Melissa McCarthy introduced herself to Oscar voters in 2011 with Bridesmaids, garnering a supporting actress nomination for her hilarious performance. Since then, I’ve mostly seen her in similar slapstick-type comedy films, some of which have certainly both been box office successes and testament to her prowess as a leading lady in comedy films. However, it’s clear to see that she’s mostly taken on roles as ‘that funny, fat lady’, in films such as Spy and Tammy. (Spy was definitely one of the funniest movies I caught in 2015, by the way), which haven’t captured the same Oscar attention her turn in Bridesmaids did.
In the first trailer for Can You Ever Forgive Me however, McCarthy looks to be showing some of her dramatic flair. She shone quietly before in films such as 2013’s St. Vincent, where she played a divorced mum, and I think she may finally be noticed again by the Oscars this year. Playing forger Lee Israel, her role looks to be a complex one thick with emotional meat, and the trailer definitely pushes it from this angle. It looks to have its share of brittle humour, not the type where you’d laugh at the person, and not even laugh with the person, but the type to elicit chuckles amidst more dramatic scenes. I think Melissa McCarthy is the type of actress would could certainly pull off this perfect blend of dramatic flair and brittle comedy, one not dissimilar to performances such as Frances McDormand’s and Margot Robbie’s from this year’s Oscars.
A lot will come down to how the film is received as a whole, and whether she’ll indeed have the meaty scenes that the trailer promises, but if she can pull this off, I think she may have her second Oscar nom in sight.
I’ve updated my Oscars sidebar to include her for now.