Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bridesmaids. Oscar Contender?

Okay. So I didn't like Bridesmaids that much. I should have, considering it is a female-centric R-rated comedy, it doesn't really stick to stereotypes and it is pretty out there...but I just didn't. Back when it came out on DVD I thought I could have my unpopular opinion and then it would be buried in a deep pit of shame. It appears not. Since awards season has begun there has been much hubbub about Bridesmaids' Oscar chances. It has appeared on many influential top ten lists for 2011. While it hasn't been called the best film of the year by many, it has been one of the best, which, considering how weak last year was for films, is enough.

Bridesmaids mainly has a good chance for getting an Oscar nod for Melissa McCarthy. It wasn't until her surprise Emmy win for Mike & Molly that anyone really thought it was possible. But she is, for better or for worse, the best thing about Bridesmaids. However, with the multiple Chastain performances and several other great supporting performances in more Oscar-y type films, she could miss out. The film's second major awards pull is the original screenplay by star Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. They have received some love from the Washington DC Area Film Critics, losing to popular favourite 50/50. The WGA nominations should tell whether Bridesmaids can get in here, but I'm doubtful. People are also pushing for Kristen Wiig's lead performance. She definitely won't get an Oscar nomination, no matter how good her performance is, because that category is already filled with the likes of Viola Davis, Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams and Glenn Close, and other deserving actress like Rooney Mara and Elizabeth Olsen are missing out. So if anything, Bridesmaids has its best chance in Melissa McCarthy.

However, it suddenly occurred to me today that Bridesmaids could indeed get a Best Picture nomination.

Before you think I'm a crazy fanboy, hear me out: just remember, I didn't like the film that much.

Basically, all it takes to get a Best Picture nomination is a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture, SAG nomination for Best Ensemble and a PGA nomination. Bridesmaids has all of those. It has had plenty of nominations from various critics circles; maybe not for Best Picture, but there's enough of a push for the acting ensemble. As I said, it has appeared on a few top ten lists. If I'm being honest, I am quite surprised that the PGA went for it, considering the films that they left out, like the beloved Drive, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and critics circle darling The Tree of Life. When you think about it, Bridesmaids has just as much of a chance of getting a Best Picture nomination as any other film. The reason we don't want to latch onto the fact is because, well, it is an R-rated comedy.

As the years go on, the Academy is getting younger and we all keep howling on at them to stop being so old-fashioned. We thought we were in for a change when The Social Network displayed a lot of early promise in last year's race, but was ultimately beaten out by British monarchy tale The King's Speech. However, we're not talking about the chances that Bridesmaids has to win the award. There is a chance that this film will get nominated just so the Academy can prove their point that they are finally going with the times. We do live in a time where R-rated comedies can actually be somewhat good. Except, they completely missed the boat with The Hangover, which could have easily have taken The Blind Side's place back in 2010. Strictly speaking, R-rated comedies are as different as Oscar could possibly get.

This just reminds me of one thing: Oscars should be about choosing what is the best, no matter what kind of film it is. Sure, a lot of people think that Bridesmaids is good. I don't. There is just something so off about the long gags, like the speeches and the trip on the plane. In comedy, there is generally a 'rule of three', which is used to drum something into the audiences head and then change it quickly so they find it funny. Bridesmaids is more like the 'rule of 5000'. Suffice to say, it gets tiring and it isn't very funny at all. Then there is the excrement in the sink. If the Academy are looking to prove anything here, it will be that they are over seeing stuff like this as utterly vulgar and disgusting, and start seeing it as good cinema. Which it isn't, really. Lastly, we have to face it: how different is Bridesmaids from anything else? Yes, it makes sure that each character is tended to enough that they don't become the average female stereotypes. But it storyline, or execution, isn't that different, or better, than anything else I've seen. Especially when the film turns into a bitch-fight between Annie and Helen. And when Annie's world comes crashing down around her, the film becomes quite depressing. In my opinion, the only thing that deserves an Oscar is Megan's speech to Annie when Annie is sitting around feeling sorry for herself. Everyone needs to listen to her.

Quality wise, I definitely don't think that Bridesmaids should get in. But with its overwhelming popularity from critics and some audiences alike, it remains a strong possibility, especially as it is building momentum now (a crucial part of the race). The weird nomination rules will hurt it, as will be the case for a lot of films. I personally don't see the appeal for Bridesmaids, and neither do many other people (mostly guys, go figure) I know. Yet, I have no doubt in my mind that Bridesmaids is a strong contender for the Best Picture race.

Let's just wait and see.

What are your thoughts on Bridesmaids? Do you think it has what it takes?


  1. Great post Stevee! I do think the latest nominations and awards that were given to Bridesmaids is building up momentum for it and I do think it can get an Oscar Nomination, but winning?not in a million years! Maybe the Academy just wants to push people into more comedies, because honestly, we are missing them!

  2. I am with you 110%. It also dawned on me today (following the PGA noms) that it has a shot and I am concerned, considering films like The Tree of Life, Drive and Take Shelter could be excluded. You make some great points - the extended gags (which become more annoying than funny) etc.

  3. Best picture? What a joke. While it's OK, it was very disappointing considering the buzz around it. As opposed to you I don't think it challenged a lot of stereotypes. Women still want to get married and make cupcakes and wer pink dresses. Bleh. I've started to wrok on a top list of 2011 and as it is currently stands it isn't even among the top 40. It might squeeze in there in the end, but I won't take it for granted. And top 10? That would be out of the question.

  4. While i enjoyed Bridemaids a lot more more than you, i don't think it deserves best picture.

  5. I am not sure I will or not. I definitely don't think it should. It was kind of film I watched, I liked it while watching and forgot the minute it finished. Definitely not my top 10 of the year.

  6. While it will probably get nominated for an Oscar, it has no right to be in the conversation. I loved it, but I guess i'm part of the crowd that doesn't like to let comedy into series Oscar consideration.

    I also just read that they might go ahead with a sequel without Kristen Wiig. That would be terrible.

  7. I haven't seen it though I'm baffled by why that film got a nod though I won't be happy if that gets nominated over The Tree of Life although I would be more upset if Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close gets a nod despite the lukewarm reviews it has received.

  8. Great post Stevee. I too have been really surprised by all the award nominations Bridesmaids has been picking up. I still don't think the Oscars will go for it though, but it is creeping--or rather leaping--up my prediction long lists.

    In the end, though, I think it will be billed as the surprise snub that wasn't really a surprise.

  9. If this gets any nods and Deathly Hallows doesn't (or, even worse, this gets MORE), I'm going to be utterly pissed.

  10. @ Nick: ahah yea I agree :)

    @ Stevee: I doubt this gets an Oscar nod especially with the field being 5 to 10 rather than a fixed number. The Academy is notorious for passing on comedies and Bridesmaid while a solid movie, isn't nearly spectacular enough to deserve a nomination.

  11. Aziza - It definitely won't win. Anything. If it does, it will be the biggest shock of the century!

    Andy - I know how much you disliked it, and the feeling is mutual. If this gets in, a lot of films will miss out, which is what we don't want.

    Jessica - That's true (about the stereotypes), but I felt that each of the characters had their own, and slightly real personalities. Depending on how many 2011 movies I've watched, this wouldn't even get close to my top 30.

    Julian - Neither do I.

    SDG - The feeling is mutual!

    Max - A sequel without Wiig is impossible. But I would like for a film to focus on Megan, because she was awesome. Still, Wiig made that movie.

    Steven - I think that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has been pushed out of the conversation all together. I mean, has anyone actually seen the film?

    NeverTooEarlyMP - I think it will be the surprise snub that wasn't really a surprise, too!

    Nick - Same here. I'm going to do a post about that sometime soon.

    Castor - The weird numbers will definitely hurt its chances, but it does have a good chance to just miss the shortlist.

  12. No stereotypes? Are you high, sir? The entire movie is based on hyperbolic stereotypes of women. Stereotypes that are Really old and tired, too. To add to that, the stereotypes weren't even done well. It was all too blatant and in your face. All art can be categorically shown to be poorly made even if people like it. This movie was just bad and there are plenty of people out there who have categorically discussed just why it is bad (as in poorly made and implemented). I have yet to hear anyone coherently defend this movie besides trying to erroneously deflect its obvious shortcomings onto the critic.


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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