Funny Ha Ha vs. Funny HFPA

The Martian seems poised to follow in the footsteps of "comedies" like Her and The Tourist.

On the entertainment plus side, if 20th Century Fox goes ahead and submits The Martian to the “Comedy or Musical” category for the Golden Globes, returning host Ricky Gervais will be set for several sure-fire one-liners. The deadline for Hollywood studios to send in 2015 year entries is tomorrow.

On the minus side, until the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) changes the name of this second bracket (Non-Drama? Other?) or amalgamates somehow, the “Best Film – Comedy or Musical” category will continue to run the risk of being a joke. The Johnny DeppAngelina Jolie 2010 thriller The Tourist was  one notable category laugher. Then there was the film year 2013, for which the following five titles were nominated as Comedy or Musical:

American Hustle
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf of Wall Street

On IMDb, two of these five are tagged as part comedy (Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street). Even if you accept that there was enough comedy in those films, the Joaquin PhoenixScarlett Johansson flick Her definitely stands out as another howler.

Then again, Hollywood can be a wacky place when it comes to attracting awards season ads and selling event night tables or tickets. The 2014 American Comedy Awards gave Her three nods that same awards season. (Elsewhere, the Spike Jonze concoction was more accurately classified as a romance (Golden Trailer Awards), sci-fi film (IGN Summer Movie Awards) and drama (American Cinema Editors).)

The reason we’ve published this item now, rather than waiting until an official Globes announcement, is because we hope it can help The Martian maintain a logical awards season orbit. Ditto for whoever is handling the Trumbo submission process, as the folks at GoldDerby think the biographical drama could also wind up giving Gervais some comedy or musical material.

Update (Nov. 12):
Per L.A. Times reporter Glenn Whipp, The Martian has indeed landed in the “Comedy or Musical” category. However, for what it’s worth, the margin of approval of this 20th Century Fox maneuver, via the HFPA eligibility committee, was just one vote.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.