Oscar ballots were sent to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, or better known as the Academy members, on Friday, Jan. 5. We’ll be using the next week to remind the voting membership of our favorite films and performance of 2017 that they should consider when filling out their ballots! If you missed one, then please click on the “Circuit Considerations 2017” tag. You can also check out the “Best of 2017” column where the Editor cited the year’s best. Oscar ballots are due on Friday, Jan. 12.
How many Academy members must one grapefruit in order to be taken seriously?
Tiffany Haddish gifted us with her performance in “Girls Trip” as Dina, the life of the party and then some. Since then, she became the first African American stand up female comic to headline “Saturday Night Live” in November. Shortly after was a more than deserved to win at the New York Film Critic Circle and a Critics Choice nomination that thrust her into the Oscar race. However, the race didn’t start there. She announced herself as Oscar-worthy the minute she cocked her head and cooed “booty hole” to Jada Pinkett Smith in an airport.
“Girls Trip” introduces Dina as the hard-partying member of the Flossy Posse, a group of black women who have been friends since college but have drifted apart since. Ryan (Regina Hall), a glorified Oprah figure who teaches women “how to have it all,” nabs tickets to Essence Fest and invites the Flosse Posse to join her. Upon landing, the girls figure out that Ryan’s husband, Stewart (Mike Colter), has been cheating on her with “an Instagram ho,” in Dina’s words. Moments later, Dina has busted open a champagne bottle and verbally accosted Stewart and the aunt he was talking with. This is within the first fifteen minutes. This may be the tamest thing we get.
As one can tell from that summary, Dina was written as a live-wire and not much else. She’s got the best punch lines, but not a story. That’s where Tiffany Haddish comes in and proves she’s worthy of the industry’s highest honor. She invents and builds the character from the ground up. She pieces together the disparate punch lines and creates an entire value system and perspective for Dina.
Dina’s the ultimate ride-or-die friend. She lives for her friends and never fears to put the Flossy Posse over other priorities in her life. Though she gets drunk and parties, there’s more to her than that. She’s concerned with her friends doing the right thing. As the girls are having a kickback session, she’s the one to gather them up to pray to the Lord to give thanks. Dina may be bawdy, but “Jesus loves me too,” as she says.
Near the end of the film, as we inevitably see the Flossy Posse’s bonds challenged, Dina lashes out as she fears everyone leaving around her. Her tantrum is equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious. The next morning, we see Jada’s Lisa come to find her alone in a bar, this time not turning up. She’s sad. “I love you heifers,” she says. This connection to her friends is something she can’t live without. It’s not often that the wild and raucous party girl is also the beating heart and moral core. Then again, it’s not often you find a talent like Tiffany Haddish.
All of these wonderful things written about her, and we still haven’t even talked about the grape fruiting scene. The moment belongs on her Oscar clip reel, sensors be damned. Over a seemingly innocent breakfast, Dina holds a master class lesson on how to “grapefruit” a man, an oral sex technique that has to be seen to believed. What follows can only be described as a modern-day Lucille Ball caliber feat of physical comedy. Even as the act goes on, Tiffany finds new ways to keep it fresh and surprise us. Even throwing in a casual joke mocking toxic masculinity and a man’s need to feel big before going right back to work on the grapefruit. By the end of it, she just looks at us and shrugs. We still need a beat to process a comedy legacy beginning.
Just six years ago we witnessed Melissa McCarthy earn an Oscar nomination for “Bridesmaids” in a similarly foul-mouthed supporting performance. For those voters who nominated McCarthy those years back, continue the trend of respecting comic performances and nominate Tiffany Haddish. For those of you who did not, please take note that, despite both McCarthy and Haddish playing raunchy sidekicks, their roles could not be more different. A nomination for Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip” will age well as she takes the world by storm.
Who are your picks for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars? Share with us in the comments.
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| MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
| LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS |
| ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
| PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
| ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
| FOREIGN LANGUAGE | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE |
| ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT |