I heard two things about Meryl Streep today. The first, I received two DMs from @dialmformovies. He said that Meryl Streep has never presented a competitive Oscar – which is interesting. He then followed it by saying not since 1990 has a woman given out the Best Pic prize. Also interesting.
Meanwhile, Sean Fergus sent in a rebuttal to Pete Hammond’s assertion that Meryl Streep in Iron Lady is the defacto frontrunner for the Best Actress prize. Pete posted an exclusive today that Glenn Close is the one who might be winning this year (FINALLY). Says Pete:
It appears Glenn Close may be shaking up the Best Actress Oscar race this year. Today’s announcement that Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment have acquired all U.S. rights to Albert Nobbs, in which Close plays a woman passing as a man in order to survive in 19th century Dublin, and plan a fall release and likely Oscar campaign adds a bit of drama to 2011’s budding Academy race. Meryl Streep, a two-time winner and 16-time nominee, is the presumed front-runner as Margaret Thatcher in the Weinstein Company’s The Iron Lady. Streep hasn’t won since 1982, and many think (sight unseen) that Thatcher could be her ticket back to the winner’s circle. Ironically, that was also the year Close received the first of her five nominations (for her first film, The World According To Garp) in a remarkable run between 1982 and 1988 when she received her last nod for Dangerous Liaisons. Of course she’s won Tonys and Emmys, but the Oscar has famously eluded her.
Sean Flynn argues with the idea that Streep otherwise has the Oscar in the bag:
I did some research on 2nd lead Oscar wins – and basically, virtually never does someone win one unless his/her film is a best picture nominee, and has a director of awards stature (either previous nominee or at the latest at the time of the race).
I have other doubts about Iron Lady – Thatcher is not a sympathetic figure that much to Academy members (particularly the Brits), but if it is an unsympathetic portrayal, what will the audience be? (Think of Tom Hanks playing Reagan – would he be an automatic favorite?)
2nd time winners for best lead acting, status of film in BP race:
Sean Penn – Milk (nominated)
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood (nominated)
Hillary Swank – Million Dollar Baby (won)
Jack Nicholson – As Good As It Gets (nominated)
Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump (won)
Jodie Foster – Silence of the Lambs (won)
Dustin Hoffman – Rain Man (won)
Sally Field – Places in the Heart (nominated)
Katharine Hepburn – On Golden Pond (nominated)
Jane Fonda – Coming Home (nominated)
Glenda Jackson – A Touch of Class (nominated)
Marlon Brando – The Godfather (won)
Katharine Hepburn – The Lion in Winter (nominated)
Katharine Hepburn – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (nominated)
Elizabeth Taylor – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (nominated)
Ingrid Bergman – Anastasia (NOT nominated)
Gary Cooper – High Noon (nominated)
Vivian Leigh – Streetcar Named Desire (nominated)
Olivia de Havilland – The Heiress (nominated)
Fredric March – The Best Years of Our Lives (won)
Spencer Tracy – Boys’ Town (nominated)
Bette Davis – Jezebel (nominated)
Luise Rainer – The Good Earth (nominated)
So here is the score, folks: 23 times a lead Oscar has been given to someone who previously won a lead Oscar. 22 of those times the film in which s/he appeared was a nominee for best picture; 6 times the film won.
The only exception was Ingrid Bergman – Anastasia was not a best picture nominee.
Once in 23 times – and most of these cases happened when the person involved had won one acting Oscar before, not two as has Streep already.
Are people saying that The Iron Lady is going to be a best picture nominee? Or that somehow this time, Streep will win even if the film isn’t that special?
It’s possible of course. But it seems rather unlikely.
Of those 23 films, every single one was directed by someone who by the time of the particular film had been nominated for best director except one (22 times that is). The one exception is Melvin Frank, who had three writing nominations prior to A Touch of Class, and was nominated both for producing and writing that film.
What is Phyllida Lloyd going to be nominated for this year?
Streep needs to find challenging, credible directors, rather than wallowing in her comfort zone with ones who are happy to let her films be all about her when she is on the screen.
I appreciate Sean’s research and thoughts on this – I am always loathe to accept the notion that there is already a winner sight unseen. However, I will say this:when it comes to Meryl Streep the usual rules probably don’t apply, given that she holds the record for the most nominations, has never won a second lead actress Oscar (Hillary Swank has), and is one of the greatest actors who has ever lived.
But his point is worth considering.