Sunday, July 05, 2009

Streep Nom #7-8: The Abundant Riches of 1987-88

We've been looking at each Meryl Streep Oscar nod and its competitive field. Previously: 78, 79, 81, 82, 83 and 85

Meryl Streep's first act was the Liberated Lady. The second was The Chameleon in which Meryl was always the lead, always had new hair, voice and body language and basically controlled Oscar's Universe. It was as if there was only 4 spots for Best Actress, one reserved for her in perpetuity. This second act ended with her intense immersion into notorious dingo-hating Lindy Chamberlain in A Cry in the Dark. [Editor's Note: Yes, I'll do a top ten performance list when "Streep at 60" wraps in mid July. I've heard your requests and I've been rewatching all the movies.]

Starting in 1989 Act III of Streep's career began but we'll get to that shortly. First, let's look at her competition in the last two years of her legendary Act II.


the nominees were...

I've always loved that "Mary Louise" exchange. But is Cher rewriting history to claim Silkwood as her first movie or was Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean filmed second and released first?

Other 87 ladies for context: The Globe nominees that weren't Oscar nominated were Barbra Streisand (Nuts), Faye Dunaway (Barfly), Rachel Chagall (Gaby: A True Story), Diane Keaton (Baby Boom), Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing) and Bette Midler (Outrageous Fortune). The year also included: Lindsay Crouse (House of Games), Cher & Sarandon & Pfeiffer (The Witches of Eastwick), Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona), Ellen Barkin (The Big Easy), Robin Wright (The Princess Bride), Mia Farrow (September), Mimi Rogers (Someone To Watch Over Me) and Daryl Hannah (Roxanne)

Nathaniel's List. This is one of the truly rare Oscar years in that I love every single nominated Best Actress performance. I'm not talking just like but love, would-propose-marriage-to deep love. My only sadness then and now is that Oscar doesn't give double nominations (Hunter in Raising Arizona = amazing and possibly even better than in News) and that there wasn't room for Emily Lloyd's fresh and now little seen debut performance in Wish You Were Here. Emily won the NSFC Best Actress prize, a BAFTA nomination and my own heart. No one speaks of her anymore but it seemed like she was going places in 1987. Those places didn't materialize. After a few short years of lead roles her film career withered into occasional supporting parts and then... nothing.

Here's an in-depth article about the many things that went wrong for Lloyd following her breakthrough role. Yet another example of why I usually try to wait before obsessing over newer actresses.

the nominees were...
Other 88 women for context
The year's most outrageous snub was surely Globe nominee Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham. The movie had been a big hit, it lifted her into a new tier of stardom, her reviews were ecstatic and it arguably remains her best work. 1988 also marked the peak of Barbara Hershey's career. In just twelve months on US screens she had a huge hit (Beaches) and saw the release of not but one TWO consecutive Cannes winning performances (Shy People and A World Apart). But outside of the south of France she was only recognized once (Chicago Film Critics).

Oh the rollercoaster of fame! Glenn Close, Kim Basinger and Barbara
Hershey were all smiles in 1984 (they co-starred in the baseball drama
The Natural). Who knew that Basinger, the least acclaimed at the time,
would become the sole Oscar winner?

Globe kudos that didn't transfer to Oscar were the winner Shirley Maclaine (Madame Sousatzka) and nominees Amy Irving (Crossing Delancey) and the awesome trio of Christine Lahti (Running on Empty), Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda), and Michelle Pfeiffer (Married to the Mob). 1988 also included Gena Rowlands (Another Woman), Bette Midler (Beaches), Geena Davis (Beetle Juice), Carmen Maura (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) and the debut of Ricki Lake (Hairspray).

<-- Meryl and Don at the March 89 Oscars

Nathaniel's List I consider 1988 one of the richest years of all time for female leads (though I don't much like the performance that won the Oscar. Figures). So without rescreening 7 or 8 films, I can't decide. But of one thing I am reasonably certain: my gold and silver medals would be melted down, mixed together and handed simultaneously to Glenn Close and Susan Sarandon if I were ever allowed the one-time Best Actress tie that Oscar itself gave out (in 1968). Meryl Streep would be in the mix and the remaining two spots would be hard won between...

Don't make me decide right now. I change my mind. This year gives me migraines... of pleasure.

What are your lists like for 1987 and 1988?
Who do you think should have won and which movies top your list of "I must see this!" if you haven't already?


Joe Shetina said...

Gena Rowlands gets my vote for 1988. Followed closely by Glenn Close. Never realized Close and Streep were nominated both of those years.

Love Meryl's reaction to Cher's win.

Christine said...

Sadly, Emily Lloyd has had some serious mental health issues, so that was a big factor in what happened to her career. What is also sad is that I know this because I read the London Daily Mail.

cal roth said...

See Foster again. Period.

The Oscar for Close would be for that great great great Alex in Fatal Atraction. Her best performance. One of my favourite performances ever.

Her Mme de Merteuill is very good, but people clearly never seen Jeanne Moreau's take on the role.

cal roth said...

Love Foster here, but not a winner. That would be Rowlands's fourth: A Woman Under the Influence, Opening Night and Gloria are all best of the year turns.

Thach or Tak Nguyen said...

why did you not like jodie foster's performance?


Joe i need to see Another Woman again. I have seen all but one of Woody's movies since i became a fan but for whatever reason I barely remember that film. Maybe I saw it at the wrong time of life.

Christine ah. That's sad :(

cal and thatch I dunno. I always felt that (Foster) was a Performance with a capital P. Like I could never buy into it's reality and not think about the Actress Sweating Through ACTING. I was much more ok with the Silence win... though i remember wanting Sarandon to win for Thelma & Louise.

Wayne B said...

Out of the ten nominated have seen only two; wouldn't mind seeing all the other eight though! Glenn Close's maliciousness was a major eye-opener this year though, I was shocked when I found out she wasn't even nominated for a Golden Globe that year. My faith in HFPA is crumbling even more.

87: Cher, Grey, Hannah, Keaton and Sarandon
88: Close, Davis, Griffith, Lahti and Midler

Scott said...

I disagree with both wins. I'd have gone with Hunter for Broadcast News and Close for DL. And it sure would've been nice to see Maura nominated.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kent said...

1987 is one of those rare years where I also agree with all of the nominees. 1950, 1962, and 1974 are the others.

I would've given a tie in 1950 to Gloria Swanson (SUNSET BOULEVARD) and Bette Davis (ALL ABOUT EVE).

In 1987, my nominees would've been Oscar's shortlist (with switching out Hunter's perf in BROADCAST NEWS for RAISING ARIZONA).

In 1988, my nominees would've been:
Susan Sarandon -BULL DURHAM
and either Lahti, Weaver, Streep, or Rowlands for the last two spots.

cal roth said...

I love the fact the Foster's performance is absolutely old school, a classic, like James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It's like the only way she can make that character live. It's so poorly written that she absolutely must go the classic way. Tune up the charisma and save the movie! Love how much she is totally confident and strong ans rock solid. She fills the movie's blanks only with her presence. Great work.


kent isn't it weird that Sally Kirkland's nomination is considered such a 'campaign win' nomination...? in that she fought like a madwoman to get it. But if i'm remembering correctly, she's more than deserving of the honor she had to totally beg for.

scott i l-o-v-e Maura in women on the verge so deadpan and funny... but god that year is crazy. There's at least 10 nomination-worthy performances.

John T said...

I'm sure Griffith will get one of those two slots in 1988, though, right Nathaniel? :)


bite yer tongue ;)

Kent said...

Nat, I always read about Sally Kirkland's campaign in 1988 whenever it's mentioned in an Oscar topic book. She also campaigned so hard to win, but her performance was a reward all on its own. I wonder if she still has it in her to give another excellent performance --aside from her red carpet appearances (;

Wow, I couldn't believe I forgot Carmen Maura in WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN in my 1988 rundown. Such a terrific year.

alluhrey said...

i would have given faye dunaway the 1987oscar for the underrated "barfly". she and mickey rourke were magnificent in their roles. dunaway's role is similar in strain to meryl streep's helen archer in "ironweed" but the latter was disappointingly underwritten. streep though mined all possible depths to the pathetic character.

i also didn't like jodie foster's acting in "the accused". don't flagellate me please, but i don't consider her a great actress and that showed in "the accused" ---all the lip-quivering, voice-cracking ticks that i keep seeing in all her movies. the film's theme was compelling, but not foster in the role.

1988 i would give hands down to meryl streep ---it's one of the most difficult protrayals ever, male or female!!! it's sad that people remember the movie by it's "a dingo ate my baby" but it's an outstanding exploration of media bias and collective judgmentalism. watching meryl streep, i would sometimes be annoyed or indifferent or sympathetic then understanding of her character ---that's the brilliance of her acting. i felt and behaved, in the span of the movie, like most australians did around that time.

sorry for the rant...

John T said...

I have to say that I also didn't like Jodie in The Accused. I personally adore her (both as a a celebrity and an actor, in the same way that I love Tom Hanks), but I think she should have won an Oscar twelve years earlier and three years later, rather than in this year, when Ms. Close should have collected her Oscar she had coming for a decade.

Hayden said...

It's criminal to not even mention Maggie Smith's BAFTA-winning lead performance in The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. No one has seen this performance but it's tremendously powerful, one of the greatest ever.

par3182 said...

cher was really rewriting history, unless she'd actually forgotten starring in chastity in 1969

anne bancroft – 84 charing cross road
glenn close – fatal attraction
holly hunter - broadcast news
sheila mccarthy – i’ve heard the mermaids singing
carmen maura – la ley del deseo

glenn close - dangerous liaisons
jodie soster - the accused
ricki lake - hairspray
gena rowlands - another woman
meryl streep - evil angels

Mike said...

Interesting to hear about Sally Kirkland. How exactly did she go about campaigning like mad for a nomination? I've yet to see Anna, but I've heard fabulous things about her in it. She even managed a Drama Globe win despite their habit of star-f*cking.

Glenn said...

I've barely seen any of these! How disappointing.

I like Foster in The Accused. The win? Notsomuch, but I think she's great.

I love that you chose a really ugly image of Griffith for the image.

Arun said...

my 87 ballot would be

Cher, Moonstruck
Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction
Holly Hunter, Broadcast News
Meryl Streep, Ironweed
Joanne Woodward, The Glass Menagerie

I haven't seen Kirkland's work in Anna yet, despite my best attempts to find it. Woodward, though is great. Close or Hunter would be my winner.

for 88, I go back and forth but right now I would choose:

Glenn Close, Dangerous Liaisons
Carmen Maura, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham
Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark
Sigourney Weaver, Gorillas in the Mist

though it kills me to leave Rowlands, Pfeiffer, and Lahti off the list. My winner would be Streep, for what I think is probably her best work, bar none.

cal roth said...

Except for Maryl Streep, Jodie Foster was the best American actress until Moore took her place. And she was that great working in genre pieces!

Billy Held An Oscar said...

I was totally and completely obsessed with 'Anna' when it played at my local theatre. I must have seen it about five times in the month that it was there.

Sally Kirkland's performance was brilliant ... I simply could not wait to see what she would star in next. Well, we all know how that played out. Not good.


Mike... the book "Inside Oscar" has a couple of segments on Anna and among other things Sally wrote personal letters to ALL Academy members -- even the ones who couldn't nominate her because they weren't in Oscar's acting branch. Shelley Winters made hundreds of calls on her behalf and Sally was constantly working the press with attention getting stuff, even revealing a suicide attempt in her 20s when she was having an affair with Rip Torn (while Geraldine Page was pregnant)

and this is my favorite part cuz it's so dumb (not that i don't love Sally), telling People magazine she wanted to win the Oscar because "my belief in God will be reaffirmed"

You know that God. He pulls so many strings when it comes to the Academy!

Glenn said...

For some reason I think of Sally Struthers whenever anyone has been saying Sally Kirkland.

Ian said...

I've always hated "Moonstruck" with a passion, so Cher's win is always a joke to me with the lineup being what it was. Jodie Foster's performance doesn't hold up for me either. It was Lifetimey before the Lifetime cliche really took form. So Glenn Close would have had my vote in both years for "Fatal Attraction" and "Dangerous Liaisons." Sorry, Meryl darling. Loved you in "A Cry in the Dark" though.

Alex said...

After watching "Barfly and "Raising Arizona", Faye Dunaway and Holly Hunter seemed, to me anyway, to give those almost co-lead performances that would've been nominated in the supporting field. Huh.

87 roster:
1. Holly Hunter (Broadcast News)
2. Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction)
3. Cher (Moonstruck)
4. Meryl Streep (Ironweed)
5. Mia Farrow (September)

88 roster (great year):
1. Sigourney Weaver (Gorillas in the Mist)
2. Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons)
3. Meryl Streep (A Cry in the Dark)
4. Susan Sarandon (Bull Durham)
5. Jodie Foster (The Accused)

I feel so bad that Glenn got silver both years :(

Nathaniel, who wrote "Inside Oscar"? I keep hearing about it and I want to make sure I order the right book. THanks :)


alex -- INSIDE OSCAR is by mason wiley & damien bona. there's quite a few variations of it (because it gets reissued to deal with new years)

adelutza said...

Kind of unrelated but tonight TCM has a Meryl Streep marathon starting at 8:00PM EST: Manhattan, Kramer vs.Kramer, Sophie's Choice and The French Lieutenant's Woman. Not that there's anybody who haven't seen these yet ;-)

Jordan Wellin said...

Cannot believe Glenn Close didn't win for DL... if only for when she says "WAR!" at the top of her lungs. Love it.

Terris said...

1987, it was definitely Cher the actress who better deserved the Oscar (or at least Glenn Close). Not Meryl. Even if I am a huge fan of her I didn't like at all either Ironweed or her performance in it... probably it was because of the weird character but IMO it was too "heavy" something like a parody... And so Jack Nicholson's performance.

1988, I think this could be one of the 5 or 6 times Meryl was robbed of an Oscar... in A Cry in the Dark she was amazing!

Dan Callahan said...

Have to agree with Hayden concerning Maggie Smith in "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne." It's insane that a performance of that caliber wasn't even nominated.

Of the nominated actresses, I would have to give it to Close for "Fatal" (though I'm not a fan, in general) and Streep for "Cry in the Dark."

Was happy to see Emily Lloyd mentioned, but very sad to read about the troubles that thwarted her career.

mrripley said...

1987 is indeed rich i pick * winner

cher - moonstruck
glenn close - fatal attraction
bette davis -the whales of august
holly hunter - broadcast news
maggie smith - the lonely passion of judith hearne* - unseen but one of her best ever

shout outs too
meryl streep - ironweed
emily lloyd - wish you were here
rachel levin - gaby
lillian gish - the whales of august
barbra streisand - nuts

mrripley said...

1988 nominees again an abundence of riches
my top 5
glenn close - dangerous liasons
jodie foster - the accused
gena rowlands - another woman
sigourney weaver - gorillas in the mist
meryl streep - a cry in the dark

shout outs too
susan sarandon - bull durham
jamie lee curtis - a fish called wanda
judy davis - high tide
christime lahti - running on empty
whoopi goldberg - clara's heart

mrripley said...

nat before doing any 87 list you must see the lonely passion of judith hearne it contains on e of the greatest performances by smith EVER!!!! and it seems only 3 of us are saying this but it really is.

check out judy davis in high tide for 1988 too.

Mike said...

That's fascinating about Kirkland, Nathaniel. Although I'm usually against aggressive awards-campaigning, if it results in a well-deserved nomination, I'm fine with it. Brilliant move to write the Academy members and utilize her connections.

I love the bit about God too ;)

ctrout said...

Best Actress - 1987
1. Cher - Moonstruck
2. Sally Kirkland - Anna
3. Holly Hunter - Raising Arizona
4. Robin Wright - The Princess Bride
5. Glenn Close - Fatal Attraction

Best Actress - 1988
1. Melanie Griffith - Working Girl
2. Jodie Foster - The Accused
3. Christine Lahti - Running on Empty
4. Sigourney Weaver - Gorillas in the Mist
5. Meryl Streep - A Cry in the Dark

Arkaan said...


Maggie Smith, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
Emily Lloyd, Wish You Were Here
Meryl Streep, Ironweed
Faye Dunaway, Barfly
Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction

If Shy People is considered 1987, replace Close with Hershey


Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark
Jodie Foster, The Accused
Barbara Hershey, A World Apart
Christine Lahti, Running on Empty
Carmen Maura, Women on the Verge....


arkaan... you have to go with whatever you have to go with (to each his own). Shy People is a 1987 film to some degree (cannes and such) and a 1988 film for the US screens. so...

Steolicious said...

Best Actress - 1987
1. Maggie Smith - The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
2. Cher - Moonstruck
3. Holly Hunter - Broadcast News
4. Meryl Streep - Ironweed
5. Glenn Close - Fatal Attraction
- 6. Barbra Streisand - Nuts

Best Actress - 1988
1. Sigourney Weaver - Gorillas in the Mist
2. Jodie Foster - The Accused
3. Glenn Close - Dangerous Liaisons
4. Melanie Griffith - Working Girl
5. Stéphane Audran - Babettes Fiest

moviefanatic said...

It's TERRIBLE to see Glenn Close losing in both years......... she really really is the most overdue actress, along with Julianne Moore. It's awful that Jodie Foster has 2 and Glenn doesn't have one.

Victor S said...

I saw "A Cry in the Dark" for the first time today, liked a lot, but all I could think was that if any actress other than Meryl had played that part she would have walked away easily with an Oscar.

Malcolm said...

1987 Close. Only seen Cher and her.

1988: Arguably one of the richest years.

Close - Liaisons
Foster - Accused
Griffith - Working
Pfieffer - Married
Weaver - Gorillas

My pick is either Close or Griffith. Haven't seen Streep yet.

Ryan X said...

*smith, lonely passion of judith hearne
2] hunter, raising arizona & broadcast news
3] keaton, baby boom
4] cher, moonstruck
5] dunaway, barfly

*davis, high tide
2] close, dangerous liaisons
3] streep, evil angels
4] sarandon, bull durham
5] maura, women on the verge