Few award season contenders have been as intriguing as "Bridesmaids," the Kristen Wiig-driven phenomenon that grossed nearly $170 million domestically and made the world (OK, the U.S.) safe for a raunchy female comedy.
Like "The Hangover" a couple years back, "Bridesmaids" is a candidate of choice for a certain kind of award-season observer. The movie, they argue, deserves recognition for its writing and acting, not to mention its overall brand of honest comedy.
It's a compelling argument. There's only one problem: Awards voters don't feel the same way.
Though the perception is that the movie has some traction in the run-up to the Oscar nominations next week, the numbers paint a somewhat different picture. According to The Times' Heat Meter system, which our data desk has devised to compile and analyze the season’s contenders (for a fuller explanation please click here), the movie is a long-shot in pretty much all of the categories in which it might hope to compete.
The film's writers pick up just enough points for eighth place in the screenplay category -- but in a tie with three other films. That's perhaps -- perhaps -- good enough for a nomination in the relatively weak Oscar original screenplay category.
Meanwhile, Melissa McCarthy, whose display of frank Everywoman comedy has done wonders for her career, would seem like an ironclad contender. But she ranks just sixth on the supporting actress chart, with just a few points behind the fifth-place contender, Shailene Woodley. ("The Help" star Jessica Chastain is currently in first with 60 points.)
Maybe most important, "Bridesmaids" overall point total, which is rung up when anyone affiliated with a movie gets a win or a nomination, clocks in at a meager 43. That's good enough for only 15th place, just ahead of the documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."
Supporters of "Bridesmaids" will say that the movie's tepid showing is simply proof that voters disadvantage comedies. Maybe so, though it’s also axiomatic that voters like a big commercial hit, especially when it has cultural significance (see under the recognition for movies like “Avatar” and “The Blind Side” in recent years.) That’s probably still true. It’s just increasingly clear they're not hungry for this big commercial hit.
Photo: A scene in "Bridesmaids." Credit: Universal Pictures