Does Melissa McCarthy Deserve an Oscar Nomination for “Bridesmaids”?
After months of best-of lists, “For Your Consideration” ads, and a myriad of award shows, all eyes will be on the Oscar nominations on Tuesday morning. Will Spielberg get shut out of Best Director? Will The Artist receive the most nominations? Will Glenn Close, a five-time nominee, get another chance at the prize? (In my opinion: Yes, Yes, Maybe.) If you want an accurate prediction (read: somewhat fact-based guesses) of actors and films that will might be announced on Tuesday, than this post will disappoint. (Check out Movieline’s Oscar Index.)
Instead of trying to guess what will be, here is what I hope will be. Culled from the 111 movies I saw in 2011—which equates to more than 200 hours and countless pounds of Twizzlers—these are the movies, actors, and directors I hope are announced on Tuesday. But of course knowing the Academy’s occasional propensity for nominating trifling over substantive films (ahem, The Blind Side) as well as recognizing one’s own partiality to themes and actors, I am sure many of my picks will prove incorrect. Nevertheless, until the actual lists are announced and the cutthroat campaigns begin, we can, for the moment, revel in this brief period of what if. So here are my what if’s:
- The Artist
- The Descendants
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Margin Call
- A Separation
As opposed to 10 slots in the past few years, anywhere from five to 10 films will receive nominations for Best Pictures this year (though the actual number will probably be seven or eight). But for me, these 10 films should all be nominated. Many will be familiar with most of this list: the charming The Artist, the humorous and devastating The Descendants, the ferocious Drive, the bleak but beautiful The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the nostalgic and innocent Hugo, and the impeccably acted Warrior. However, the other four—three independent, one foreign—are no less impactful: Margin Call, a taut thriller set in the hours before the financial meltdown; Melancholia, an operatic, stunningly beautiful story of two sisters in the final days before the end of the Earth; A Separation, a direct examination of life in Iran; and Weekend, a poignant and naturalistic tale of a fledgling romance between two British men.
- George Clooney, The Descendants
- Jean Dujardin, The Artist
- Michael Fassbender, Shame
- Ryan Gosling, Drive
- Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
Clooney is revelatory as a grieving father—the scene where he says goodbye to his wife is particularly heartbreaking. Even without dialogue, Dujardin is dashing, funny, and heartfelt. Fassbender gives the bravest, most exposed performance of the year as a struggling sex addict. Gosling, without a name and with few words, exudes strength beyond his years. And Shannon is perfection as a father who is unsure if his apocalyptic visions are real or simply the onset of psychological problems.
- Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
- Olivia Colman, Tyrannosaur
- Viola Davis, The Help
- Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
- Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
- Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
If there was an Oscar category that needed to break from the rigid number of slots, it should have been this one. These six women, plus several more—Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Charlize Theron in Young Adult—give Oscar-caliber performances. But those listed are the ones that were truly exemplary. Dunst and Colman—both first-time Oscar nominees—give career-defining performances as a depressed bride on the last days of Earth and an abused wife, respectively. The other actresses—all previous nominees—yet again give powerful performances, often rising above the rest of the film (especially true for Close and Swinton).
- Albert Brooks, Drive
- Nick Nolte, Warrior
- Christopher Plummer, Beginners
- Alan Rickman, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
- Andy Serkis, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
My picks in this category can be broken down into three groups: against type, playing to type, and the long overdue. Brooks and Plummer play against type as a frighteningly sadistic mobster and a father who comes out of the closet at the age of 75, respectively. Nolte plays to type as an alcoholic father trying to make amends with his sons. As for the long overdue: Rickman should finally be recognized for his lasting performance as Snape and Serkis should finally get credit for his motion capture (and vocal) work—as he should have for The Lord of the Rings movies.
- Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
- Jessica Chastain, The Help/The Tree of Life
- Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
- Octavia Spencer, The Help
- Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
All five actresses had tremendous, breakout successes in 2011. Chastain gave incredible performances in several films—I would love to see her get nominated for both The Help and The Tree of Life, not to mention Take Shelter—particularly for The Help, where her work, along with Spencer’s (and Davis’s), is one of the best of the ensemble. McCarthy’s unflinching, completely crazy, balls-to-the-wall performance will be what many future comedic performances will be compared to. Bejo makes a character named Peppy seem enchanting, lovely, but also compassionate without a single line of spoken dialogue. Woodley goes toe-to-toe with Clooney as the too-old-for-her-age daughter.
- David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Michael Hazanavicius, The Artist
- Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
- Alexander Payne, The Descendants
- Martin Scorcese, Hugo
Simply, these five directors were responsible for my five favorite films of the year. Each film, while feeling somewhat familiar, has completely individual vision, impeccable acting, and taut visuals. They are also a few of the films that I want to watch again and again.
Who do you hope will get an Oscar nomination this year?