So rare is a Comedy film winning an Oscar that most of the comedies that have won Best Picture in the past are almost unknown to the general movie go-er Today. It’s no secret that the judges prefer more serious movies over comedies, but since when do we listen to the Oscar judges anyway? Another debate is whether or not there should be a category given for Comedies specifically. Still, there’s been plenty of ‘Oscar-worthy’ performances in comedy films throughout the last couple of decades. We’ve listed the comedies that have won best picture, as well as the comedies we believe should have won, either best picture, or at least what it was nominated for.
Comedies that have won the Oscar for best picture
- It Happened One Night (1934)
- You Can’t Take It With You (1938)
- Going My Way (1944)
- Tom Jones (1963)
- The Sting (1973)
- Annie Hall (1977)
Hybrid comedies that have won the Oscar for best picture
- The Apartment (1960)
- Terms of Endearment (1983)
- Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
- Forrest Gump (1994)
- Shakespeare in Love (1998)
- American Beauty (1999)
Hybrid Comedy movies that should have won an Oscar
For most of the movies mentioned here it would seem unthinkable to give them Oscars. But this only shows how we are so used to neglect comedic performances from any type of worthy recognition. Similarly to the Oscar judges, we have this idea that an Oscar is something that goes to a serious, sad, life-changing acting performance. We forget the effort, skill and talent that goes into some of these comedies. Here’s our 9 Comedy Movies that should have won Oscars:
1. Back to the Future (1985)
“ Back to the Future should have been nominated for Best Picture that year (and would have had a good chance to win). But because it was a light-hearted time travel-comedy, it did not. It did garner an effects Oscar and was nominated in some musical categories, but not in any major ones.
One of the most well written films ever, Back to the Future is funny, touching, and exciting from beginning to end. With wonderfully crafted structure and pace, it whizzes past you like a Delorian hitting 88 mph. It would have gotten a little competition from a few good films that year (like Goonies) but would have run away with all the awards if Comedy had existed in 85. Very remembered and loved by many even 25 plus years later, but clearly one of cinema’s most overlooked gems as far as awards are concerned. ” – Tom Connors
2. Man on the Moon (1999)
“ A lot of people may say that this isn’t really a comedy, it’s a bio-pic. It is a bio-pic, yes, it’s the story of Andy Kaufman, humorist, and original shock-personality. (Just don’t call him a comic, he hated that). It is a bio-pic, but it’s also a comedy, because Jim Carrey seamlessly embrasses Kaufman-isms without any effort at all, it seems. He guides us through his (Kaufman’s) life story in only a way Kaufman would have. Carrey should have been given a Best Actor nomination anyway, but nonetheless, as it goes, COMEDY performances, as it were, aren’t usually seen as high-art by the Academy members. So Carrey’s name wasn’t even whispered much in those circles I’m sure.
The movie itself is probably one of the most well done bio-pics to date, not to mention it’s also a very funny comedy. ” – Tom Connors
3. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Unfortunately all the Oscar judges looked this year was Amadeus. This movie was a uproarious rock spoof by Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest and company. The movie Brilliantly shows the bloated excesses of the rock lifestyle. Not enough can be said about the comedic talents of Guest, McKean, and Shearer, whose outrageous song writing (“Big Bottom Girls,” “Stonehenge”) and improvisational dialogue (“Wot’s wrong with being sexy?”) are so convincing that many viewers thought Spinal Tap was a real act. Seen once or 30 times, “Spinal Tap” is relentlessly, ingeniously funny.
4. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Beverly Hills Cop is one of the few that are on this list that did get a significant Oscar nomination, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, for Daniel Petrie Jr. and Danilo Bach. Considering that most of the film was reworked and improvised (from a script originally intended for Sylvester Stallone), that’s a bit of a stretch, but, like Back to the Future that would come out the following year, Beverly Hills Cop is a tightly written caper about a Detroit cop who follows a lead to the killer of his childhood friend all the way to Beverly Hills.
Some would argue it is more of an action film than a comedy, but it is arguably the beginning of Action Comedy in the tradition started by Murphy himself with 48 hrs. Murphy and his supporting cast are all brilliant. Murphy himself is at his best in what will probably be his defining role when his career is analysed in retrospect in years to come. He clearly would have gone head to head with a few other movies that year (Ghostbusters for one), but would have garnered at least an acting award for Murphy, and of course a writing award. ” – Tom Connors
5. Bridesmaids (2011)
Arguably one of the funniest movies of 2011. Bridesmaids did get nominations for best original screenplay (Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig) and for best supporting actress (Melissa McCarthy). Prior to the Oscars it already won the award for Best Comedy from the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, Favourite Comedy Movie from the People’s Choice Awards, and nominations for Best Motion Picture and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globes. One wonders whether the two nominations for the Oscars where courtesy nominations, as it did not win any of it’s nominations.
6. Being John Malkovich (1999)
Yes, it got Oscar nods for director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, but this wildly inventive comedy truly deserved a Best Picture nomination, and at least one win. Plus you’ve never seen Cameron Diaz like this before.
7. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Regarded as a cult classic, yet this film was completely overlooked at the time of the Oscars. The ‘dude’ will not be happy, yet seeing as this film starred Jeff Bridges, whom we all know can very much act, at least a nomination would have sufficed.
8. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Richard Linklater’s brilliant breakthrough ensemble comedy, not deemed Oscar-worthy once again. This infectious, often hilarious movie wins you over with its sheer exuberance and dead-on recreation of the wild and wooly seventies. Director Linklater satirizes the period with considerable affection, so we feel nostalgia for a period many of us thought (at the time) was a mediocre follow-up to the prior decade. A terrific line-up of seventies rock classics with those distinctive cars. McConaughey steals every scene he’s in as an ageing alumnus/party boy who never really left school, and Posey is also memorable as a tough senior girl. (That said, the entire lesser-known cast is solid). This movie stars a very young Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck and Milla Jovovich.
9. Four weddings and a Funeral (1994)
One of Britain’s biggest box-office hits, Mike Newell’s witty, urbane romantic comedy features Hugh Grant in a star-making turn as the waggish, commitment-phobic Brit who falls for a foxy Yank. Supported by Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays Grant’s secretly enamoured pal, Fiona, McDowell and Grant have a charmingly spirited and mischievous rapport that audiences loved. Plus, Newell’s deft handling of Richard Curtis’s sharp script helped “Four Weddings” earn an Oscar nod for Best Picture. Did it win? Nope.