In a surprising move to many, Focus Features has submitted its much-buzzed-about Carey Mulligan starrer, Promising Young Woman, to the Golden Globes in the comedy/musical categories. The film, directed by Emerald Fennell, is darkly comic, but its serious themes make the film hard to categorize.
The comedy/musical category at the Globes has a history of incongruous nominations, as recently as last year, when Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won in the category. Originally created to offer a space for genres that tend to be overlooked by the serious-leaning critics groups and the Academy at the end of the year, the comedy/musical category at the Globes has instead become an alternative option for films that aren’t serious dramas, offering films hoping to use a Globes win to generate momentum for the Oscars a better chance for glory. Recent controversial wins in this category included Green Book, The Martian, and American Hustle, none considered to be traditional comedies. The last true comedy to win in this category was The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014. For all intents and purposes, the category has become more the alternative Best Picture award, as more and more studios try to shoehorn their film into it, in order to compete against what might be perceived as a weaker field.
Submissions vary wildly and are based on different agendas each year. In 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody won in the Drama category, while Rocketman, the same type of film, was submitted the following year in the comedy/musical category (where it lost to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).
The move by Focus is also most likely motivated by keeping the film’s star, Carey Mulligan, squarely in the Oscar discussion. Moving her to the comedy/musical category prevents her from competing with likely drama nominees Sophia Loren, Frances McDormand, Viola Davis, and Vanessa Kirby.
Promising Young Woman will be released on December 25 and the Golden Globes nominations will be announced on February 3, 2021, with the awards handed out on February 28.