Saturday, June 20, 2009

Streep Noms #4-5 and Oscar Trivia

Streep at 60: More movie discussions to follow but today we're discussing Oscar competitive fields again
(the winner links take you to their acceptance speech)

The Best Actress races of 1982 and 1983 hold special meaning for me as they were my inaugural Oscar years. On April 11th of 1983 I saw my first Oscar ceremony. My only point of reference for the glitzy tradition was that my parents and my older siblings didn't like it -- something about Star Wars being way better than Woody Allen??? --and even though my parents didn't take me to that many movies, I had somehow seen and liked 3 of the 5 Best Picture nominees (Gandhi and the two blockbusters Tootsie & E.T.) For the first two years of my Oscar watching I saw a total of ZERO Best Actress nominees. My how life has changed.

  • Julie Andrews, Victor/Victoria -this is the one I desperately wanted to see, being in love with both Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp. My parents refused to take me, muttering something about Julie Andrews appearing in a porno ... I was very confused.
  • Jessica Lange, Frances
  • Sissy Spacek, Missing
  • Meryl Streep, Sophie's Choice
  • Debra Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman
Other '82 female leads for context: Diane Keaton in Shoot the Moon, Teri Garr in One From the Heart, Carol Burnett in Annie, Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Nathalie Baye in The Return of Martin Guerre and Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2

Streep Stats: With this win Meryl became the 4th actress to win an Oscar for a Nazi/Holocaust related drama. It didn't happen again until Winslet won this past February for The Reader. Meryl was not, at 33 then, the youngest actress to win a second Oscar. Luise Rainer still holds that title winning her second Oscar in 1938 when she was only 28. Even Jodie Foster couldn't top that (her Silence of the Lambs win came at 29 years of age).

1983...Other '83 female leads for context: Arielle Dombasle in Pauline at the Beach, Mariel Hemingway in Star 80, Bonnie Bedelia in Heart Like a Wheel, Sigweavy in The Year of Living Dangerously, Susan Sarandon & Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger and Babs in Yentl.

Streep Stats: Despite being only 34 years old when her 5th nomination rolled around, Meryl doesn't hold the record for fastest to get there: Bette Davis held the record for 65 years (accomplishing it by the age of 33) until Kate Winslet took over earning her fifth nomination (Little Children) at 31. I'm guessing that record holds for as long as Bette's did.

Give or take Norma Shearer who is either tied for 3rd place or in 5th
place depending on how you count her nominations

What are your ideal Oscar shortlists / wins in 1982 and 1983?
If you haven't seen very many early 80s movies, which are you most eager to finally get to?


mrripley said...

i'd like to point out nat that in 1982 dandy dennis was to be considered for come back to the five and dime jimmy jimmy dean.

my top 5 inc the above ms dennis plus meryl,diane keaton shoot the moon,sissy and jessica lange.

mrripley said...

what about hilary swank 2nd was she 28 too.

mrripley said...

sandy dennis not dandy.

Gilidor said...

Hilary Swank was actually 30 when she got her second Oscar...

netshopper said...

Winslet got to 5 noms by 31 but she started acting in films much earlier than Streep did. I believe Winslet was 17 when she started in film while Streep was in her late twenties. Streep's rise was more meteoric to me.

Joe Shetina said...

Meryl takes both years for me, but Sissy comes so close for Missing. One of my faves of 1982.

Jamesofa1000Days said...

Meryl rightfully won that year for Sophie's Choice for me the second place out of all the nominees was Sissy Spacek for Missing. I know some thought Jessica Lange should have won for Frances, but the movie was a misfire I would almost compare Jessica Lange in Frances performance to Marion Cotillard to La Vie en Rose great performances in very tepid biopics.

Meryl though it was amazing in that performance as Sophie really could have made that performance look calculated and mannered but those raw emotions and that accent (Polish speaking in German!). Actually Sophie's Choice was a good not great movie but the performance of Streep totally made me forget how flawed that movie really was.

Billy Held An Oscar said...

I always thought that Lange won for Tootsie because Streep was unbeatable in Sophie's Choice. Looking back at the other Supporting Actresses that year (Close,Garr,Stanley,Warren), I would have preferred anyone but Lange. (I would have voted for Close).

Sorry....Lange's Frances nomination made me think of her Tootsie win and that led me into Supporting Actress territory. My bad.

Streep is 1982.

Jim T said...

1)The impressive thing about Winslet is that she wasn't nomninated for some great performances like in Quills, Revolutionary Road and Jude and still managed to set a record.

2) By being nominated for The Reader she also managed to be one of the 4 British actresses with 6 nominations (along with Dench, Smith and Redgrave). Dench has a shot at going one step further with Nine and Redgrave next year with the Robin Hood film.

3) I almost hate Winger in Terms of...

Anonymous said...

Also viable in '83 was Rosanna Arquette in "Baby, It's You". I love her in that movie.

mrripley said...

i suppose in 83 i'd go with streep,winger,maclaine and 2 none nominees streisand in yentl and bonnie bedelia in heart like a wheel with streep winning.

Anonymous said...

Just to correct Jim T (sorry), there are actually 5 British actresses who have 6 Oscar nominations.

You forgot Deborah Kerr, unless you mean only those who are still alive.

Jim T said...

Anonymous 7:51, I am ashamed to say that I thought Deborah Kerr was American (not that it would be a bad thing :p). Thank you for correcting me.

Scott said...

One of these days I should watch Educating Rita again. I remember loving that and Walters - but I might've been in elementary school when I saw it, so I don't know if I should still trust that impression.


scott i always grouped that Educating Rita performance in with things like "shirley valentine" like cute characters that people fall in love with in little films and then the actor automatically gets nominated --but i have no idea if this is a false impression since I've never seen the movie.

I do remember adults in 1983 talking about Educating Rita (maybe it was a sleeper hit or something?) so i really should get on that.

it's weird looking over the 80s nominees for every year because i've seen most of the performances but it took me until 1987 to start really trying to see things in the theater so that i could have an opinion ;) 87 is the first year i had ever seen all 5 best actress nominees and it wasn't until 1993 (eek) when i was in college when I actually managed to see all 5 best picture nominees. Of course once that started happening it didn't stop ;)

jim t i always forget that about Kerr too.

netshopper streep's rise was definitely meteoric yes. She was THE actress within 4 years of her debut which is quite fast.

james totally agree n sophie's choice. just watched it last night again. Streep is MAGNIFICENT in it. The film, not so much... but it's so involving anyway due to her work

gilidor yep. i think the two-wins record goes Rainer (28) Foster (29) and Swank (30) in terms of speed and then there's a few people who won both within their 30s.

cal roth said...

Streep's Oscar for Sophie is undisputable.

Next: I HATE Terms of Endearment, but I can live with MacLaine's win. My winner would be Walters.

cal roth said...

Come on: why didn't MacLaine win for The Apartment? Ok, f*cking Elizabeth Taylor won fer Butterfield 8. Awful.

If people didn't feel the obligation to award Terms of Enderment, the real thing that year would have won the main Oscars: The Right Stuff is a masterpiece.

cal roth said...

One last thing: I miss Jodie Foster so much. What a great actress!

Kent said...

I wish I were alive during Meryl Streep's win for SOPHIE'S CHOICE. I would've gone crazy over her. A very much deserved Oscar. Instantly one of the greatest performances of all time!

As of today, my 1982 nominees would be:
Julie Andrews -Victor Victoria
Diane Keaton -Shoot the Moon
Jessica Lange -Tootsie
Meryl Streep -Sophie's Choice
Debra Winger -An Officer and a Gentleman

I believe Shirley MacLaine rightfully deserved the Oscar in 1983. The role fitted her perfectly and it's a career best. I LOVE Streep as Karen Silkwood. A personal favorite of mine.

1983 nominees would be:
Shirley MacLaine -Terms of Endearment
Meryl Streep -Silkwood
Barbara Streisand -Yentl
Sigourney Weaver -The Year of Living Dangerously
Debra Winger -Terms of Endearment

par3182 said...

surprisingly, i agree 90% with the academy over these two years - only swapping out debra winger (o&g) for diane keaton in shoot the moon in '82

also agree with both wins, although julie walters comes a close second in '83

(my supporting actress winner in '83 is sandra bernhard in king of comedy)

Wayne B. said...

As usual I haven't seen many of these nominated performances, only "Terms of Endearment." I wouldn't mind seeing all the other nine though. Especially the five from '82; its amazing how well the line-up has held up over time.

Anonymous said...

i dont think any actress has ever approached the trail blazing glory of meryl between 1981 to 1984

French l woman
sophies choice

those 4 films end all arguments who is the greatest

although her last 4 years:
mamma mia
prairie home

have been astonishing in its versatility:
drama;comedy;musical;auteur film

long may the queen reign

Marsha Mason said...

If Streep hadn't won for "Sophie's" or Maclaine had won for "Apartment," Streep would have picked it up for "Silkwood," probably my favourite of her performances. She is de-glam without ever doing de-glam, a beautiful piece of naturalistic acting. People who accuse her of ticking like a clock need to see that one.

Fernando Moss said...

what I really want to see is how many more (if any, and I think there will be at least 1 or 2 some more) nominations can Winslet achieve now that she already won... She's not overdue anymore but they clearly like her... will she be able to break Streep's record? I think she's the only actress so far I can see doing so... but I kinda doubt it cuz she doesn't work as much as Streep does... but again she's really young...

Walter L. Hollmann said...

god help me, if I were Overlord of the Universe, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas would have nabbed noms for Miss Dolly and The Stache. But there is no arguing: Meryl in Sophie's Choice is devastating, deserving ten times over for that Oscar. Incredible.

Drew said...

Embarrassingly enough the only ones I've seen out of those ten nominated films are both Meryl's ones... and she is AMAZING in both of them.

Rachel said...

I think Cate Blanchett=Mery moreso than Winslet. Even though it took her a few years for that second nomination and eventual win for Oscar-bait, they didn't feel the need to stop rewarding her with nominations even going so far as two in one year. Winslet seems to have hit her peak and I don't think she'll be nominated as easily now that they've gotten her out the way.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I'm all Lange in '82. Somebody's gotta be. You can't distinguish her smarts from her self-destructive impulses, and you can see how this got written off as "crazy" and also that she was a little crazy, or even a lot, but also incredibly shrewd and almost embarrassingly perceptive. Genius.

Partly, I just think Sophie's Choice is so noxious as a piece of storytelling that I can't get near it; Frances' problems as a film are problems but they're not gross, like all the Romantic voiceover and fuzzy-lens mouth-watering over Sophie's Deep Traumatic Past. Even Meryl's performance, brilliant as it is, can't escape being complicit in the story's weirdly pornographic and rather sexist story construction.

Karen Silkwood is probably my favorite of all her performances, for all the reasons Marsha Mason articulated above. I've never really gotten the Educating Rita thing; even as a non-partisan of Sophie's Choice, it's just astonishing to remember that Walters' Rita beat Meryl's Sophie for the BAFTA. Huh??

Glenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn said...

Julie Walters in Educating Rita is, truly, one of my favourite performances. Period. I just her - and the film itself - so much. Terms of Endearment is great tho so I can't begrudge Maclaine her Oscar - she was very excellent. Add in Streep for Silkwood and you have one of the most impressive three female nominated performances in one given year I can remember.

Silkwood, btw, is my favourite film from those three though.

I haven't actually seen Sophie's Choice though. It appears to be a very fickle title to get ahold of down here. I can never find it anywhere.

dd said...

Sophies's choice.. Need we say more? That is the greatest and most memorable performace by actress of all time. There is no competitor ever. and will never.

and silkwood is also one of her strongest perfornmace, I do love it so much. I impressed shirley's portrayal in Terms of endearment. she deserved it!

mrripley said...

i know she was technically too old but i recently rewatched yentl and simply adored streisand in it forget her age and she sells it scene after scene although 83 is all about meryl for me and still rates in my top 5 meryl perfs.

catty said...

SOPHIE'S CHOICE.. Need I say more?
if this movie didn't come out that year, she would have won anytime she nominated. she deserved it 789 times.

Her Sophie is the greatest and outstanding performance by actress of all time. There is no competitor ever, and will never.

and about silkwood, oh I love this film, and that's one of meryl's strongest performance.
but I do Love shirley's portrayal in Terms of Endearment, That was amazing. so deserved it too.

Terris said...

Sophie's choice: best performance by an actress ever!
The most deserved Oscar!

mrripley said...

why do people prefer sophies choice is it the weight loss accant holocaust etc they are voting for when silkwood is a far harder role to pull off greatly.

MRRIPLEY said...


Terris said...

I also think that the only reason why Meryl didn't win in 1983 was because she had get an Oscar the previous year for Sophie. But she'd have deserved to win for Silkwood, too!

Probably Meryl won only two statuettes -despite the great performances she gave in all her carrier- because of the fact that most of these performances were too close each other and the Academy would have never awarded her an year after another...

Howler said...

I don't want to be rude, but Meryl's Polish accent in "Sophie's Choice" wasn't good at all (I'm Polish), so drooling over her accent work seems a little over the top to me. Polish is extremely difficult to learn and I'd be very surprised if she had managed to pull off believable accent. She was obviously great in the role, but not due to this.

adelutza said...

In my opinion Meryl should've gotten the second Oscar with Silkwood, not Sophie's Choice. Not that she wasn't great is Sophie's Choice, but the film itself wasn't, and such , her performance can really be appreciated only by fans who actually watch it despite being a mess of a film. On the other hand, Silkwood is a compelling film that makes everybody watch and her performance (together with Cher's) shines even more because of that.

E Dot said...

Can I just say, I love this series. Nice work!

adri said...

There were definitely great dramatic performances in 1982 (and I love them). We kind of tend to put Julie Andrews to the side, as a comedy performance. But Victor/Victoria is one of the movies that I can't turn off when it's on TV. I've seen it so many times and Andrews stays fresh, and every time I think, why didn't she get more credit for this? Drama trumps comedy every time, but Andrews delivered a perfect performance.


adri i totally agree about Julie. She would be in my list for sure... probably even a medalist.

Anonymous said...

Terris: Well Tom Hanks won his two Oscars two years in a row and the second 1 was for Forrest Gump which was, in my opinion, very one-noted for Tom Hanks. Anyway, the Academy, had they not felt ashamed for ignoring Shirley McLaine earlier in her career, I think Meryl would have won for Silkwood. My only other explanation is that the Academy was on dope that year.

Sean said...

Best Actress - 1982
1. Sissy Spacek - Missing
2. Glenn Close - The World According to Garp
3. Julie Andrews - Victor/Victoria
4. Debra Winger - An Officer and a Gentleman
5. Dolly Parton - The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Best Actress - 1983
1. Jane Alexander - Testament
2. Shirley MacLaine - Terms of Endearment
3. Meryl Streep - Silkwood
4. Mary Steenburgen - Cross Creek
5. Julie Walters - Educating Rita

Alex said...

Anyone else here on Team Winger for Best Actress in '83? I thought there'd be more for some reason...

Davey said...

"Sophie's Choice" is one of the lead actress pinnacles, so no qualms about Meryl's Oscar win that year. I really liked "Silkwood," but it was Shirley's time, and "Terms of Endearment" was wonderful for what it was. I haven't seen "Educating Rita" or "Testament" though. These countdowns are really putting me to shame.

Kev said...

Nope, Team Shirley all the Way!

Meryl was an acting goddess in "Sophie's Choice", and I'm still awed to this day over what she pulled off in that film. It truly is one of the most stunning lead actress turns that we'll probably see in our lifetimes.

Debra's Winger said...

The rightful winners would have been

1. Streep
2. Lange
3. Winger
4. Spacek
5. Andrews

1. Winger
2. Alexander
3. Maclaine
4. Streep
5. Walters


i love Winger in TERMS but i'm fonder of Shirley overall... i dunno. i was really happy for Shirley that year.

but maybe it's like 87 with Cher. as much as maybe the other performances are better i was so so happy for Cher.

it's years like that where i understand the very common habit of giving hte Oscar to whoever everyone is in love with that year. Thankfully most of hte time i can divorce myself from that flavor of the year obsession problem.

part of me thinks Meryl deserved it in 83 and despite all my cheerleading... i do not always think meryl is THE best. And she probably wouldn't have 15 nominations if i ran the world, though she's be in the double digits with ease...) i think SILKWOOD is one of her very best.

Alfred Soto said...

I'm with Nick on the badness of Sophie's Choice, except Streep's perf is an academic stunt. No way is she better than the year's best actress, Diane Keaton in Shoot the Moon

Jessica Lange in Frances would have been my second choice, even though the film has, as someone already pointed out, the dubious honor of being, like Ma Vie En Rose, one of those awful films with fantastic performances.

As for 1983, this was Debra Winger's year; she made that rote TV movie come alive. MacLaine should have won for The Apartment (and she's an overrated actress anyway).

I Heart Marisa Tomei said...

I actually watched Sophie's Choice in the past month, and even though I haven't seen all the female nominated performances that year, no one, absolutely NO ONE could have touched Meryl that year. It truly is one of the most astonishing performances ever given by an actress OR actor. This has to be one of the greatest performances ever captured on film. Absolutely stunning.

And actually I didn't think the film was THAT bad. La Vie en Rose, I can understand (I thought the film was terrible, but Marion was superb). But despite the film's flaws, Meryl's performance elevates the film to a level that wouldn't have been possible if the role had been played by a lesser actress.

Ryan X said...

*keaton, shoot the moon
2] lange, frances
3] dennis, come back to the 5 & dime, jimmy dean, jimmy dean
4] streep, sophie's choice
5] spacek, missing

*winger, terms of endearment
2] walters, educating rita
3] streep, silkwood
4] bedelia, heart like a wheel
5] steenburgen, cross creek