Today’s Question: Why Don’t Romantic Comedies Get Respect?
Romantic Comedies are often considered a ridiculous genre. When a “character” actor plays a leading romantic man, such as Mark Ruffalo in Just Like Heaven, some say it’s “selling out.” To get an Oscar, you likely have to have a role that involves yelling, crying, or cancer. But it wasn’t always this way. Our most respected actors in history starred in some all-time classics, some of which earned Oscars. Some of those roles include: Carey Grant in Charade; Jack Lemmon in The Apartment; and Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (which won 5 Oscars). Today, If an actor’s break-out role is a romantic comedy, they often use it as a launching pad for dramatic roles. Remember George Clooney in One Fine Day? That was his first and last romantic comedy. So when did this transition occur? My guess is that things started changing when studios stopped owning actors. In the early days of film-making, the studio put the actor in whatever film was being released at the time. That led to more diversity of roles. Today, the actor gets to pick, and since romantic comedies are less respected, “character” actors avoid them. But there is still an unanswered plaguing question. Actors likely avoid these roles because they get less respect. But when did they start to get less respect? Something happened to the Oscar voters between It Happened One Night and Sweet Home Alabama, and I’d like to know what it is.