For Quentin Tarantino’s tenth film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, the director was nominated for five Golden Globes, winning three: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, and Best Screenplay. The movie sets a scene of old Hollywood clashing with new Hollywood in the late 60’s, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt take on the roles of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth.
It’s obvious that the nominations (and wins) in this category were for the comedic elements used strategically to lighten the mood during the film, usually throwing in a quip or two from Booth when Dalton is going through tough times with his career. Though comedy is subjective, the film honestly wasn’t funny enough to win this category, especially when in competition with comedians like Eddie Murphy and Taika Waititi.
There wasn’t enough emphasis on the comedic side of the movie to win this Golden Globe, though it undoubtedly deserved best screenplay. To say that it didn’t deserve this specific award is not to say that it wasn’t well written, or even unfunny, but the competition was too stiff for this movie to be the one that pulled through and won in the end.
Adding the classic Tarantino humor and a few jokes here and there doesn’t make the movie a comedy, and Booth was basically the only consistently “funny” character, but his character’s comedy factor was based on the way Brad Pitt played him and his mannerisms. Pitt deservedly won the Globe for Best Supporting Actor, but his skills should not have been enough to carry the whole movie to the win in a comedy category.
The elements of humor were most reminiscent of Tarantino’s seventh movie, Inglourious Basterds (2009), also starring Brad Pitt. Comedy wise, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seemed to be a cheap version of his previous movie, where Pitt was definitely a standout in his comedic performance.
In general, this film should not have taken home this particular award, as it would be a stretch to even refer to it as a comedy. Every piece of it was marked by the classic Tarantino stylization, which offers just enough comedy to lighten the mood, but not enough that it should’ve won over Jojo Rabbit (2019) and Dolemite is My Name (2019).