praise.
Sandler was named best actor by the National Board of Review, Murphy was nominated for a Golden Globe and won several awards from groups of critics, and Awkwafina won the best actress in a comedy at the Golden Globes. But Oh my God Charlize Theron looks a lot like Megyn Kelly!
The Oscars, which favor impersonations, boogers and Meryl Streep, is a Sahara for humor.
For God’s sake, two of the funniest Best Movie nominees this year are “Little Women,” which includes a child death, and “Jojo Rabbit,” which is about the Nazis. Slightly silly “Once upon a time in … Hollywood” presents a massacre and the Manson family. The two laughing films of 2019, “Booksmart” and “Knives Out,” were smart and universally acclaimed, but they didn’t have a single nonconformist Hitler or a real-life serial killer. Maybe next year, guys!
But probably not. Are the guys who cheat us creative when they say they think “Dying is easy; Is comedy difficult? I think so. When the time comes to decide which is the “best”, presumed voters almost always conclude that funny artists are more suitable for Las Vegas. Hell, in the minds of the most capricious members, that could include working on the Strip. Sure, people love them, but people also love Doritos and Dr. Pimple Popper. Oscar says: You can’t trust people.
For my money, only two widely comic performances have crouched under the Oscar velvet rope in recent years: Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” and Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids.” But many more have been overlooked in favor of prostheses, wigs and screams. Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip,” Hugh Grant in “Paddington 2,” Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids,” to name a few.
It is common practice during the January crisis that viewers catch up with the Oscar nominees that were lost over the past year. Go for it. There are many films and worthy nominated actors in the field. But don’t skip “Uncut Gems,” “Dolemite is my name” and the sublime “The Farewell.” You will see that laughter is in the Oscars.