Sunday, October 2, 2011

Academy Awards analysis (1981)

Before I begin, can I just express my bewilderment as to why The Iron Lady full trailer isn't out yet? Either it's a shitty movie and they want to prolong the buzz they got from the teaser, or because the film is good enough they think they can wait it out. Either way, get on it!

Anyway, 1981 saw Meryl in her first film for which she was nominated as actress in a leading role. The French Lieutenant's Woman also ushered in a slew of performances that reputed Meryl as a great master of accents. In this film, interestingly enough, it was British.

This was Meryl's third Oscar nomination in four years, having won two years prior for Kramer vs Kramer in a supporting role, essentially assuring what one would think would be an also-ran status, based on conventional wisdom. On the contrary, Meryl was actually one of the favorites for the award that night, along with Diane Keaton for Reds. Sidebar--as listed in my Oscar book, Reds was nominated for a shit ton of awards and I haven't seen it. Perhaps something I shall have to remedy. Regardless, it's interesting to see that the Academy was still taken with Meryl at that point. I guess it makes sense. When someone is young and impressive but he/she hasn't been in many leading roles, we get excited when those actors appear to be up to the challenge.

Instead, Katharine Hepburn received her record fourth Academy Award (also record 12th nomination--which Meryl broke in 2003), all for actress in a leading role. The complete list of nominees for the March 1982 ceremony was as follows:

Katharine Hepburn (On Golden Pond)
Diane Keaton (Reds)
Marsha Mason (Only When I Laugh)
Susan Sarandon (Atlantic City)
Meryl Streep (The French Lieutenant's Woman)

Ugh, I could only find one clip on the web for the award ceremony and the embed was disabled so forgive me and use the link below to see.

Diane Keaton, that hair Hepburn of course wasn't in attendance, apparently busy in a play on Broadway. I had originally thought she never attended because she had considered the awards ceremony vulgar, that there shouldn't be winners, it's art, blah blah blah. But the only quotes I can find are reasons to the effect of "...I'm afraid I'm not going to win." Kate has also been quoted as saying Streep is her least favorite actress because she's too cerebral and relies too much on technique. Meryl in fact considers herself the opposite of a technical actress. I used to get peeved when I would think about Hepburn's comment, but I actually really enjoy her. She was a tremendous actress, a legend and a progressive, so I won't say anything disparaging about her or her tremors, or her extramarital relationships, or her haughty east coast accent, or the fact that she always (self-admittedly) played herself in films. I'm too classy for that. Either way, I'm just glad Meryl is able pull one over on me time and time again.

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