Thursday, February 16, 2012


Golden Globes? Oscars? SAGS? Critic groups? Nah. The only awards that really matter, The Muriels, hosted by Paul Clark and Steve Carlson, gentlemen, scholars and all-around fine folk both, are finally back for the 2011 season. This would be, then, the fifth edition of these awards, decided on by the votes of an august group of professional and would-be professional online film critics and bloggers (here’s the roster), writers who never met a consensus they could get behind and who can be counted on, each and every one, to write intelligently and passionately about the movies that really moved them during the year, production and advertising budgets be damned.

The voting body considered 10 separate Oscar-type categories (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Music Score and Screenplay) and nine other Muriel-specific areas of concern, including Best Cinematic Moment, Best Cinematic Breakthrough of 2011, Best Body of Work in 2011, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Site for Web-based Criticism (sites run by Muriel voters are not eligible), 10th, 25th and 50th anniversary awards for the Best Films of 2001, 1986 and 1961, and an award for Best Film of the 1990s. (I’d tell you what I voted for, but then I’d have to make residence in hell with Sadaam Hussein.)

I’ll make my complete ballot public when the final awards are revealed on March 4. From now until then Steve and Paul will roll out one winner at a time, with a short piece on the winner written by one of our Muriel company, as well as a look at the second and third-place finishers and a complete list of candidates submitted by Muriel voters in each category. The winners for Best Supporting Actor have been up for a day or so now, and just released this morning is the Muriel award winner for Best Supporting Actress, none other than actual Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy, whose sublime work in Bridesmaids netted her a solid and decisive victory among the voters. And it was my honor to submit a short piece in celebration of McCarthy’s performance, which I sincerely hope takes home the Academy Award Sunday after next—here’s a taste of what I had to say:

”…what’s exhilarating about her turn as Megan, the groom’s unrefined and devastatingly honest sister, is how McCarthy doesn’t make a grandstanding show out of how she and the character don’t fit in so much as express, with hilarious physical and interpersonal precision and abandon, an innocent disregard for what any of her relatively slender, blowsy fellow bridesmaids or anyone else within shouting distance might think of her. Happily, Megan isn’t a relentless joke machine tossing off laugh lines about her body type in a lame bid for gross-out cred and eventual audience sympathy. Nor does Megan’s uncensored forthrightness seem calculated — it doesn’t originate out of anger or from a defensive position but instead from a very personal sense of joie de vivre, and she remains positively unaware of just how unprepared those around her are for it. McCarthy gradually disarms all kinds of preconceived notions of how we might think we know a woman like Megan, revealing layers of perceptivity and, yes, even sensitivity for which her colorful id is not a cover but instead a kind of psychic fuel.”

You can read the rest right here at the official Muriels Web page, Our Science is Too Tight, where Muriel updates will be coming fast and furious for the next two weeks. I’ll also being updating here at SLIFR as often as possible.

For now, happy Muriels season, and our most sincere congratulations to Melissa McCarthy!



Robert Fiore said...

So if you win a Muriel do you get a ten cent cigar?

Trish said...

Bravo, Dennis. McCarthy is fearlessly funny, but she also made me uneasy. And that is the mark of a great performance!

Don Mancini said...

"Feel that steam heat? From my undercarriage?"

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Robert: Yes, and presented by a hologram of Edie Adams!

Thanks, Trish. I really hope she steals a little Oscar thunder Sunday night. Her win would be a welcome upset over Octavia Spencer, who I really liked too, but not in quite the same way.

Don: I feel it! One of my favorite MM moments comes near the end. She and Kristen Wiig are standing outside in their gowns, Megan done up in the high hair. As they watch the bride and groom drive away Wiig looks over at Megan, who seems to be all choked up in the moment. Wiig asks after her and it's then that we/she realizes that Megan isn't verklempt-- she's suppressing a laugh. When Wiig asks what's so funny she replies, crumbling into laughter, "I smuggled a gun into Dougie's (her brother's) suitcase. The TSA is gonna tear his ass up!"

Don Mancini said...

Megan would make an awesome best friend. I love the speech she gives to cheer up Annie: After casually dismissing her own difficult teen years, during which "people literally tried to blow up my head...You think I went home and cried to my Mommy? No. You know what I did? I pulled myself up, I studied really hard, I read every book in the library, and now I work for the government. I have the highest security clearance. Don't repeat that. I can't protect you. I know where all the nukes are and I know the codes, Annie. You would be amazed. Lot of shopping malls. Don't repeat that."