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Will 'The Hangover 2' be the toast of the Golden Globes and Oscars?

April 8, 2011 |  6:30 pm

Bohemian Hollywood is eagerly awaiting another "Hangover." The 2009 original was a left-field box office smash that catapulted Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis onto the A list. Its sequel, set for release Memorial Day weekend, is expected to perk up a sluggish year at the turnstiles.

Hangover 2 newsThe sequel, which takes its boozy shenanigans from Las Vegas to Thailand, also carries the reflected glow of showbiz awards hardware. Jaws dropped when "The Hangover" won the Golden Globe for best comedy picture over "Nine," "(500) Days of Summer," "Julie & Julia" and "It's Complicated." Fratboy laffers seldom get recognized at the Globes. Heck, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" weren't even nominated.

Of course, "The Hangover: Part II" will now get serious attention at the next Globes, but what about the Academy Awards? That voting body is notoriously snobbish about comedies of any sort.

The last knee-slapper to win the Oscar for best picture was "Annie Hall" (1977). "Shakespeare in Love" (1998) had comedic elements, but it wasn't really an outright howler. Since 1980, there have been a few films with comedic touches that were nominated: "Tootsie" (1982) was also a romance and boasted a famous actor in drag; "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994) is also a tear-jerker; "Sideways" (2004), "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) and "Juno" (2007) contain heavy dramatic subplots.

Oscar recently expanded its list of nominees for best picture to 10 ostensibly to open up the playing field to populist fare. Since then, we haven't seen any outright comedies nominated among live-action fare – "The Kids Are All Right" and "A Serious Man" were considered comedic, but they were quite serious-minded. Animated hits "Up" and "Toy Story 3" do qualify as comedies, of course –- thus suggesting hope that the genre may finally get the last laugh in the top Oscar contest again.

Could a second "Hangover" finally end the comedic drought at the Kodak Theatre? Two sequels have actually won best picture: "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2001). But they weren't very funny.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: The "Hangover" guys: Jack Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms. Credit: Warner Bros.