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Ben Stiller: Comedy Deserves Oscar Recognition

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BEN STILLER BAFTA
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When Ben Stiller accepted the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy at the BAFTA Los Angeles 2011 Britannia Awards on Wednesday, it was a rare recognition for his mighty body of work (and a very nice birthday present).

Stiller has become one of the most beloved and successful talents in Hollywood over the past two decades, churning out hit after comedy hit. But despite his success, he's never had much luck at the major awards shows. It's a blank spot on his resume -- and the CVs of his colleagues -- that is due in no small part to the dramatic bias inherent in the shows' categories, an issue Stiller thinks should be addressed.

"In terms of the Oscars, it's just too bad that comedies don't get recognized," he said in 2008. "It just seems like there's this huge hole there where there's no recognition for people who over the years -- and this is for years and years, you know -- have been doing such great work. So I don't know if the solution is a new category or not. It's great for comedies that the Globes exist in that way -- that there's more of an opening to see them get recognized... It's worth looking at, because there's so many people doing so much good work."

Stiller speaks as much for the interests of his friends and co-stars as he does on behalf of his own mantle; the star has helped nourish and promote the talents of countless stars throughout his different films and TV shows. In fact, his comments come a few weeks following those of one of his longtime friends and fellow comedy deans, Judd Apatow, who called for a separate Oscar category for comedies in November.

"If comedy is not included, ever, it's been like five times in a zillion years that it's won Best Picture, then it doesn't seem like it's screwing up 'Schindler's List' for 'Hangover' to have its own category," he said at a Los Angeles Times forum, pointing out that the Best Animated Feature category was added in 2001.

In the last decade, only six films, outside of Pixar movies, that could be considered comedies were nominated for Best Picture. Last year, "The Kids Are All Right" got a nod, in 2007, Jason Reitman's "Juno" got consideration, while in 2006, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris's "Little Miss Sunshine" was nominated. As for the other three, they were more serious films with funny elements; in 2009, Reitman's "Up in the Air" received a bid, Alexander Payne's dramedy "Sideways" got a nomination in 2004, and Sofia Coppola's film, "Lost In Translation" earned a slot on the ballot in 2003.

There is some outside support for "Bridesmaids," the smash-hit Kristen Wiig vehicle, to get nominated this year, while the Christopher Plummer-starring dramedy, "Beginners," and the George Clooney-led "Descendants" are considered potential frontrunners for golden consideration.

For more, click over to The Hollywood Reporter.

Editor's Note: Stiller actually made those comments in 2008; the report from the other outlet misstated when his comments were made.

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