I was planning to do a Top Ten Meryl Streep performances but I could anticipate the collective groan by you fine people. We don’t really even need to go there — there have been so many. I’d probably go: 1. Sophie’s Choice, 2. The Devil Wears Prada, 3. Postcards from the Edge, 4. Silkwood, 5. Doubt, 6. Kramer Vs. Kramer, 7. Manhattan, 8. Out of Africa, 9. One True Thing (totally underrated), 10. The Bridges of Madison County – you know, it’s kind of impossible to choose only ten; I suppose I’ll have to write a longer Meryl tribute later, after I see and decide where Julia & Julia fits in. I know, you’re all jumping with joy at the prospect…
I wanted to take a look at the up-and-comers – because, you know, in Hollywood it’s all about who is young and hot, not who is old and not (except Meryl, we love YOU old Meryl!). I’m wondering who is most likely, as a young actress, to win an Oscar either soon or at some point in the near future. I’m going to toss out a very lame list because I just know you readers are much smarter and can come up with better names. So before I hand it over to you – here are a few young ladies who seem like the path is being cleared for them, either because they have the talent to get there or because they are so well-liked they will clutch that statue whether they deserve it or not.
Lists like this are kind of pointless – because it isn’t always about who they are but what kind of work they do, or perhaps the right part at the right time. But let’s face it, a lot of it is who they are – Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz – they were destined to win something at some point.
1. Carey Mulligan. An Education is one of the best films I’ve seen this year (admittedly, not saying much). The beautiful and intelligent Mulligan was seen briefly as a giggling, chubby background sister in Pride and Prejudice – ironically co-starring with Rosamund Pike, with whom she also stars in this film. While I bristle at the idea that we have to go across the pond to find pretty, young, intelligent-seeming actresses to play leads in American films, Mulligan is playing an English girl. She’s also playing a 16 year-old – she plays her as a virgin and later, hope I’m not spoiling anything, as a non-virgin. It is such a subtle change but she nails it. She has the promise of becoming another Helen Mirren or Judi Dench – a timeless beauty not afraid to be who she is as she ages. Yes, a lot is being made of her, a lot of hype is churning away, but it is all deserved.
2. Amy Adams – she’s making the right choices (seems to have good people helping her run her career, or else she is just smart about it) with projects and has taken full advantage of her moment in the spotlight. She’s a good actress but needs to show more versatility to win probably; she always seems to be playing the same type of person. She is showing, though, with the films she chooses, that she’s Oscar-bound in a deliberate sense. She isn’t losing fifty pounds or playing hookers or drug addicts yet but she’s playing the game well at the right time in her career.