Earlier today Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil asserted that I’m predicting Melissa McCarthy‘s performance in Marielle Heller‘s Can You Ever Forgive Me? to “win” the Best Actress Oscar. Nope — I’m just saying that right now MM’s unaffected, often riveting performance feels like fresh fireworks, and that she’s suddenly even-steven with The Wife‘s Glenn Close.
Emphasizing: I did not bump Close down to third place. Well, I did but that wasn’t the intention. The Gold Derby format doesn’t allow for ties and, as noted, I’d just seen Can You Ever Forgive Me? when I voted and was feeling a Telluride contact high.
Repeating: I put The Favourite‘s Olivia Colman into my #2 slot, but Colman’s performance doesn’t belong in the Best Actress category. She’s totally supporting. If you regard The Favourite as a kind of palace-intrigue con movie, Queen Anne is the “mark” while Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone are the con artists. Colman is being played the whole time, and lead actors are always the players, not the played.
I’m not saying Weisz and Stone are hoodwinking the queen a la Robert Redford and Paul Newman conning Robert Shaw in The Sting, but ask yourself this: If you were in charge of The Sting‘s Oscar campaign, would you put Shaw up for Best Actor?
Filed by Deadline‘s Pete Hammond: “If you ask me Melissa McCarthy just put herself squarely in the Oscar race for Best Actress. Can You Ever Forgive Me? was flying a little below the radar, but after it had its world premiere on Saturday the buzz started building, and by Sunday afternoon when I caught it at the Palm it was clear we had a new contender.
“Those expecting to see the comedic McCarthy [will] be in for a real surprise here. Deglamorized and dead serious, the star does get laughs along the way but this is a highly dramatic turn and she nails it in every way possible. Even though she was Oscar nominated for her supporting role in Bridesmaids, won an Emmy for Mike And Molly and has been a top comedy star in movies ever since, this role is a revelation — her best work yet.”