Golden Globes Weirdness: Tragedy of `Les Miserables' is Competing Against Comedy Films

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A lot of complaints come around every year when members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences engage in their usual and completely expected task of overlooking the quality of cinema that seeks to make us laugh. Or, to put it another way: for every Best Picture win by "The Artist" there are ten losses by a "Some Like it Hot." The Golden Globes try an end run around this disconnect in judging quality by separating Best Picture into categories: Drama and Musical or Comedy. The nominees for the 2012 Golden Globes indicate with crystal clarity that this is an imperfect system at best.

"Les Miserables" is going up against comedy films rather than "Lincoln" for half a share of the honor of being named the best movie of 2012? Really? Who knew that "Les Miserables" was such a laughfest?

Musical comedy is definitely a genre overrun with examples, but who decided that musicals must equate with comedy rather than drama come awards time? An awards show that likes to brag about how they recognize the achievement of comedy just as much as drama should know better. How is it possible to compare the achievements in producing laughs made in a Wes Anderson with the incessant tragedy that makes "Les Miserables" one of the most the dramatic musicals to hit theaters in, well, ever.

Funny musicals are one thing and even funny numbers in a relatively more dramatic musical are an entirely different animal from a film whose main purpose is to get you to laugh. You do not come out of "Les Miserables" with your side bursting from all the laughter.

In fact, one could most definitely argue that of the 10 movies nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture in 2012, "Les Miserables" offers probably fewer laughs per minute and more tragedy per minute than any of them, including the five that were nominated in the Drama category.

Weird, huh?

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