Courtesy of MCT
The nominees for Academy Awards are rarely a surprise. We see them coming: the movies that come out late fall/early winter, the artsy films that sometimes puzzle us, sometimes wow us, the movies with a name to guarantee their placement in multiple categories. The types are often the same, infused with meaning, beauty, crisp scripts and well-considered casts. We know what to expect.
Until we don’t. Though the usual suspects still reign supreme in the categories for awards this year, one nominee stands out as peculiar amongst the pack: Melissa McCarthy. Nominated for her role as Megan in the hit female comedy “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy portrays, as the Academy puts it, “a talkative, sexually aggressive young woman who is one of the bridesmaids in her brother’s upcoming wedding.”
The description leaves so much to the imagination. And the nomination leaves so much to be said about comedy’s place in the film industry’s high-culture awards.
Sometimes you can ask the average person if they’ve seen any of the films on the list of nominations for an Academy Award and you’ll get a blank stare in return. They can be obscure, have limited audiences, and sometimes not resonate with a wider audience.
And then there are times you see a film or an actor/actress in a film nominated for an award that people just get. So seldom do we see a comedy actor nominated, let alone one who resonates in belly-laughs with demographics far and wide. It’s refreshing.
There’s simply something to be appreciated by the Academy’s recognition of excellent acting, regardless of genre. For us, it’s the satisfaction of knowing the same person who made us laugh hysterically — whether it’s the fact that her character tells us she doesn’t bloat, apologizing for a burp (or a fart) or telling us about where she can hide her iPod Nano — is being recognized with the same person who might have made some of us cry in “The Help” (Octavia Spencer).
Movies are sometimes a reflection of our emotions and our shared experiences. While I remember watching some of the other nominated films this year with family and friends, I remember most the obnoxiously funny evenings spent watching “Bridesmaids,” keeling over at every word that comes out of McCarthy’s mouth.
This year, unlike some years, the Academy is giving us something to laugh about.