In Praise of Marisa Tomei

Categories: Film

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Remember when Marisa Tomei became a worldwide punchline because she upset the pundits by copping the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1992's My Cousin Vinny, thereby beating a whole bunch of hoity-toity types with accents not from da Bronx?

Well, despite all the conspiracy theories that floated like spit bubbles, she happened to have won fair and square, so people should shut up already, especially as we approach the 20th anniversary of this landmark occasion.

And she's proved the naysayers wrong by copping two other nominations since then (for In the Bedroom and The Wrestler) and scoring in everything from splashy movies to quirky indies and even onstage (Top Girls).

And now, Marisa has a choice part in the comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love, playing a woman who gets turned on when Steve Carell calls her both sexy and cute, which flings her into a crazy-stupid-lovin' frenzy.

Thanks to one of the film's many coincidences, she comes back when catapulted into the lives of Carell and his estranged wife (Julianne Moore), as much more dangerous sparks fly and Marisa gets to act up like a madwoman.

And she's a delight. She's outrageous enough and subtle enough and really fun to watch.

It's no fluke.

So nyah.



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23 comments
Guest
Guest

Tomei is SERIOUSLY underrated.

egghumor
egghumor

I LOVE Marisa Tomei, and I think she has yielded a body of work to be very proud of. A fine actress.

Cookybaker
Cookybaker

Gives real, beautiful performances. And becoming more physically beautiful with age. Love her!

Boopsie Schwartz
Boopsie Schwartz

What's with the hatred?  I think she's adorable.  And she gets better looking as she gets older IMHO - Before the Devil Knows Your Dead with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke?  You couldnt keep your eyes off her when she was on screen.  C'mon now gals, she's the real deal.

Bigjoe
Bigjoe

Yesterday I was reading an article about actors afflicted by the "Oscar" curse (like Cuba Gooding Jr., Geena Davis, and Halle Berry) and Marisa, despite critical raves and two Oscar nods since her "Vinny" win, was inexplicably included in the list...as was the incomparable Marcia Gay Harden.

Jessi
Jessi

The other nominees that year were : Judy Davis HUSBANDS AND WIVES, Joan Plowright ENCHANTED APRIL; Miranda Richardson DAMAGE; Vanessa Redgrave HOWARD'S END. It was not only the fact that each of these ladies has more talent in one of their farts than Marisa Tomei has in her body. It was also that the movie is a piece of junk and each of these movies exists in realm that has little or nothing to do with Hollywood crap like MY COUSIN VINNY. Receiving two additional nominations proves only that the Academy has a penchant for honoring junk and only very, very rarely gets it right.

Roman Hans
Roman Hans

I haven't seen Crazy, Stupid Love, but in the commercial she could not come off stupider -- in stark contrast to the men in the film.  Here's her schtick:  she's turned on by honesty.  Yes, honesty is to her like gigantic breasts are to men.  To get her in bed, then, you just have to say honest stuff.  Like "My wife will shit a brick when she hears about this," or "Christ, your butt is enormous," or "New Tide with Zout gets tough stains out!"

Take *that*, Gloria Steinem!

Nell Hernandez
Nell Hernandez

i love her. i always have. can you get me a blind date with her? PLeeeeze Michael!

Majroa
Majroa

She was up against Vanessa Redgrave, Miranda Richardson, Joan Plowright, and maybe Emma Thomson. Pretty major.

Dick L.T.
Dick L.T.

Who'da thunk it?   Beauty, brains AND talent!   Go figyah.

Ladybug
Ladybug

Anyone know exactly which four grand dames she beat for the Oscar?

Gregorama
Gregorama

Yeah, that must suck to STILL be thrown in with the Pia Zadora-types as some kind of joke, after all these years.  She was great in "My Cousin Vinnie"---and she was the only American nominee that year...and just as great in the superb drama, "In the Bedroom," for which she ALSO should have won (the winner:  Jennifer Connelly? Huh??).  Good to see her break out of this totally incorrect stereotype...

Natali
Natali

I've loved her ever since seeing "Slums of Beverly Hills" at eleven. I dragged my gay bestie to see "Cyrus" last summer and may have to drag him to see "Crazy Stupid Love" during this one. =)

Xoxo
Xoxo

Yeah, she's still kicking and delivering. Bless her.

Timmee
Timmee

I've always thought she was the real deal. Never understood why people wanted to hate on MarTom. I don't think that they grasped she was playing a character in My Cousin Vinnie. And she just keeps getting better as she's entered her 40s. Long may she reign!

Xavi
Xavi

I agree Bigjoe. I don't understand why Marisa Tomei and Marcia Gay Harden are in the same list by the "Oscar" curse. Both returned as Oscar nominees, both have box office hits (Even with their failures) and both are critical acclaimed actresses not only in films, also in TV (Marcia starred "Damages" and "L&O: SUV") and on stage (Marisa in "Mary and Bruce" and Marcia in her Tony role winner "God of Carnage").

jonster
jonster

I hate to agree, but I do.  I've never been able to get all the way through "Vinnie."  I do, however, lurve me some Marisa Tomei.  Although I frequently get her mixed up with Debi Mazar for some reason.

Xavi
Xavi

Emma Thompson won in the leading category that year. The other lady was Judy Davis

bsomers
bsomers

miranda richardsonvanessa redgravejoan plowrightjudy davis

Please.  Tomei probably won because she was the only American.  Beat out Vanessa Redgrave?  I don't think so. . .

Dick L.T.
Dick L.T.

I think Emma Thompson was one of them.

Dave
Dave

For me Judy Davis and Miranda Richardson were fantastic in "Husbands and Wives" and "Damage," respectively.  But Joan Plowright was hammy in "Enchanted April," and "Howard's End" is one of Vanessa Redgrave's smaller, least impressive performances.  I had Marisa Tomei in third place, but there have been many times when my fifth place has won (e.g., Cher over Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep and Sally Kirkland), so I wasn't complaining.

It probably helped that Marisa was the only American.  She also had Roger Ebert's wholehearted endorsement, which often helped in those days.  And I believe Hollywood was hoping she might be a new, potentially big romantic comedy star.

People often complain that you can't win an Academy Award for a comic performance; then, when someone does, they think it's a travesty and a joke.  Marisa Tomei can play both broad comic roles and intense emotional characters.  I personally love her.   

David
David

I think that's the common opinion...

Trent
Trent

Have you even seen the performances?  

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