Why Do the Golden Globes Think ‘A Star Is Born’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Are Dramas, Not Musicals?

Answer: They’re not the ones who picked the category for those music-heavy films

A Star Is Born
Warner Bros.

“A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” are both crammed full of musical performances, so why are they nominated for Golden Globes in the Best Motion Picture – Drama category?

After all, the two films seem like logical fits for the Globes’ Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category, which in past years has included such performance-heavy nominees as “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Walk the Line” and “Ray.”

Those films aren’t traditional musicals in the vein of, say, “Chicago” or “Dreamgirls” or this year’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” but they contain enough musical numbers that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association would no doubt have accepted them into the musical-or-comedy category, which is traditionally the less competitive of the Globes’ two best-picture categories.

But the filmmakers and studios behind “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Warner Bros. and Fox, respectively) opted to submit their films to the Globes in the drama category. And while the HFPA has the ability to overrule studio submissions and slot a film into a different category, the committee that makes those determinations typically goes along with what the filmmakers and studios want.

In this case, “A Star Is Born” and “BoRap” wanted to be seen as dramas with music, perhaps given a nudge by the fact that the year’s most critically acclaimed movie, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” was ineligible in the category because it is in a foreign language.

So they submitted in drama, the HFPA accepted them in drama and they were nominated in drama.

Meanwhile, Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book,” a film about the serious and dramatic subject of race relations but one that contains plenty of humor, had the option to submit as a comedy or a drama. Because of the way the film had been playing in its festival screenings, Farrelly and its producers opted to enter in comedy, where it will be going up against formidable contenders in Adam McKay’s “Vice” (another sometimes-funny movie about a very serious subject) and Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite.”