Saturday, June 19, 2010

Streep Nom #11: One True Thing

We're looking at each Meryl Streep Oscar nod and its competitive field.
Previously: 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 85, 87, 88, 90 and 95

Twenty years after her first nomination for The Deer Hunter (1978) Meryl Streep replaced Bette Davis as runner up to Katharine Hepburn's Oscar throne with her cancer victim in One True Thing. For a very short time period (i.e. twelve months) the three legends had a 10-11-12 Oscar nomination spread. Streep would soon leave both Hepburn and Davis in the dust. But we'll get to her #1 status when it rolls around.

1998 the nominees were

  • Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth
  • Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station *Nathaniel's vote*
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love
  • Meryl Streep, One True Thing
  • Emily Watson, Hilary & Jackie
The Blanchett vs. Paltrow contest has arguably been the most discussed in modern Oscar Actress history with the possible exception of Swank vs. Bening (both rounds). People still get hot under their ruffs about this one a full dozen years later.

Other '98 women for context:
Globe nominees that didn't make Oscar's cut were Susan Sarandon (Stepmom), Jane Horrocks (Little Voice), Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary), Meg Ryan (You've Got Mail) and Christina Ricci (The Opposite of Sex). Elsewhere in Awardsland, Ally Sheedy (High Art) took Best Actress at the Indie Spirits, besting Alfre Woodard (Down in the Delta). Weirdness: Emma Thompson, an awards staple, couldn't get any traction for a mimicry job (Primary Colors).

Anne Heche & Ellen Degeneres still had tongues wagging --- >

1998 was a double dipper year for Drew Barrymore (The Wedding Singer, Ever After), Sandra Bullock (Practical Magic, Hope Floats) and Anne Heche (Six Days and Seven Nights, Psycho) who was the controversial rage at the time as the first out lesbian* headlining major studio movies.

Major 90s stars like Angela Bassett (How Stella Got Her Groove Back), Holly Hunter (Living Out Loud) and Jennifer Lopez (Out of Sight) came on strong. And Oprah Winfrey (Beloved) didn't generate the awards enthusiasm needed.

Finally, this is the year we met Lindsay Lohan, future hot mess -- and like Heche, also a future faux lesbian! -- in her wonderfully able child star debut in The Parent Trap. It was so wonderfully able, in fact, that I fell hard for her. To emphasize why that is unexpected is to admit that the Hayley Mills film was my BEST-MOVIE-EVER until I was about eight years old. Even thinking of it now in 2010 makes me all teary-eyed with nostalgia.

Nathaniel's List?
He's not so sure. Oscar's roster is Classic Bait: terminal illness, mental disorders, Shakespeare, royalty porn, older person opening their heart to a child (Yes, they have a thing for that, too). How could any of these performances not have been nominated even if they weren't as good as they are? Originally in the now mythic war for the statue between Paltrow & Blanchett I favored Blanchett but my opinion of Paltrow's star making turn has grown considerably over the years. Still, I'm not sure either would make my list. I'm not sure who would make my list. Strangely, given the topic at hand, I barely remember Streep's cancer mom.

Apologies to Watson but she'd probably be the first to go to make room for one of the worst snubs of the decade. I'm talking about Ally Sheedy's devastating photographer/junkie in High Art. I was madly in love with both Hunter and Ricci's smart sexy comic work in '98 so maybe I'd dump a couple more of the Oscar women for them. Who knows? Revisits are in order. But to make a long story short, the LAFCA got it exactly right with their tie; Ally Sheedy and Fernanda Montenegro tower over 1998's actress field.

*Anne "Celestia" Heche's lesbianism was short lived of course. But still. People were all "Oh My God!" -- OMG! wasn't in the vernacular yet -- "They're letting an out lesbian play romantic straight leads in movies! The world is going to end."



mrripley said...

1998 - weak for actress,super super strong for support and oscar fluffs it bar 2.

my actress '98 noms winner *

shout outs
supp actress i differ every week

shout outs


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cal roth said...

My winner is still Gwyneth Paltrow (Montenegro is a close runner-up). Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight would be a nominee. I'm serious.

Mirko S. said...

My winner was (and still is) Paltrow (but Blanchett and Montenegro were in my line-up as well). I agree that Watson should have been shut out, since I've never watched Sheedy's perf (SHAME ON ME!!!!) I used to put Cameron Diaz in my line-up

my line-up:




Edward Copeland said...

I would have gone with Montenegro.

Volvagia said...

The chemistry is great and believable in Out of Sight, but there's not nearly enough character beyond the chemistry to justify a Top 5 Acting placement. In a field of 8, there would certainly be room for both of the leads. (Steve Zahn, though, is top 5 material, a character actor doing the first and best rendition of his "character.")

Actor: (Surprisingly, I don't see this list changing)

Jim Carrey, The Truman Show
Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski
Johnny Depp, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Edward Norton, American History X
(Don't laugh at this next one. It may be generic and no where close to the best film of the year, but I think he was excellent in it.)
Michael Keaton, Jack Frost

Supporting Actor

Ed Harris, The Truman Show
John Goodman, The Big Lebowski
John Turturro, The Big Lebowski
Steve Zahn, Out of Sight
Edward Furlong, American History X

I Know Nothing in Lead Actress this year and only one Supporting:

Julianne Moore, The Big Lebowski

Volvagia said...

Wait a second. I rescind Ed Furlong, and replace with Nick Nolte, The Thin Red Line. (The supporting actor list could, in a greedy, The Best Film deserves everything mood, be filled up entirely with a combination of six people from The Thin Red Line. That it wasn't was pretty much a confirmation that it wasn't going to win Best Picture, because Oscar always does that.)

The Thin Red Line stuffed List:

Nick Nolte, The Thin Red Line - winner
John Cusack, The Thin Red Line
Woody Harrelson, The Thin Red Line
Sean Penn, The Thin Red Line
Jim Caviezel/Elias Koteas (sorry, in this movie everyone's a support), The Thin Red Line

Volvagia said...

Nolte (effective gut punch of monster warrior ambition. Imagine what would happen if George Bailey went to war and got his layrnx so tight it could only growl orders) would tie with Turturro (small but absolutely brilliant burrowing into a sleazy part) and Goodman (not as brilliant, but in more and also consistently burrowed into the character demands, which are also, in a different way, disgusting) in the normal list. And, although Bill Murray was very good in Rushmore, he's on the cusp at sixth place. Maybe I won't like Zahn as much the next time I watch Out of Sight, which will bump Murray into fifth place.

Cluster Funk said...

The script was terrible but...Anne Heche is aces in 'Six Days, Seven Nights,' probably my favorite performance of hers outside Donnie Brasco. (The woman is not just a good actress, she's a gifted comedienne, as anyone who saw her in 'Twentieth Century' on Broadway can attest.)

Daniel said...

Blanchett wins by a landslide even over the only other performance worth mentioning - Montenegro. Streep, even though I adore her, was too hammy in OTT, Paltrow too boring & one-note, Watson was good but I felt her star shone WAY more brightly in Breaking the Waves (that was THE performance of a decade). 10 years down the line & I still feel Blanchett's performance holds up & is just as powerful as seeing it the first time. She really melded into that character completely & made it her own, not a small task for a virtual unknown & an Aussie nonetheless!

Volvagia said...

Breaking the Waves? Boring outside of the magnetic confession scenes that showcase Bess McNeil's crazy. A great performance brought to bear on a surprisingly boring and, unsurprisingly, masochistic, viewing experience. On just that one film, I'm very mad at Von Trier and the culture that raises him up: A sadistic, misanthropic, inhuman mess of an auteur who can only write well when the dialogue represents someone crazy. And to be frank: Of course someone who can't write sane characters well is going to release something that sounds as bonkers, stupid and graphic as Antichrist does.

Fernando Moss said...

My top 5 would be:

Fernanda Montenegro - Central de Brasil
Gwyneth Paltrow - Shekespeare in Love
Christina Ricci - The Opposite of Sex
Ally Sheedy - High Art
Renée Zellweger - One True Thing

I changed my mind like 100000 times in the last minute between Sheedy, Ricci and Montenegro for the win, so in that matter I don't know...

Michael said...

It's possible I'd be very irritated Blanchett lost to Paltrow, or that Sheedy was snubbed, but I've never really noticed before. Every time I look in 1998's direction I see Ian McKellan losing to Roberto Benigni and I'm too blinded by rage to see anything else.

mrripley said...

I watched the opposirte of sex and ricci is in less of the film than kudrow yet she is lead and kudrow isn't.

Anonymous said...

High Art is such an intoxicating film. Patricia Clarkson puts all manic drug-addled performances to shame (with the exception of Rowlands & JJL in "Georgia")

I know you'll disagree vehemently Nathaniel, but Renee Zellwegger is at top form in ONE TRUE THING. She manages an extremely tricky character arc with aplomb. My fav scene is her beaming at her Dad at his surprise birthday or maybe her devastated yelling at him as he walks away from her on the cold winter street. Streep is lovely but it's a bit too straightforward. I think you should re-visit, definitely Zellweggers best attempt at straight drama. I daresay you'll be impressed (especially considering her messy, embarrasingly undisciplined Cold Mountain turn)

- Sean C.


@SEAN C -- ah, you underestimate my discernment about actresses. I think Renee Z is quite good in One True Thing -- if not top 10 good.

@MICHAEL C -- that does tend to put the blinders on.

@MRRIPLEY -- i don't think 98 is that weak for actresses. (i mean look at all those choices) though I agree it's nothing like 1995 which we just covered. But then, what is?) i think the emphasis still placed on Paltrow vs. Blanchett obscured several other very discussable performances.

@VOLVAGIA -- i agree that the chemistry with Clooney is the thing to recommend JLo's performance. But i haven't seen it in a long time. But my fav performance in that film is definitely Steve Zahn's.

SoSueMe said...

Fernanada in Central Station for the win! And the little boy should have been nominated too!
Agree on Renee...I could have seen her in supporting or lead.

And I wonder why Ally didn't get more dramatic work after her High Art triumph. I like her a lot and I respect her talent, but I can't get past her speaking voice. It's so California-Valley Girl-American, and she's from NY!

Marcelo said...

So glad to know that you like Montenegro's work. She is the best actressn I've seen. Now, poor girl... she is working in a brazilian soap opera... really bad role, but, at least, I can see Fernanda's work for free!


SoSueMe -- i can only think it had something to do with her unhinged offscreen persona. Hollywood likes that when it's men (MIckey Rourke, etcetera) but tends to run away from the women who are like that.

mcnellie said...

But Nathaniel if your post is about Streep's performance in One True Thing, why not rewatch it and write it up? I bet you just want to finish up with Streep at 60, but the entries where you actually reviewed her performances were really memorable. These invitations for everyone to post their lists, with no actual Streep content, less so.


mcnellie -- this is the way i've been doing it since the start of the series -- random performance writeups and oscar posts for her nominations.

jc valencia said...

blanchett all the way.

i love ricci in the opposite of sex.

practical magic is so underrated. i consider nicole's performance as her second best (next to to die for) in her pre-Moulin Rouge/the Others days.

/3rtfu11 said...

Nat you didn’t see Beloved?

Anonymous said...

Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elise and Beah Richards all deserved accolades for their performances in Beloved. It's a truly underrated and devastating film.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Agreed on the supporting trio from Beloved, but Winfrey falls a little short as the lead.

I revisited all these performances a year or two ago and was surprised that Watson's had held up the best. You already know I agree that Ricci, Heche, and especially Sheedy were way ahead of this pack.

I do think Meg Ryan's pretty stellar in You've Got Mail, and I'd add Samantha Morton's electrifying work in Under the Skin (one of many excellent choices the Boston Film Critics made in the 90s) and Vanessa Redgrave's solid take on Clarissa Dalloway to the list of the year's best.

And I agree that, if anything, Zellweger > Streep in One True Thing, though I like them both. I'll second the call, Nathaniel, that if you can make the time, your write-ups of Streep's performances are completely delicious! But, as ever, you've got a lot of plates spinning in the air.

Alex said...

I call serious category fraud on Streep right now. I loved it, but it belongs in supporting. I have yet to see HIGH ART, but I have a feeling I need to. My lady lists of '98 are as such:

Best Actress
**Cate Blanchett, ELIZABETH**
Renee Zellweger, ONE TRUE THING

Best Supporting Actress
**Meryl Streep, ONE TRUE THING**

Ben said...

I'd pick Emily Watson for the win this year, but that be down to my fierce love for Hilary and Jackie, one of my favourite biopics of all time. And might I add Rachel Griffiths as a potential nominee, whose very different, subdued performance really complemented Watson's ugly, difficult one. On a sidenote, the actress that played the younger Hilary is now on Big Brother UK. Weird.

cal roth said...

Did I really read Volvagia bashing Breaking the Waves and Watson's performance?

Peggy Sue said...

Guess I'm one of the few who prefers Gwyenth over Cate on that specific "battle", altough my vote goes to Fernanda Montenegro.

When I first saw "One True Thing", I thought it was slightly better than the average 'I'm with cancer' movies and that was it. Almost a decade later, I bought a very cheap copy in DVD and saw it again without all that sometimes useless Oscar pressure and well I just loved it!

I know this is not a masterpiece but I strongly believe it features one of the best scenes Meryl has ever done. She's sitting on the floor surrounded by family albums and talks about all the efforts and resignations that motherhood implies. So moving...


@cal -- i believe you did. shocking, i know.

@nick -- thank you Nick (and mcNellie) but i just don't have time to write up each performance. If it becomes a book, I will! :) I'm trying to decide now which 00s performance(s) I'm going to cover. But she turns 61 this week!

@Peggy Sue -- yeah, i definitely need to watch it again.

Glenn said...

My list would be some mish mash of Blanchett, Lynette Curran (The Boys), Sasha Horler (Praise), Deborah Mailman (Radiance), Christina Ricci (Opposite of Sex), Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Griffiths (Amy) and Meryl Streep. I have not seen Central Station or Hilary & Jackie. Bad me.

Arkaan said...

Watson is actually quite good in Hilary and Jackie. Problem is she's not quite as good as Rachel Griffiths is in a co-lead role (not supporting, AMPAS), and I don't feel quite comfortable nominating one without the other.

Blanchett remains my favourite, but it's Lopez and Hunter that I've revisited the most over the years. Hunter in particular - LIVING OUT LOUD is such a unique movie in the Hollywood lexicon that I'm not surprised it was ignored so thoroughly on release, but it's wonderful nonetheless.

Streep's quite good as well - one of those deserving nominations but not quite top tier.

NicksFlickPicks said...

N: Oh, I know! I'm just letting you know, you're so good at it that whenever it is possible, you should go for it!

Agreed about the total rewatchability of One True Thing (I've seen it three times) and that Meryl earned her need.

NicksFlickPicks said...

* Her NOD. I don't know what Meryl's need might be, but I'm sure she's earned that, too.


haha. what do you give the Streep that has everything?

i think the only need is probably the third Oscar. and she's earned that too ;)

Sergio B said...

Montenegro was fan-tas-tic in Central Station!! Unforgettable and profoundly performance by Brazil`s best actress.

(Nathaniel, I love your blog!!)

Clinton said...

Hmm, this is tough. I'll say:

*Rachel Griffiths, Hillary and Jackie
Christina Ricci, The Opposite of Sex
Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station
Ally Sheedy, High Art
Meryl Streep, One True Thing

Griffiths is, IMO, the heart and soul of that movie. Her supporting nomination was category fraud, but she still should have been in the conversation for a win that year (if I recall correctly, all of the discussion centered around Bates, Dench, and Redgrave to a degree--not to mention the justified rage surrounding the snubbings of Allen and Kudrow).

Battling between Montenegro and Watson for the fifth spot but I'll give it to Montenegro for holding up what I consider to be a much lesser film.

cal roth said...

Nat, you know you're gonna write this book, don't you? Streep performances: 1977-2010.

Since these employers don't have enough respect for internet, maybe a book is all you need for breaking through the big media. Not that I really need it (you blog is fine, thank you), but you're gonna cash from it and have more time to write! What do you think?

As a reader, I am entitled to read less posts so you can have more time to write your book properly!

Volvagia said...

The field was this, Michael C.

Tom Hanks: A non-performance that got by on Hollywood starbleeping love.
Roberto Benigni: A clown they wanted to forgive for ignoring Down by Law
Nick Nolte: An autoforgiveness turn because actors knew they wouldn't like what Malick was cooking.
A Serious contest would be between:
Ian McKellan: A sympathetic evocation of the last days of a Hollywood legend and
Edward Norton: A creation of a character that established the "if you want to prove yourself, play a Neo-Nazi" move. And a well-tendered arc of redemption as well.


@Sergio B -- thank you

@/3rtfull -- i didn't see Beloved no. I know that's strange but the book is in my top 10 of all time and i was just too scared of seeing it as a movie. Because it's like a sacred book to me... and one that feels very much NOT like a movie.

@cal -- thanks. if i can find someone to give me a contract, i'll do just that.

@volvagia -- agreed that 98 should've been a contest between McKellen and Norton. I still shudder remembering the outcome.

@ Nick -- thanks for the reminder about UNDER MY SKIN. i always forget that Samantha Morton did not emerge in "Sweet and Lowdown". I need to see that.

Anonymous said...

My lineup:

Best Actress:

1. Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth - WINNER
2. Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station - Very Close Runner Up
3. Ally Sheedy, High Art (Terrible Snub YIKES!)
4. Samantha Morton, Under the Skin
5. Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie

Alt: Lindsay Lohan, Parent Trap - I don't joking. She's excellent, funny and charming and even overshadow her screen parents in more of few scenes - Too bad for her tought -

In the case of Paltrow, I despise her win - Well I despise the film - A one-note, boring performance and terrible accent. At the time, I think she was overrated, especially for her connections and Weinstein support, but after saw Sylvia and Proof I think she's a little underrated. I still think her Oscar was really awful but she deserves -at least- one nomination in the weaker 2005 for Proof

Volvagia said...

I know, and it's ironic that the character is called, literally, Guido Orefice. Because, well, those a-HOLES saw way more in the clown then they should have.

The Additions to the 8 for Lead Actor would be:

George Clooney, Out of Sight
Jason Schwartzman, Rushmore
(probably) Ian McKellan, Gods and Monsters

Samson said...

The category starts and ends with Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth." That should have been her first Oscar win.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone actually watch Emily Watson in Hilary and Jackie??? She was great. As was Racheal Griffiths!