Globes should put dramatic musicals in drama category; ‘A Star Is Born’ is willing
et’s face it: The “musical” element of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s best picture, musical or comedy category at the Golden Globes is a holdover from a different era, when films that featured production numbers were a staple of the business.
The category was initiated in 1951, the year of “An American in Paris,” and its early days honored acclaimed films including “The King and I,”“MY Fair Lady” and “The Sound of Music” as well as stars like Donald O’connor in “Singin’ in the Rain.” Lately, however, it has become a repository for critical duds that would otherwise have no lane to swim in — films such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” the 2005 remake of “The Producers,”“nine,”“burlesque” and “The Greatest Showman.”
Meanwhile, musical dramas like “Dreamgirls” and “Les Misérables” have at times boxed out true comedies in the category, to say nothing of dramatic biopics that have used music to scam their way into the mix — “Ray” and “Walk the Line” among them. That’s done a real disservice over the years to a field that has an annual opportunity to spotlight comedy filmmaking.
Happily, there’s a whiff of change in the air this year.
Warner Bros. and director Bradley Cooper made the decision early on to have “A Star Is Born” compete — or at least attempt to compete (the HFPA has final say on categorization) — in the drama field. Angling for the same honors is “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the life story of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, told with Broadway verve and Rami Malek in the lead role. It’s the right call for both films, and it also raises a question: Why bother with a separate musical designation in either of the two categories anymore? There are musical comedies, and there are musical dramas. Let them fall where they may.
This year the musical pack includes Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt, and Universal’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” with Cher, each looking to score in the wake of Globe-nominated
Serious Music Fox biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” is eyeing the drama category at the Golden Globes.