Throughout December, Ben Sachs and I will take turns writing about our ten favorite films that had their Chicago premieres this year.

Producer Judd Apatow has argued that there should be a separate Oscar category for comedy, and he’s probably right: precious few comedies have ever won Best Picture (the last was Annie Hall in 1977), and only one flat-out farce can claim the honor (Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take It With You in 1938). The imperative of making people laugh seems to work at cross-purposes with making great art, which might explain why the Reader has panned more than a few comedies now regarded as classics (start here, or here, or here, or here, or here, or here—but trust me, the list goes on and on).