There was a time when Hollywood regularly gave women Academy Award nominations for acting in comedies. Carole Lombard, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Jean Arthur and Barbara Stanwyck were all Best Actress Oscar nominees for comedy performances. Claudette Colbert, Judy Holliday and Diane Keaton won their Best Actress Academy Awards for comedies. Teri Garr and the late, great Madeline Kahn netted Oscar nominations for comedies. Then exceptional funny work by women seemed to be overlooked by Hollywood. The 1996 performance Debbie Reynolds delivered under Albert Brooks' direction in Mother really should've earned the Hollywood veteran her second Oscar nomination. Excellent character comedy work! Because women in comedies have been overlooked by Oscars in recent decades, many of us were thrilled when Melissa McCarthy scored a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for 2011.
I have an idea for McCarthy. Back in the 1960s, one of the top comedy teams around was Mike Nichols and Elaine May. This couple starred on stage and in appearances on network television variety shows. Their comedy albums were best-sellers.
Elaine May wrote, directed and starred in a 1971 comedy that, I'm so glad to report, has finally made it to DVD. A New Leaf co-stars Walter Matthau as a vain, selfish New York City playboy who blew through all his inheritance money pampering himself and living the high life. Henry is broke and desperate. He's forced to borrow money.
You think it's a good one?