Thursday, July 01, 2010

Meryl Streep's "Iron Lady" and Her Political Films

Received a message on Twitter this morning requesting my thoughts on Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. Seems she's in talks to star as the Iron Lady herself in an early 80s set film about the lead up to the Falklands War. [src]

My thoughts, eh?

Me think about Streep? Never! But with Great Hope Springs and this one, it seems that the two-time Oscar winner will just keep reaching for the bait until a third is hers.

Though I can already sense that the rest of the internet will be gung-ho about this idea, I would urge caution. Perhaps it's silly to get caught up in any "Meryl will win her third Oscar for Thatcher" speculation.

The rest of the internet seems to have forgotten that this film will supposedly reunite Meryl with her Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd. Since Lloyd couldn't even manage the basic building blocks of film in Mamma Mia! (camera placement, editing, etcetera) and since there'll be no buoyant ABBA tunes to gloss over film weaknesses, and since Thatcher won't give Streep the opportunity to win shocked/amused hearts by jumping around with boundless 'can-you-believe-I'm-practically-a-senior-citizen?' energy ... well, I can't really see this as a crowd pleaser or a serious Oscar bait project. Yet.

The cynicism comes from another more political place, too. Though I greatly admire Meryl Streep's political activism offscreen and love it when she gets political in her acceptance speeches at awards shows, I'm not sure she's a true fit for political films. The last time I saw Streep playing a conservative politican (The Manchurian Candidate) I found it to be one of her hammiest and most predictable performances. And the great actress's other recent political films Lions for Lambs and Rendition didn't interest the public or Oscar voters. In point of fact, none of her political films have.

from left to right: The Seduction of Joe Tynan, Plenty,
The Manchurian Candidate, Rendition, Lions for Lambs


Zero Oscar nominations for a movie set in the political world probably doesn't sound that shocking until you stop to consider this second fact: Meryl Streep has appeared in 43 pictures and she has been nominated for 16 of them. That 37% nomination ratio beats just about anyone in any field (save James Dean of course). Yet, this seems to be the genre that wins her no love.

But then there's the biopic factor. And that's significant. That could change things.

I am sad to imagine that Streep would have to resort to mimicry to win (For all that she's given the cinema, to use a commoner's tactic?) but it may come to that since they never have time for her as a "winner" and they always have time for biographical performances. Thatcher is certainly a well known figure with an instantly recognizable voice that people will love hearing Streep nail in the same way people loved those flouncy vowels from Julie & Julia. [Note: Julia could, come to think of it, destroy my thesis since she plays a government official's wife in that one and was nominated. But the kitchen is that film's true location, not the government.]

Here's a few pie charts I whipped up about the past decade in Oscar acting winning character trends: real people in blue, fictional characters in red.


One could argue that the Academy voters can only choose from what films are made and released and women are the leads in fewer pictures than men. It's possible (though I'd like to see statistics) that they get more "true story" opportunities than not because you can't exactly change someone's gender in a biopic for better bankability (let's leave the hugely depressing 'men are more bankable' factor out of the conversation). But regardless, it's clear that when it comes to the Best Actress category itself, The Academy values character creation less than character recreation. That totally disturbs me though I readily admit it disturbs me far more than it does your average Oscar watcher and more than once I've been told to shut up about it already. Maybe it's just a personal hangup.

So this is why I was rooting so hard for Meryl Streep to win in 2006 for The Devil Wears Prada and Johnny Depp to win in 2003 for The Pirates of the Caribbean. Creating a perfectly realized instantly classic character that people will obsess about for years to come, even if you're creating it from bits and pieces of real life figures of your choosing, is far more of an imaginative creative feat for an actor than recreating the vocal cadences and posture of a famous person.

"I said to myself. 'Go ahead, take a chance. Hire the smart fat girl'"

That's all.

Are you excited to see Streep as Thatcher or do you wish she'd hook up with a true auteur who would challenge her mightily. Was Adaptation (2002) the last time?
*

73 comments:

Mina said...

I personally would like to see her play Thatcher, not because of it possibly being Oscar bait, but because I would genuinely like to see her take of it. She would do it perfectly.

I don't think it's important to overanalyze her history with political characters (who for the most part were in supporting roles), and were not as memorable as they could have been.

I am happy to see her in anything, and I don't think she's revolving her career around getting an Oscar nomination.

NATHANIEL R said...

i'm usually (almost always) happy to see her too. i just wish she'd go for something really meaty with a great director. It's been ages since she let an Altman, Jonze or Eastwood type guide her.

i guess i'm officially way more excited about GREAT HOPE SPRINGS now that it's supposedly Mike Nichols.

Lara said...

This Thatcher project sounds boring. Like that Nixon movie from a couple of years back. Yes, I wish she would choose a bit more daring roles. While I enjoyed most of her work the last years (except that Nancy Meyers movie, that was crap, and I haven't seen Doubt), she hasn't done really challenging things. Time to do it again. Was Angels of America before or after Adaptation?

James T said...

Jesus Nathaniel, the Balkan Wars were long before the Falklands War

I have no idea what Freud would get out of that one :p

(I'm not being a smartasss. It's just that the Balkan Wars involved my country)

Kev said...

I'm excited about this! It's Margaret Thatcher! Come on, the Academy's going to eat this up with a spoon. Doesn't matter that it's a "political film." It's a biopic starring Meryl Streep playing a female icon. But I love biopics, so whatever. With this and "Great Hope Springs," it's clear that Meryl actively wants that third Oscar. I can't blame her, and time's a'tickin'. But Phyllida Lloyd directing? Gross. "Mamma Mia!" was wretched, and I blame that woman for her inept direction, framing, and sequencing. If anyone can transcend that though, it's Meryl. But to really seal the deal for the third Oscar, this will need to be a best picture nominee, and I doubt that Lloyd has it in her for that. Hope that's not the case, and maybe the past momentum of these losses will help Streep out finally.

James T said...

I don't really want her to win for mimicry but desperate times...

It's true that even a nomination isn't a sure thing but Meryl playing Thatcher is surely very baity and if she gets the nod, she probably gets the win, too.

About the director: Yes, I'd prefer another one but the movie only needs to be "The Blind Side" good. Not that hard as I've been told.

Though to be honest I might prefer her winning for the movie with Bridges. I read that Mike Nichols is in talks to direct it.

troyhopper said...

Snooze. Wake me when it's over. I have grown weary of biopics, whether they cover the expanse of a person's life or a snapshot. They are all pretty much the same.

Like you, Nate, I wanted Meryl to win for "The Devil Wears Prada" for the simple fact that I got a sense while watching the movie that something iconic was occurring. That Cruelle DeVille hair. That icy demeanor. That voice that barely rose above a whisper. Those instantly quotable quips. With all due respect to Helen Mirren, there isn't much distinct I can recall about her performance.

Anywho, I would love to see Streep paired with Spike Lee, as it would at least be interesting if nothing else.

Gerry said...

I'm looking forward to this Thatcher biopic. Call it "The Iron Lady." That would be badass.

And I would have nodded Streep for "The Manchurian Candidate" in supporting actress.

SoSueMe said...

I hope this Thatcher film is a Monty Python style broad slapstick comedy. Wouldn't it make it so much more interesting?

And when are Spielberg and Scorsese going to give her a LEAD role in one of their films?

Caroline said...

It's the whole "prestige" factor winning over the Oscar audience - an Oscar winner for an Oscar-winning movie - and until then, original characters will be rewarded only second fiddle to biopics (that's why the Supporting Actor category has been a bit more interesting in the past few years - consider the Joker or Hans Landa)

Lara said...

JamesT, I thought you're from Greece?

Borg said...

For me, I would love to see a great BRITISH actress take on a great BRITISH icon. How about, say, Emma Thompson or Miranda Richardson for the role? It's not as if Meryl needs the work.

MRRIPLEY said...

I think they should hire a brit emma t could do it.

I too would've nominated her for the manchurian candidate ( what is wrong with her in that)!!!

Michael Parsons said...

I am excited about Thatcher simply because the woman can mimic, but she also add to the mimicry. However I do agree with your outrage about Actresses in biography's wining more than portraying a fictional character.

It is still a sexist world out there. Men are lauded louder in the press than their female counterparts for performances that are either equal to, or less than (except on here). So unless the press changes and starts reporting on the brilliance on actresses then the Academy won't.

James T said...

Lara, yes I am.

/3rtfu11 said...

I am sad to imagine that Streep would have to resort to mimicry to win (For all that she's given the cinema, to use a commoner's tactic?) but it may come to that since they never have time for her as a "winner" and they always have time for biographical performances.

Since this performance is a leading one -- you should accept that she’ll only win in this category for following Academy protocol. Sophie’s Choice – Holocaust themes, tragic heroin, multiple languages (technical)

I just wish she'd go for something really meaty with a great director. It's been ages since she let an Altman, Jonze or Eastwood type guide her.

Streep picks projects she’d like to see.
I bet her taste is more Vanilla than avant-garde.

NATHANIEL R said...

@Michael -- i just find it so strange because pound for pound women are better actors than men [/gross generalization] or at least they get roles that require them to display a wider range of emotions.

@Borg -- good point.

@Troy -- exactly. an instantly iconic creation. How is Helen Mirren's portrait all that different than any other portrait of a royal struggling with how best to rule? Both Dench and Streep were providing master classes in character building that year. (sigh)

/3rtfu11 said...

I am sad to imagine that Streep would have to resort to mimicry to win (For all that she's given the cinema, to use a commoner's tactic?) but it may come to that since they never have time for her as a "winner" and they always have time for biographical performances.

Since this performance is a leading one -- you should accept that she’ll only win in this category for following Academy protocol. Sophie’s Choice – Holocaust themes, tragic heroin, multiple languages (technical)

I just wish she'd go for something really meaty with a great director. It's been ages since she let an Altman, Jonze or Eastwood type guide her.

Streep picks projects she’d like to see.
I bet her taste is more Vanilla than avant-garde.

Yi said...

Yes Meryl biopic Thatcher is great news.

Yi said...

Yes Meryl biopic Thatcher is great news.

Alex said...

I was really holding out for Emma Thompson to play Thatcher. Oh well.

On the Phyllida Lloyd point, I was able to catch Mary Stuart on Broadway last year and it was very good, so I trust her dramatic chops more than her musical ones. Transition to film is still dicey, though.

Doesn't A Prairie Home Companion count as her last auteur venture?

billybil said...

Oh my God YES - why doesn't she find some crazy, complicated, fascinating part - they have to be out there somewhere - and wipe the floor with all of us???!!!! I honestly believe she could do it but where is the role?

Thatcher - ho hum - and I WORSHIP the Streep - but - Thatcher - ho hum.

I'm not even sure the Nichols movie sounds big enough. She needs a part that absolutely tears the walls down and then some - I don't know, maybe she will have to take Sunset Blvd away from Glenn...

But surely somewhere out there someone has written/is writing the role that will knock us all dead. Is the part in OSANGE COUNTRY that role???

Drew said...

I don't honestly see Streep as being a great fit to play Thatcher, other than the idea that Thatcher must be a "great role" and Streep is a "great actress". The only thing I can see connecting them is that they're both women. I completely agree with Borg - Emma Thompson or Miranda Richardson would be better.

That said, I do have to say, quality of the film notwithstanding, I thought Meryl did some fine, understated work in Lions for Lambs. But she's obviously finer when the film is about complex emotion.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to Great Hope Springs directed by Nichols. This, I think, could land Streep her third Oscar. Streep needs to finally work with a strong director again and this could be the one...

Yancey said...

billybil, that knock 'em dead role is Violet Weston in "August: Osage County." That role has Oscar written all over it whoever gets it. Seriously.

Lara said...

(sorry for hi-jacking this thread)

JamesT, colour me confused, but what do you mean with Greece was involved in the 90's Balkan Wars? Geographically near or through UN/ NATO involvement? Or are you referring to Macedonia?

Jose said...

I love Meryl in Prada but wasn't she also working with some "reality" even there? I mean after all she was interpreting a fictionalized version of Anna Wintour. Anyone who's seen "The September Issue" or is into the whole Vogue culture knows what I'm talking about.
As for the '06 race, no actress gave a better performance than Penélope Cruz in "Volver".

James T said...

I think your clarification meant that you did suspect we were not talking about the same thing :p

I did think Nathaniel might refer to the 90's war but the Balkan Wars is the name of the events in the first quarter of the 20th century. Anyway, that's what I meant.

billybil said...

Good to hear it Yancey - I realized after I'd published that I'd mispelled Osage but I got through to you anyway. I had a feeling this might be that type of role and so I'm praying that Streep gets it - I know the casting of this has been discussed a lot in several blogs - and not everyone feels Streep is right for it. We'll see. Thanks again.

Lara said...

James, Now I see. :-)

Michael said...

I'm not a huge Streep fan, but when I am a fan of hers its when she's doing her own thing in movies like "Adaptation." Can Sofia Coppola please find a part for Ms. Streep?

charlie said...

Thatcher isn't even that difficult a role. About 20 British actresses have played her on British TV in the last few years, all with reasonable success.

Oscarbait at it's worst. No surprise, considering it's Streep though.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

It's so strange, her Manchurian Candidate performance is one my favorite Streeps. But I also love Mamma Mia!, so what does that say? Personally, I like biopics that do the Event Defines the Subject route, as opposed to the Life Story route reserved for musicians.

And if her performance is half as restrained as Mirren's in The Queen, or as Streep's in Adaptation, than I'm in (I'm in anyway because it's Streep, but you know what I mean). Lately, it seems like we've been getting one BIG PERFORMANCE after another: Sister Aloysius, Donna Sheridan, Julia Child. I miss the subtlety and grace of Adaptation, Sophie's Choice, The Bridges of Madison County, A Prairie Home Companion...

Luiserghio said...

La Strep needs a "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" of her own! or work to an amazing auteur :) I love her, and I can see what a master she is in acting, but for some reason always is someone else, less deserving.

I dont' know, what the hell she have to do to win her third Oscar, I don't want it for Thatcher, and I want it for lead, because for supporting would be like a slap in the face, at this point she needs a crazy real person, deglam, almost absurd old lady, but at the same time with a tragic story, to win the elusive third! :(

Alex said...

We'll have to wait 20 more years for Meryl to get a Jessica Tandy Oscar.

Arkaan said...

1. I'm pretty much always excited when Streep takes on a role. Margaret Thatcher is a challenging, complex figure.

2. Nathaniel, do you not think SILKWOOD could be considered political.

3. One thing that startles me in this conversation is the general LACK of oscar bait in Streep's recent career choices. At this point, Meryl Streep appearing in a film is oscar bait. Beyond that....

Greatflick said...

I find it strange that nobody has mentioned the great Jim Broadbent will be playing Thatcher's husband opposite Streep. Remember... when Streep shines best is when she is opposite another good actor to bounce things off. I bet they have great chemistry. But her other movie with Mike Nichols possibly sounds just as enticing.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

I agree with you all:

1) Meryl seems all kinds of wrong for the part, but I think if momentum builds - and you know this one will have it - and never goes away (which is also probable, as biopic + british + famous person + notorious historic moment + Streep doing a real-life person + Streep acting = GOLD).

I don't want her to gain all the buzz and then lose it all over again and probably again to a stupid lame-ass performer in need of «career-best» accolades or in the form of a fresh face in the cinema scene who is builing up to an Oscar win (I'm looking at you Mulligan! 2009 An Education, 2010 Never Let Me Go. In 2012 you know what she's doing, right? My Fair Lady? Doesn't it reek of Oscar bait?) or, God forbid, Jodie Foster or Hilary Swank win AGAIN.

Although I'd fancy more them winning a 3rd than Witherspoon or Bullock winning a 2nd for the same schtick from the 1st time (and I liked Reese's June Carter).

2) 2006 is a pet peeve of mine. HOW in a year where actresses like Maggie Gylenhaal and Penelope Cruz are in such great shape, Kate Winslet, Toni Colette and Judi Dench are all kinds of awesome and Meryl Streep crafts one hell of a character (even if, like Jose says, it's partially 'real' - she IS a fictionalized version of Wintour - yet it's an extraordinarily outstanding one (like Vanessa Williams in Ugly Betty)) we get Helen Mirren winning.

It's not that she's bad (she isn't) and the performance is interesting but... comparing to the others... And comparing to Mirren's career (it's so outre compared to her other career best achievements.... She SO deserved it more for Gosford Park for instance)... It's a pity.

But when Nathaniel reaches 2006 I'll expand my rant and unleash my demons.

3) Lastly, I just want to say I want her to win for a good film. I HATE the Kate Winslet backlash for her 2008 win which is one of the most reasonable wins of the decade. She's not at all bad in that movie.

And this Thatcher film feels like a terrible flop (I could be wrong though).

And I, for one, don't want her to get the AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY role as well. Because everyone - and I mean really everyone - will downplay her performance, no matter how sheerfully brilliant it'll be - just because «that part was always meant to win the Oscar».


I want (no, I DEMAND!) Jonathan Demme to come out of his shell and craft an amazing portrait of an extraordinary woman who can match Streep's excellence on and off-screen. Or if he's not available, Van Sant. Or Todd Haynes. Or PT Anderson (hey, I love him and his movies A LOT, Day-Lewis, Watson, Moore, Sandler and Wahlberg gave career-best acts with him AND he made PS Hoffman interesting not once, not twice, but three times)

Jorge Rodrigues said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jorge Rodrigues said...

One amazing thought just occured to me:


Baz Luhrmann + musical + Meryl Streep.


What else can you possibly hope for? Match made in heaven. Meryl's agents, get to it.

Timothy said...

I don't know on what planet Kate Winslet's awful win was one of the most reasonable of the decade, but that's off topic. I think that Streep is perfect for the Thatcher role. Many didn't think she had the physicality to pull off Julia Child either, and look at what she did with that role. It's all in the costuming, voice, makeup, etc.

I don't get all of the doubting of her casting. She was meant to play this role, and it isn't even the first time that her name's been mentioned for playing Thatcher. If this is good enough for her third Oscar, then by all means, lock and load, Meryl! This could be wonderful.

And I'm going to give this director the benefit of the doubt too. She's done some heavy theater work too in Britain, so maybe all hope isn't lost there. She might have been out of her element in "Mamma Mia" is all.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

It's not HER that is all kinds of wrongs, it's 'the idea of her'. I thought she was already giving up on the whole Oscar thing and doing whatever stuff pleases her.

I don't want her to do this biopic just to win the Oscar. If she does this, I'm hoping for an amazing performance. That was my point.


And Kate Winslet... How can it not be reasonable? It's not her finest performance but she had a great year and she had been building up to that win for years. And although I think Meryl is very good in Doubt, I don't think she deserved to win. And so I was more than happy to see Winslet win. Even if that meant that three more fabulous performances (Melissa Leo, Anne Hathaway and Sally Hawkins) went without winning. Because Kate deserved it.


I LOVE MERYL. LOVE. But Kate Winslet HAD to win. She could not have ended this decade with 0 Oscars. No effin' way. And Meryl has two already. It's not like she has not been rewarded (of course if it were by me, she'd have 4 by now but...)

Timothy said...

I'm not getting into another discussion on what shit "The Reader" was or Kate Winslet's win. This is about Meryl and the Thatcher role, and I think it's a great role for her to take on. And while she isn't the first person I'd think to do the "August: Osage County" role, that doesn't mean that she wouldn't rock the hell out of that too. Look at who we're taking about here. But yes, there are other actresses right off the bat that I think would be equally good as Violet or better (like Jessica Lange, Grace Zabreskie, Susan Sarandon, and duh, Deanna Dunagan, who I'd salivate over if she landed the film version of this).

Jorge Rodrigues said...

Yeah The Reader was a piece of garbage :) (but ok, end of discussion)


I know Meryl will be awesome in August: Osage County. It's just that since she has nothing else to prove and she can probably pick whatever role she wants, I've always hoped that her 3rd win would be for something extraordinary, that matched and complemented her brilliance.


But we can't always get what we want, I guess, so go Meryl for #3 with Thatcher.

Although I'd prefer she'd join Baz in the musical film I'm already envisioning in my head :D

Paul Outlaw said...

Read the last page of this article and think of Streep. It puts the role of Thatcher in a somewhat different light:

Martin, Maggie, and Me

vg21 said...

It's funny that when Meryl took roles in films such as Mamma Mia! and It's Complicated, everyone hammered her for going for little sophisticated projects. When she is about to star in a biopic, everyone cries Oscar bait. Come on. Has anyone ever thought that the reason for her not taking the perfect, bringing-down-the-house part is that it may not be out there? It's generally acknowledged that women at Meryl's age do not receive great parts and her example has always been referred to as the single greatest exception to this phenomenon. But it does not mean she can always choose from a variety of great scripts with great directors.

I’m happy she arrived at a point in her career that she could choose projects she felt excited about because I don’t think she owes any of her professional decisions to the liking of us, viewers. (Since we are really hard to please: unsophisticated vs. Oscar baity). Judging from her image so far, I wouldn’t ever think she will take the Thatcher role in desperatation to win her third Oscar.

The one decision to make for that purpose was her taking a long break, letting one (maybe more?) award season(s) occurring without her involved so that Academy voters could get rid off their habit of nominating her without seriously considering her for the win. I feel that if she ever gets nominated again (she will), it will be a more thought-over decision with the real possibility of winning, providing she gives a performance that good.

vg21 said...

Okay, I may have been too harsh: women at Meryl's age tend to receive good parts much less frequently than ...anybody else, I guess, and her example has always been one of the few exceptions. But apart from that I mean what I wrote.

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

Wait a minute, isn't Phyllida Law Emma Thompson's mother? Geez, hire your own damn daughter for cripe's sake. She's wallowing in crap like Last Chance Harvey (in which she was brilliant, but what can you do?).

And I just want to go on record as the only person on earth apparently who loved Meryl in Plenty and thought it was a toss-up whether she should be nominated for that or Out of Africa.

vg21 said...

Phyllida Law is indeed Emma Thompson's mother, but the director is Phyllida Lloyd :).

James T said...

Hey, I really liked Last Chance Harvey. Not brilliant but got nothing to be jealous of, let's say, Notting Hill. Decent writing and great performances.

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

You mean all this time I gave Mamma Mia a pass because I thought it was directed by Emma Thompson's Mother and it wasn't?!

Well then who the hell is Phyllida Lloyd? And how on earth can there be two semi-famous Phyllida's out there? It must be a British thing. ;-)

And when I say Last Chance Harvey was crappy, it wasn't really, but Emma saved it and yet his name is in the title and everyone talked about Dustin Hoffman. Ugh.

Kimberly said...

Little late to the party (damn you, bipolar work schedule!)

I'm surprised she's already getting into new projects. After all the recent movies and hollywood obligations that come with it (2noms back to back looks like a LOT of work) - she kept talking about a well deserved break. I guess when something good comes your way you can't just let it walk on by. But, where is the return to The Great White Way we were all promised, Mary Louise? Ya, I said it. Shut everyone up talking about the 3rd Oscar win and Triple Crown 'em!!! Go for the Tony if you want an award, I beg of you.

Truth be told I'm giddy as a school girl at the promise of Great Hope Springs. Streep & Nichols together again, be still my heart. I love that he challenges her. They've know one another long enough, before she was quite the phenom she is now. He'll at least do more than fawn over her - I'm looking at you Nancy & Nora!

As for Meryl as Maggie Thatcher, meh. No doubt she could do it. But, why should she. Many others would be more suited (mentioned here) and the film wouldn't be overwhelmed by the "Look! It's Meryl! Doing an accent! Playing a REAL person!" thing. That was a real drag with J&J. I'd rather her stay away from biopics for a while.

I second Sofia Coppola directing her. (Yes!)
And would LOVE to see Jonathan Demme get a chance (Yes, Yes, YES!) even get back to Spike Jonze!! Please & Thank you!

Arkaan said...

1. Dave in Almanitos Beach

Phylidia Lloyd is a noted stage director. Her most acclaimed work was probably the Mary Stuart revival at the Donmar and on Broadway (McTeer and Walter both scored Tony nominations, and the translation by Oswald is amazing).

2. I'm pretty sure if we travel back to the early 90's, we can find "is Meryl right for comedies" articles, which makes this "is Meryl right for the political" discussion particularly amusing.

3. I'll defend Mirren's win for a minute. Yes, the script was shallow (but none of the nominees had a rich script that year), but I admire her performance immensely and in that line-up, it was the correct choice. Dench would've been fine too.

4. Not getting started on Winslet, but I find it interesting that Jorge is praising her win through an oscar/career narrative, and not of the victory itself. I'd argue that the narrative Winslet's victory is a part of renders it so difficult for many to embrace, despite appreciation of the actress and her career.

James T said...

Arkaan - Nathaniel didn'e ask wheher "Meryl is right for the political" or not. He just said that she hasn't been nominated for that kind of roles.

brandz said...

I think Streep will be superb as Thatcher and I can't wait! I can already picture her in this role. My guess is she is considering this part because Thatcher was such a strong woman. Jim Broadbent will be a huge plus.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, James T. But given that he mentions The Manchurian Candidate negative and says "I'm not sure she's a true first for political films" in his post, I don't think my glib comment is that far off.

Anonymous said...

NAT,

check the facts:

- The Deer Hunter
- Silkwood

BOTH are political movies and La Streep got nods with them

Arkaan said...

"negative" should read "negatively"

"first" should read "fit"

"Anonymous" should read "Arkaan" or "stupid error maker"

two posts ago

/3rtfu11 said...

I know Meryl will be awesome in August: Osage County. It's just that since she has nothing else to prove and she can probably pick whatever role she wants, I've always hoped that her 3rd win would be for something extraordinary, that matched and complemented her brilliance.

3rd Oscars are sentimental (except Walter Brennan). They’re how the Academy feels about a legendary actor more so than simply earned on merit.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly accurate on the political film noms things. Sure she never got any noms for those.

BUT, in 1979 she was nommed for "Kramer vs. Kramer" in supporting and she couldn't have been nominated in the category twice. The same goes for the year of "Plenty" when she got nommed for the far more popular "Out of Africa."

Both of those films won best picture and did well with the academy - making them the obvious choice for Streep to be singled out those years regardless of the strength of her performances. So really, she hasn't made it in for 3 out of 5, which isn't so bad.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Meryl in The Devil Wears Prada 2. Miranda is such a memorable character why not reuse it?

Brian said...

much as I respect Meryl, this role should belong to Emma Thompson. She was practically preparing for it as the Headmistress in An Education...

estienne64 said...

Since the accession of Margaret Thatcher/Mrs T/Maggie/Attila the Hen/She Who Must Be Obeyed/The Leaderene/Scratch in 1979 we in the UK have seen no end of imitators - political (stand up, Mr Blair), satirical and, most recently, thespian. The best Thatcher I've seen so far was the British actress Andrea Riseborough, who played her as a young housewife and aspiring MP in a BBC film a couple of years ago: despite a painting-by-numbers script (a BBC film, see?), she managed to be physically right (the unexpected dumpiness, the metamorphosing voice, the terrifying blue eyes, the perverse attractiveness) as well as capturing the woman's formidable focus and slight bafflement. But of course the period setting relieved her of the responsibility of playing the iconic Prime Minister. I'm not sure I'm really feeling either Streep or Thompson. Mimicry isn't really the problem, as Thatcher herself had a "constructed" voice. (Actually, the woman we saw was a construct on most levels.) My suggestion is, give it to Mirren, and then she can have an audience with herself as the Queen.

cal roth said...

I think Streep landed one of the best performances in Prada because she didn't have to sound real. It was all about to create an icon. Masterclass, indeed.

But...

I love Mirren. It was not only being "royal". There were so many discreet notes in that performance that I can't count them. So tiny, so minimal.

But...

The best of the year were Judi Dench and Winslet. A perfect tie, for me.

Ian said...

I think Meryl's going to be fine as Margaret Thatcher. All it'll take is the right wig, costumes, and makeup. You know the accent will be more than taken care of. I easily see it visually, and this could be one of her best gets, "mimicry" aside (which I don't see as some low-level form of acting at all -- it can be just as impressive to bring to life someone extremely well-known as it is to build someone up from scratch). Not too happy with Lloyd as the director though. I see that Meryl wants to help female directors out and all, but after "Mamma Mia!', I'm not at all confident in a return pairing of those two together. Hope the script is a strong one at least.

I could talk about the 2006 race forever since it's one of my all-time favorite best actress lineups, so forgive the diatribe. I adored Helen Mirren in "The Queen," and so much more was going on there than mere mimicry. It was a great Oscar win. But there was also four other nominees doing some of their best work too. I think that Penelope Cruz reached her pinnacle with "Volver." My God she was awesome in that. I didn't necessarily think I was seeing something iconic with Meryl in "Prada" at first view, but after seeing it a couple more times, I see the genius behind Miranda Priestley. Not sure I would have picked it as the winner though. As obnoxious as the incessant talk is over her third Oscar, I still want Meryl's third win to be for something weighty and dramatic. That's just how I feel about it. It's another reason why I wasn't in tears about her losing for "Julie & Julia" (among other reasons). I thought "Little Children" was great, so I would have been fine if the stars aligned for Kate Winslet to finally win for that than the poor film she ended up winning for. And if you wanna talk about masterclass acting, see Judi Dench in "Notes on a Scandal." Really the lineup is a brilliant one. I waver with my choices all the time. It's also interesting in the "real-life vs. new character" debate too.

But yeah, great news with Meryl and the Thatcher role. With this and "Great Hope Springs" with Bridges, it seems like this self-imposed break of hers was short-lived. I wasn't expecting it to be long anyway. Now it's time to get her on Broadway so she can start working on that EGOT.

Ian said...

I think Meryl's going to be fine as Margaret Thatcher. All it'll take is the right wig, costumes, and makeup. You know the accent will be more than taken care of. I easily see it visually, and this could be one of her best gets, "mimicry" aside (which I don't see as some low-level form of acting at all -- it can be just as impressive to bring to life someone extremely well-known as it is to build someone up from scratch). Not too happy with Lloyd as the director though. I see that Meryl wants to help female directors out and all, but after "Mamma Mia!', I'm not at all confident in a return pairing of those two together. Hope the script is a strong one at least.

I could talk about the 2006 race forever since it's one of my all-time favorite best actress lineups, so forgive the diatribe. I adored Helen Mirren in "The Queen," and so much more was going on there than mere mimicry. It was a great Oscar win. But there was also four other nominees doing some of their best work too. I think that Penelope Cruz reached her pinnacle with "Volver." My God she was awesome in that. I didn't necessarily think I was seeing something iconic with Meryl in "Prada" at first view, but after seeing it a couple more times, I see the genius behind Miranda Priestley. Not sure I would have picked it as the winner though. As obnoxious as the incessant talk is over her third Oscar, I still want Meryl's third win to be for something weighty and dramatic. That's just how I feel about it. It's another reason why I wasn't in tears about her losing for "Julie & Julia" (among other reasons). I thought "Little Children" was great, so I would have been fine if the stars aligned for Kate Winslet to finally win for that than the poor film she ended up winning for. And if you wanna talk about masterclass acting, see Judi Dench in "Notes on a Scandal." Really the lineup is a brilliant one. I waver with my choices all the time. It's also interesting in the "real-life vs. new character" debate too.

But yeah, great news with Meryl and the Thatcher role. With this and "Great Hope Springs" with Bridges, it seems like this self-imposed break of hers was short-lived. I wasn't expecting it to be long anyway. Now it's time to get her on Broadway so she can start working on that EGOT.

okinawaassault said...

I've said it in other sites and I'll say it again: The Emma Thompson FYC is good, but I wanna see either Judy Davis or Kristin Scott Thomas with the role too. Or raise Wendy Hiller from the dead, because the two women look alike.

adam k. said...

Yeah, Judy Davis would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Well, I thinks that's the curse for being to most nominated actress in Oscar history.

The film's not even made, but the Oscar damokles-sword is already over Meryl Streep's head.
But, it could be worse, I think. *shrug*

Well, good directors were not always helpful. She didn't win for Adaptation or Bridges of M.C. and she was snubbed for Altman's APHC.
Remember Sophie's Choice was not even nominated for Best Picture or Best Director.

Why should she not win for a biopic? I would have been so happy, if she won for her wonderful and heartwarming Julia Child. Plus it was a comedy role. How many comedys are about a real person?
She won for 2 original characters already.

The win for Mirren in 2007 was deserved, although of course I liked her in The Devil wears Prada.
But Mirren was just astonishing as the Queen.

But let's push every Oscar-thought asise, till the movie and hopefully the Mike Nichols project with Bridges are made.
I'm just looking foward to see both.

Meryl Streep is (still) taking a break. A 61 year old actress is taking a breake, because she worked too much!!!
Unbelievable!

NATHANIEL R said...

@ANON FACT CHECKER -- I did not say "films with a political message" obviously Meryl has more films that are politically minded than the ones i listed (you can also include Angels in America, The Hours and I'm sure a few others). I said, films set in the world of politics. It's true that Silkwood eventually goes there though which can be argued as a hole in the argument.

I just can't see Meryl not judging Thatcher (their politics being diametrically opposed) while playing her which is a problematic thing. Maybe it's just because i hated Manchurian Candidate so much that I got hung up about htis.

@IAN -- i agree it'd be sweet to see her go for a TONY. I'm so angry with myself that I didn't see her in Mother Courage.

@ESTIENNE64 -- brilliant suggestion.

@DAVE - yes, Emma Thompson was amazing in Last Chance Harvey. That's one of hundreds of films that have been unjustly served by audiences/awards voters because they were released so haphazardly only to qualify for wins they couldn't generate traction for.

Rick said...

There is really no need to always expect Streep to pick "Oscarworthy" roles... she should just be enjoyed for the greatness she brings to the craft of acting.

Kev said...

I think that all actors do a bit of judging of their characters as they're performing them. That's only natural and what they're supposed to do as human beings. But I don't see why that would be a hinderance for Streep playing Thatcher. Yes their politics are radically different, but that's like saying only a Democrat can only play a Democrat, or a Muslim can only play a Muslim. If she has empathy for the character she's portraying, she should be able to put her own politics aside in favor of doing what's best for the film. I doubt that she would have even considered taking on this role unless she knew in advance that she could do that.

Yavor said...

The Manchurian Candidate was HORRIBLE!!! but Meryl was spot on, her speech in front of her fellow politicians gave me chills and while it's an obvious show-off of her acting skills it's a wonderful hyperbolic escape as I've heard her mentioning it in an interview, what's wrong with overacting? I really am tired of all the dramatic urge and the "she has to feel real in order to get her 3rd"

Meryl is Meryl and the fact that dozens of British actresses have already portrayed Thatcher does not mean she won't do it flawlessly! and add something intriguing to the character.

I also see nothing wrong in her saying YES to everything good that comes her way;

I also think she likes to direct herself most of the times, and this is probably one of the reasons why she chooses less imposing directors, but then... does anyone have information он Streep rejecting a great director? I don't remember such a case...

and finally, she's had her break, it's time to work again ;)