Talkback: Is Melissa McCarthy an Oscar Contender?


Melissa McCarthy sailed through her SNL hosting gig last night on pure charm and panache, even if the skits weren't particularly novel. Coming off her recent Emmy win for Mike & Molly, she's officially the most likable (and most liked) dame in primetime right now, which begs the question: Is this a wave of well wishes that can lead to the Oscar dais? Should we expect her name to pop in the Best Supporting Actress category alongside shoo-ins Octavia Spencer and Vanessa Redgrave?

As our own Mr. VanAirsdale noted in the premiere edition of this year's Oscar index, there's an attractive, Jacki Weaver-sized void in the Best Supporting Actress rundown: If Octavia Spencer and Vanessa Redgrave nab spots while The Descendants's Shailene Woodley and The Artist 's up-and-comer Bérénice Bejo notch the third and fourth rungs, we have room for either an Academy-friendly talent -- former nominees Janet McTeer and Judi Dench are promising -- or a sprightly young thespian with charm galore, meaning Jessica Chastain's fun, if one-dimensional performance in The Help qualifies, as does McCarthy in Bridesmaids.

The game-changing element, it seems, is that 2011 is already billed as a banner year for lady-led films, which makes the idea of Bridesmaids kudos all the more enticing to Oscar voters. Hell, The Help will rack up two nominations at the very least. The damning element, though, is that Bridesmaids is undoubtedly an ensemble piece, and none of its stars stand out as obvious honorees. I preferred Rose Byrne and Wendi McLendon-Covey to McCarthy, personally, but the combination of likability, talent, "ladies in comedy" good cheer, and sheer statue cred make McCarthy the perfect storm of viable attributes. It's easy to honor the previously honored. That Emmy may be as much of a calling card as Helen Hunt's combined three Emmys were back in 1997. (She won a fourth after her Oscar win.)

What do you think? Does McCarthy have a chance at Eddie Murphy's Oscars, or will Janet McTeer storm to the Kodak in her place?


  • Allan says:

    I bet you already know the answer to your own question but in case you don't, here it is. No. Absolutely not. Peoples Choice Awards? Perhaps. Oscars? No.

  • AS says:

    I sat through that entire movie only because it was praised by critics. I knew it would be awful and it was, but I had to actually watch it just to validate my preconceived notions. And the worst part of it was Melissa McCarthy so it disgusts me that some people think she's even worthy.

  • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

    Jacki Weaver is a really good analogy, regardless of the obvious, radical difference in profiles between Animal Kingdom and Bridesmaids. Supporting and screenwriting categories are historically the designated recognition zone for the upstart outsiders who demonstrate how hip and inclusive those branches think they are. (Woodley technically would fall into that outsider mode, I guess, except her film is such shameless awards bait that it's hard to separate her from the Clooney-fied juggernaut as a whole.) It really comes down to McCarthy and Universal just going for it -- explicitly expressing that she wants and deserves a nomination. And, I hate to say it, hitting institutions like the NBR, HFPA and critics' groups really, really hard. That Weaver win last year in early December set the table for her run.
    And don't look now, but Sandra Bullock's coming hard for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I like her and McCarthy over McTeer and Dench, at least at this early, nobody-having-seen-three-quarters-of-the-movies-we're-talking-about point. Ahem.

  • Mike the Movie Tyke says:

    The Oscars may have sunk low enough to hire the talentless Brett Ratner, but to award an actress in a silly, gross-out comedy whose big scene involves bodily functions? Fat chance, if you'll pardon the pun.

  • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

    The question is as valid as any other we ask about Oscar contenders on Oct. 2. While it's absolutely fair and accurate of you to suggest she's a longshot who may not be nominated, but it's just as fair and accurate of Louis to confirm that she _is_ on the awards-season radar -- and she is not going away any time soon.

  • Well, yes, but a silly, gross-out comedy whose big scene involves bodily functions... that critics generally loved and that earned $286 million globally and whose one contending actress just won an Emmy and has a hit TV show whose massive audience would swoon at the chance to see her win here. That might not be enough to influence the actors' branch, but the benefits of recognizing a phenomenon like that could mean more opportunities to replicate it -- which actresses in particular haven't had a lot of lately.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    But the Oscars don't even reward the best movies. They reward what feels like the biggest "triumph" -- they're not concerned with Metacritic scores. If Sandra Bullock can beat Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep while no one so much as bats an eye, then it's not so impossible for Melissa McCarthy to ring in as an underdog next to just-as-one-dimensional Help roles.

  • Tommy Marx says:

    Although I usually avoid articles about the Academy Awards months before most of the movies have even been released, this one caught my eye. I've never watched "Mike and Molly", and I'm sure at some point I'll watch "Bridesmaids" but it's not high on my list. But I love Melissa McCarthy. Besides the mom and daughter, she was my favorite character on "Gilmore Girls". In interviews, she comes across as friendly, sincere and genuinely interesting.
    I think Louis hit the nail on the head comparing her to Sandra Bullock. More often than not, especially when it comes to women, Oscar votes just as much on the likability factor as anything else. Academy voters love a good back story, and Melissa would provide that. More importantly, just being nominated would literally be a prize in and of itself while generating a ton of good will for the Academy. I don't see this as such a long shot at all.

  • bracko says:

    she will probably get nominated for golden globe along with kristen wiig, who might also win in comedy or musical category (i don't see any other contender) and the film might win too.but bridesmaids will not get any nomination for oscar.there are too many oscar-y films in contention.

  • bracko says:

    i just remembered midnight in paris. no, bridesmaids will not win golden globe it will just be nominated.sorry!how could i overlook my favorite film of the year so far?

  • NP says:

    Actually, I'd say her big moment comes closer to the end of the film when she steals the puppies and gives Annie the kick in the ass/pep talk she so desperately needs. In an overrated ensemble comedy, McCarthy's character was actually the most developed, based least on stock/cliched female character traits and became more interesting the more we got to know her, *in spite of the fact that the performance works largely on a gimmicky level*. Part of that has to do with the writing. She deserves the nod, I say. It was easily one of the best comedic performances this year, which may say more about the state of comedy than her performance, but there it is.

  • Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin) says:

    Well, the proof is all in how much money she and her studio puts out promoting her name. How many parties are they going to host? How much sucking up is she going to do?
    If people don't know by now, Oscar choices are all about politicking, partying, promoting, etc., not who truly was the best.

  • Tommy Marx says:

    I think ANYONE who likes entertainment knows the Oscars are all about who panders the most. Um, Crash won for Best Movie.

  • Shas says:

    Honestly, it's a valid question. The Oscars have increasingly become more desperate to stay in tune with what is hip and popular while trying to maintain some sort of credibility (and ratings), so why wouldn't they consider a very well-liked, talented and against-the-mold actress.
    Who would have thought that a comedy about two plus-sized characters would survive, let alone be a huge hit, without being degrading and self-loathing.
    She has charm, she got rave reviews, and I think she's got more of a chance that most people might think.

  • anonymous says:

    If Robert Downey Junior could get a nomination for his role in Tropic Thunder, than she definitely has a fighting chance at this.

  • Janet McTeer should win an award an outstanding actress.