Gold Derby is reporting that Meryl Streep has agreed to go supporting for August: Osage County. Of course, we know that only suggestions can be made and if that the Academy decides to put her in lead they can. Presumably this is to clear up the field for Julia Roberts to go lead, also for August: Osage County:
Two years after winning Best Actress for “The Iron Lady,” Streep has agreed to drop down to the supporting race for her role as Violet, the pill-popping, booze-swilling momma in “August: Osage County,” a Weinstein Company source tells Gold Derby. That means Streep will compete against Oprah as the hooch-guzzling wife of the title star of “The Butler,” which is also a Weinstein flick. Hmmm … what is Harvey thinking?
But I have a sneaking suspicion, and I could be dead wrong here, that Oprah will not go supporting, but will go lead, opposite the film’s other lead, Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Should Oprah win she would only be the second black woman in 86 years of Oscar history to do so. That would be fitting both the role she plays on screen, and her position in the world.
Both films are being handled by the Weinstein Co. Don’t expect to see Meryl Streep win against Oprah in supporting, however. Let’s say Streep gives the best performance of her career (topping Sophie’s Choice) well then, sure. If you are going to pick between Streep and Oprah you ain’t picking Streep, just saying.
As for lead actress, Julia Roberts will have to stare down Cate Blanchett, who has only won in supporting and is way overdue.
Lake Bell’s new film, In a World, has been getting mostly good notices – a rave from the NY Times’ AO Scott, and pretty good reviews from other critics. But what seems to have gotten her more attention is the nude cover on New York Magazine:
Sex is maybe the most powerful weapon a woman has and she only has it for a short window of time. This is one of the reasons it is more difficult for any woman over 40 in Hollywood to get a foothold. This is especially true here in America, less so in other countries where women don’t exactly have an expiration date. But there is no denying that Lake Bell’s cover here would get her more attention from the mostly male bloggers and critics who cover film. What is it about our sexuality that makes heads turn? Is it just biology? Does it make people take Lake Bell less seriously? Would, say, a young actor breaking out as a writer/director earn respect, attention or disdain if he were to pose nude on the cover of a magazine?
Lake Bell’s career has been made mostly on her looks, and her body, now she is proving that she can also write and direct pretty well. And yet, showing off her body is still the best way to get people to pay attention to her film. This is probably true across the board for women – writers, singers, politicians, bloggers: sex sells. I still put her screenplay on the contender tracker, which I’d have done with or without this cover. I am not sure she is doing herself any favors here, but I also know no one was talking about her movie until she did it. And so it goes.
The D23 expo previewed many upcoming titles for Disney, including Thor, Captain America 2, etc. Angelina Jolie showed up to help hype Malecifent. But the real catch of the day were the clips from Saving Mr. Banks, as USA Today reports:
Perhaps no footage shown was as enchanting as the scenes debuted from this December’s Saving Mr. Banks. The biopic stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney opposite Emma Thompson as English author P.L. Travers, who took over 20 years to be persuaded to give up the rights to her book, Mary Poppins. “We will finally see Walt come to life in a medium he loved and embraced,” said Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios motion picture production.
Scenes included the dour Travers’ horrified reaction at Poppins being made into a musical. (“Mary Poppins does not sing,” she tells Disney firmly.) Although Hanks and Thompson were not present, B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman (who play Mary Poppins composers) took the stage with famed composer Richard Sherman to sing a confetti-strewn version of Let’s Go Fly a Kite. “What’s so interesting and fun about the movie is dramatizing that process,” said Novak. “The songs that feel so easy to us now came with such difficulty.”
David Poland then tweeted:
After seeing more footage, still feel Saving Mr Banks is an Oscar frontrunner. Just can’t get too Disneyfied in marketing. #d23
— David Poland (@DavidPoland) August 10, 2013
With all due respect to Mr. Poland, and Jeff Wells (who read the script and is basing his own enthusiasm on that) a film must be seen in its entirety to make a claim like that. Beyond that, even when everything goes right there is still no telling what strange things can come out of the woodwork to derail a film’s reception and momentum. Either way, it looks as promising as it has from the beginning.
But Oscar contenders do not become frontrunners because their previews look great (War Horse) or because their script is fantastic (Charlie Wilson’s War). They happen because the final movie is a winner. There are no shortcuts.
The State of the Race