Is The Martian a serious drama that happens to include humorous elements, or a comedy that occasionally veers into dramatic territories? Fans of the film have been debating both sides, but the Golden Globes seems to have come down with the answer. Now, we can continue to debate whether Fox and the movie’s producers are correct or not.
Sir Ridley Scott’s sci-fi rescue mission, adapted from the frequently-funny novel by Andy Weir, will contend – at the Golden Globes, at least – in the Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy category, as revealed by The L.A. Times. The move has been made by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s eligibility committee, which voted on the placement of both The Martian and Jennifer Lawrence’s Joy in the Musical or Comedy category by 20th Century Fox. The L.A. Times notes that the vote was extremely close, and that The Martian made it into the Comedy category by only one vote.
The fact that the Golden Globes even has this category distinction allows studios to play these nomination games – and also allows the HFPA to recognize more movies in its Best Picture slots (and, if we’re being fair, sell more tables at their televised awards event). The Martian certainly isn’t the first movie which straddled the line between comedy and drama to move its chips to the funny side of the Globes’ table. Recent Oscar winners such as Birdman and The Artist contended in the Comedy category at the Globes, though few would label them as clear-cut comedies, the way that we’d label The Hangover (which won the Golden Globe in 2009). Look at Mike Tyson on stage!
And yet, the move annoys some people who legitimately want to contend in the Comedy category. Judd Apatow, who wrote and directed Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and is hoping to pick up some valuable awards momentum with some Golden Globes recognitions, recently Tweeted:
Trying to dominate the comedy category when you are really a drama afraid of dramatic competition is a punk move.
This isn’t unfair. One big reason why The Martian might be looking to shift out of Drama at the Golden Globes is because a movie like Spotlight or even the unseen The Revenant Might be ready to dominate that category. This could all be a strategic move by Fox (which also is releasing The Revenant) to not compete against itself, and to possibly walk away with wins in the two major categories at the Golden Globes. It’s not exactly cheating, though you easily can see why the competition is up in arms over The Martian deciding to call itself a comedy in this situation.