Do Comedies Win Oscars?

25 Feb

By: Open Book

There is nothing like a good comedy to help you forget about your troubles. It’s surprising how few comedies have won an Oscar for Best Picture in the last decade. In an effort to see what comedies have actually won an Oscar, required a little bit of digging.

Here we go!!

Academy Award Winning: Best Picture Comedies [1)

1999American Beauty

1998Shakespeare In Love

1994Forest Gump

1989Driving Miss Daisy

1977Annie Hall

1975One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

1973The Sting

1964My Fair Lady

1963Tom Jones

1960The Apartment


1957Around The World In Eighty Days

What is fascinating from this research? Over the last decade there’s not been one comedy to win an Oscar since 1999.[2] It seems ever since the recession fewer comedies are being produced in Hollywood.  Why is that?  Do people see fewer comedies when times are hard?  What are your favorite comedic films over the last decade (2000-2010) and why?

12 Responses to “Do Comedies Win Oscars?”

  1. 4string February 25, 2011 at 9:21 AM #

    I wouldn’t classify American Beauty as a comedy though. To me, it’s drama. 🙂

    • Littlebells February 26, 2011 at 12:31 AM #

      yeah, I didn’t think it was a comedy either. Hmph.

  2. klf1988 February 25, 2011 at 3:40 PM #

    That is a good question. You would think with the economy so bad that comedies would be on top. Yeah I agree some of those listed I wouldn’t consider comedies. So what qualifies a movie to be a comedy and not a drama?

    • Open Book February 27, 2011 at 10:47 AM #

      Hi klf!

      Great questions!! There have been comedies over the last decade that are straight lowbrow, slapstick comedies. For example; films from Will Ferrel, Jack Black and Ben Stiller all of their films released recently critics have panned. Straight comedies were doing well at the beginning of 2000 but to many formulaic plot lines like romcom’s have turned consumers and critics against them. So I think this may be the reason dark comedy films are doing better than straight comedy films these days. I hope that helps!!

      • 4string February 27, 2011 at 12:47 PM #

        I still wouldn’t classify AB as a black comedy or even satire. That movie depressed me. I guess when I think dark comedy, I think something like Shaun of the Dead, Drop Dead Gorgeous, or Hot Fuzz.

        I guess my dislike of Julia Roberts also has to do with her off screen persona.

        • Open Book February 27, 2011 at 1:59 PM #

          LOL!! Yeah, I don’t doubt AB had that kind of impact on u. That’s what these types of films are meant to do!!! They are trying to get extreme reactions from audiences to stir serious dialogue and debate. Also, dark comedies rarely effect people the same way. Some people find them quite disturbing which is another trait of a dark comedy. However, AB still follow the common themes of dark comedies, murder, suicide, irony, laughter and discomfort, more so than a straight drama film. It was just a little more extreme and jarring than Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz etc….. They are mild by comparison.LOL!! BTW: Great questions!!

          What did u think of Inglorious Bastards?

  3. Littlebells February 26, 2011 at 12:36 AM #

    Well, let’s think: what has happened in our last decade? Broad question, but maybe we can find our answer there. (crap, I wouldn’t even know where to begin except with 9/11)

  4. Open Book February 27, 2011 at 7:22 AM #

    Hi Everyone!

    Thanks for weighing in on this topic. Actually many people have made the same assumption as 4string regarding American Beauty. But in fact American Beauty and Forest Gump, fit into the dark comedy genre. In the 90’s dark comedies were flirted with but have really become more popular over the last decade. Dark comedies are more prevalent in Hollywood it seems during difficult periods in history. I guess u could say it’s another way of dealing with tough subject matter like war, divorce, infidelity, unemployment, death etc…. All of these films below are dark comedies yet, have the typical HW ending. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Nurse Betty/2000
    Little Miss Sunshine/2006
    Hot Fuzz/2007
    The Informant/2009
    Kick Ass/2010

    Dark Comedies are defined:
    ”1. A comedy having gloomy or disturbing elements, especially one in which a character suffers an irreparable loss.
    2. A comedy characterized by morbid or grimly satiric humor.”

    • Littlebells February 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM #

      Ok, I can totally see that. I loved LMS. And you’re right abut using dark humor to get through really hard times in life. My husband is in law enforcement. I have been on 8 ride-a-longs. I haven’t seen anything morbid yet, but he has and I hear him and the other guys joke around. I asked him once why they would be making jokes and laughing at any type of disturbing scene. He said it is how they deal with it so that they can get through it and move on. So now your comment, OB, makes even more sense to me. 🙂

      • Open Book February 27, 2011 at 2:12 PM #

        Hi Littlebelles,

        Yeah! I’ve heard that before from friends I know who are doctors and emergency response workers. They find it easier to focus if they can lighten the atmosphere after viewing disturbing situations by creating laughter.

        • ozzie20 February 27, 2011 at 5:24 PM #

          I agree. I’ve heard of things like that happening. The majority I can’t repeat because it will be too much information and may make people feel sick. Plus it may offend some people who don’t understand and may take the joking about the situation as an insult, but in reality it’s the only way for them to get through the day without breaking down. So I can understand dark humour being popular in hard times.

          • 4string February 28, 2011 at 8:49 AM #

            An old friend of mine is a paramedic and that’s a main way they cope. Otherwise, they’d probably go insane, constantly have nightmares or want to quit their job.

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