Monday, May 21, 2018

Academy Awards analysis (2009)

By 2009, Meryl had become incredibly overdue for a second Lead Actress Oscar. She came close for 2008's Doubt, but came up short that year behind Kate Winslet in The Reader. With her acclaimed performance in Julie & Julia only a year later, it seemed early on like Meryl might actually make it. She'd been lauded by multiple film critic circles and the film itself was generally well-received, including a fantastic box office performance.

Sadly, Sandra Bullock swooped in with very little critical praise for her performance in The Blind Side to basically sweep the television awards that year, winning the drama Globe (Meryl won comedy), SAG, BFCA (tied with Meryl!) and the Oscar. I hadn't realized until checking for which awards Bullock had been nominated that year and saw just now that she wasn't even nominated at BAFTA.  I guess that's not super surprising, considering The Blind Side is a distinctly American movie.

OK let's keep it real. This performance should not have come anywhere near an Academy Award. I love me some Sandy Bullock, but I maintain that this award was more of an industry recognition for the fact that she'd been a box office powerhouse for nearly twenty years. The Blind Side also did extremely well in theaters and had that helpful Best Picture nom with the Academy, versus the solo Actress nod for Meryl in her movie.



Wonderful speech and Bullock looks stunning. It was sort of a fun little back and forth that she and Meryl had during that awards season, as Sandra made fun of the often over-hyped way people tend to pit actresses against each other. As she told Oprah the morning after her win, she wanted to diffuse that nonsense when they both tied for the Critics' Choice win by kissing Meryl. It was cute. 

Honestly, the biggest disappointment for me in all this is that the role Bullock should've possibly one for was 2013's Gravity. It was a way better movie and way better performance, and while she was nominated, it was very unlikely that they were going to award her twice. Had she not won for Blind Side, I think it's very possible that Cate Blanchett would still be without a lead win.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Streep in talks for Soderbergh film "The Laundromat"

I have to admit that when I saw the title of the article of Meryl starring in a "Panama Papers" thriller by a director named Steven S., I had to do a bit of a double take.  No, it's not a sequel to her recent Pentagon Papers film The Post that was directed by Steven Spielberg. Instead, it's been announced that Streep is set to star in director Steven Soderbergh's new project entitled The Laundromat, based on the so-called Panama Papers, which were "leaked documents that showed how Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, allowed the wealthy and the connected to funnel money illegally in and around the world." The script was written by Scott Z Burns is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jake Bernstein's book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite. Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman are also in talks to join.

Very little has been revealed about Meryl's role at this point, other than that her character is apparently the "emotional throughline" of the movie. In reading a few tidbits about the book, it totally seems like an interesting topic, and I'll probably pick up a copy. I wasn't able to glean any idea, however, of what Meryl's character would be (maybe the whistleblower?) Of course I want to know if it'll be a lead role/supporting role.  I also have no idea on why it's called The Laundromat.  Maybe what they call the network for funneling funds illegally. More to come on all that, I'm sure.

No word yet either on when filming may get underway, but it looks like Netflix is interested in distribution rights. It's nice to see her announced to be working with another great director!

Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and Steven Soderbergh



Thursday, May 10, 2018

New video from "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again"

A new video has been released showing a full song performed by Lily James as a "young Meryl" in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again:



By young Meryl, of course I mean "young Meryl's character." I maintain that I'm not particularly enthusiastic about Meryl participating in this film, as her role is obviously very small. That said, watching this clip I'm sort of looking forward to seeing it. Yes, it'll be campy, silly, low-brow and maybe even poorly written. But I highly doubt it will be boring.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Final trailer for "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Universal Pictures released the final trailer for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again earlier today:



It's pretty obvious that Meryl's character Donna will have a very small role, and there's not much in this new trailer that makes me think anything other than Donna is dead. 

I actually felt sort of interested to see the movie(?)  It looks fun, upbeat and colorful, which is sort of lacking in a lot of the things I tend to see on screen these days. The music of course will be recognizable and enjoyable, and the announcement last week that ABBA will be releasing new music for the first time in over three decades will hopefully be a promotional boon to the film's box office changes. Cher might help too. 

Here We Go Again opens nationwide July 20.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Results of poll #7

The results are in for poll #7, where I asked readers to vote on whether or not they think Meryl will win another Oscar. We have a tie! Only three of 35 voters thought she never would, while with ten votes each, people thought she had an equal likelihood of winning for a leading role in either a novel/play adaptation or an original role. I happened to choose the 'leading role in a biopic,' but that option only garnered four votes.

I'm actually a little surprised that not more people chose the biopic option, as the Academy tends to foam at the mouth for such roles. That said, Meryl's played a lot of real-life characters, her most recent win of course coming for portraying Margaret Thatcher (and her last two noms were for biopics in Florence Foster Jenkins and The Post), so it may be more of a novelty and therefore more likely to reward her for a brilliant, even surprising performance of a role created in someone's mind.

As always, I'm open to any suggestions for polls people want to see!


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Streep again on the set of "Big Little Lies"

More set pics! The Daily Mail posted some new photos of Meryl filming a scene on the beach in Suasalito, CA the other day. She's with her onscreen grandsons, Max and Josh (played by Nicholas and Cameron Covetti).




Photos courtesy of Daily Mail.  I've noticed in the last few pics that have surfaced of her on set (particularly the above left) that Meryl seems to be wearing false teeth. They look kind of bucky, presumably to resemble Alexander Skarsgård, who, while being incredibly handsome with a lovely smile, has a tiny overbite.




Meryl of course will play Skarsgård's mother on the show, and therefore grandmother to his and Nicole Kidman's character's (Celeste) twin boys. No word yet on when the second season will officially air on HBO.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Check out "Months of Meryl" weekly series at The Film Experience

I've been following the weekly series Months of Meryl over at The Film Experience. Two gentlemen, John and Matt, are brilliantly dissecting every single film role Meryl has been in since her debut in 1977. One or two readers of Word on the Streep have mentioned this series recently, and now that they're through the 80's, I wanted to post about it, mostly to recommend that everyone check it out.

There's been a lot written about Meryl and countless reviews of her performances. I have to imagine that both John and Matt come to this project at relative fans of Streep's work.  That said, they don't hesitate to point out where they think both she, the director or any other actor or filmmaker come up short...even way short. What I've found most enjoyable is how thoughtful and painstakingly they've managed to articulate their opinions on each film. It's way more layered and nuanced than I think I'd be capable of describing...perhaps because I'm biased by my mad interest in Meryl. After all 52 weeks are complete, I think it would be an amazing little book, with photos added of course.

I'm very much looking forward to them discussing her "wilderness years," hoping they go into a bit her rationale for staying local for filming in the early 90's.