The Academy Award nominations were announced today.
And much like the Grammy’s I really have no interest in dissecting them (you can read the full list here), there’s a bunch of movies I’ve yet to see nominated and I’m sure they probably deserve the praise. However, of the films I did see… I’m a little baffled.
Who I Am happy for is Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer from “The Help“. I really hate that in 2011 we still have movies like “The Help” being made at all, and overall I didn’t enjoy the film. It was a little too cliche for my tastes, except for the storyline following Chastain and Spencers’ characters. If the movie was built just around them I would have loved it so much more, two outcasts finding a common bond and supporting and loving each other in ways they never got from anyone else. So I’m really pleased that both are nominated, even if it might split the vote. Spencer won the Golden Globe recently over Chastain, but if either one pulls the Oscar win I’ll be happy.
If you look further in the category they are up for, Supporting Actress, you’ll find Melissa McCarthy from “Bridesmaids” being one of the biggest surprise nominations of the morning (and frankly, Rose Byrne gave such a better more complex performance in the film). This, and the nomination the film received for Original Screenplay, I have an issue with. “Bridesmaids” was really funny, I rented it and the very next day went out and bought the Blu-Ray, I felt like the movie was ridiculously funny but in certain ways felt more real than a lot of other films especially in the “chick flick” realm. So just to preface before I start in with the negative, I really liked the movie.
Does it deserve Oscar praise? HELL NO! Because at the end of the day it’s still just a silly raunchy comedy flick. Why is that all of a sudden Oscar worthy? When just two years ago “The Hangover” garnered NOTHING on Oscar night. If “Bridesmaids” was good enough to get Original Screenplay, “The Hangover” was a lot more clever, original and unpredictable than it’s female counterpart and Zach Galifianakis was way more eccentric, scene stealing and actually somewhat more believable in his craziness than McCarthy. But that’s just my opinion, and maybe the field this year is just a lot weaker than the year “The Hangover” came out. Somehow though, the accolades for “Bridesmaids” (which is getting nominated at ALL of the top film awards this year) seems very strange to me.
A few theories of mine; Kristen Wiig has become such a media darling. She is really super funny, but ever since her hilarious but small role in “Knocked Up” I think the media and the studios have shown a bit of biased favoritism (much like Tina Fey years prior), and look to praise her every way they can. This includes her multiple Emmy nominations for “SNL”, and her shared Oscar nomination for Original Screenplay as just another overboard way to hype their new Comedic Darling.
Also, maybe sexism plays a role here. The idea that “Bridesmaids” was the female “Hangover” was really it’s major promotion when it was released, and the fact that women were able to pull this off out-ways the actual content of the script and it’s performances. Even though it’s not the first raunchy female headed film (Cameron Diaz’s “The Sweetest Thing” comes to mind — even though admittedly that was a piece of crap that only women seemed to enjoy!) it’s just the first really successful one. And the fact that women were able to write their own script and profit from it had the media hyping it up to be better than it is. (Like I said, I really liked it… it’s a good comedy. But that’s really it)
And maybe “The Hangover” and films like it are snubbed because the Academy doesn’t want to seem like they applaud male chauvinism and gross male humor. Weird that it’s okay for women to be crude, but the Academy doesn’t want to be associated when men do it. Interesting little double standard there.
Am I coming off too harsh? Probably… because I like all the people I’ve mentioned so far. I just don’t think “Oscar Nominee” should go anywhere near “Bridesmaids” or McCarthy (for this performance), and if so “The Hangover” was more than worthy.
But I digress, this isn’t the first time I have questioned some the Oscar nods but Congratulations to all the nominees and I’ll probably be watching because I can’t help it… i LOVE Award Shows for some reason.