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CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant,
Nicole Holofcener, & Jeff Whitty


Director: Marielle Heller
Producers: Anne Carey, Amy Nauiokas, and David Yarnell
Writers: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
Based On: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” by Lee Israel
Cinematography: Brandon Trost
Editor: Anne McCabe
Composer: Nate Heller
Distributors: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release Date: October 19, 2018
Run-time: 107 minutes



MELISSA McCARTHY


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CHARACTER SYNOPSIS: As Lee Israel, Melissa McCarthy plays a biographer fallen on hard times who discovers that she has a talent for forging letters allegedly written by famous authors.


Usually known for her comedic roles, including her Oscar-nominated turn in “Bridesmaids,” Melissa McCarthy in a stoic, dramatic role seems like it might not work. As many comedic stars have proved before her, however, sometimes the funniest actors are able to reach just as deep emotionally. Able to lash people with her sharp tongue, you believe her to be the biography author that no one likes while also pulling off the awkwardness that allows you to believe that she is the cat-loving shut-in who isn’t able to form any valuable relationships. When she becomes a letter forger, the smugness she brings the role makes you want her to get caught. All these traits are ones she has not really displayed in any of her previous roles.

McCarthy lands right in the middle of the pack when you look at the Best Actress in a Leading Role category. On paper, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman seem like the front-runners in this category, because they both have won throughout the awards season, each winning a Golden Globe and Close having won a Critics Choice Award, which she shared with Lady Gaga. Gaga also has some extra fan support, giving her a minor push when compared to McCarthy. Yalitza Aparicio from “Roma” surprised everyone by even being nominated, so she, too, could have a slight push when considering the volume of support. That being said, this feels like such a strong category, that none of the nominees feel especially weak and could easily pull off wins on a level playing field. However, a win from McCarthy seems unlikely.


PREVIOUS NOMINATIONS

MELISSA McCARTHY
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY
2011 (84th) “Bridesmaids” Nominated Best Actress in a Supporting Role



RICHARD E. GRANT


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CHARACTER SYNOPSIS: Richard E. Grant portrays Jack Hock, an alcoholic ne’er-do-well who abets his friend Lee in her scheme to forge letters supposedly written by famous authors.


Hands down, the front-runner coming out of the critics’ awards this season was Richard E. Grant. He won at least fourteen Supporting Actor awards and came off with Golden Globe and SAG nominations. But then Mahershala Ali starting winning Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards and people started to feel the tide shift in his direction. Looking at the supporting actor field at the moment, it seems like its Ali facing off against Grant. If Grant, however, cannot pull off a win here, it feels as though “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” could miss out completely, as he has the strongest chance to win out of the three nominations.


PREVIOUS NOMINATIONS

RICHARD E. GRANT
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY

NONE




NICOLE HOLOFCENER & JEFF WHITTY


FILM SYNOPSIS: In the early 1990s, writer Lee Israel cannot find work and, desperate to stay afloat, discovers that she can make a small fortune by forging and selling letters attributed to famous authors. More than 400 letters later, the law catches up with the cantankerous Lee, who proudly refuses to disavow her handiwork.


When you’re up against two Best Picture nominees like “BlacKkKlansman” and “A Star Is Born,” you have your work cut out for you. Add to that Barry Jenkins and his screenplay for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which has been winning awards throughout the critics’ awards season and suddenly the writers behind “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” start to look like the underdogs. The nominee no one expected, “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs,” likely landed here because of the Academy’s love for the Coen brothers, so on a ranked scale, they are at least away from the bottom.

In recent years, the Best Picture winner has been strongly connected to a Best Screenplay winner. Now, that could also be Best Original Screenplay, so this logic expands the category to that one as well. Best Original has four Best Picture nominees, so the chances the winner comes out of that pool is a little greater. But right now, Spike Lee may be the Best Director front-runner, putting “BlacKkKlansman” on the path to matching a Best Picture win as well. But that has not been the award season we’ve seen thus far. “Roma” and “Green Book” have been the biggest Best Picture winners. However, “A Star Is Born” has a vocal supporting presence and could also be eyeing that win.

Needless to say, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is a facing an uphill battle in the Adapted Screenplay category.


PREVIOUS NOMINATIONS

NICOLE HOLOFCENER
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY

NONE


JEFF WHITTY
YEAR FILM AWARD CATEGORY

NONE




SCREENER

VIEWED: Thursday, January 24th, 2019

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