I happened to be checking out movieline.com's weekly Oscar prediction update this evening and decided I needed to post. Best actress is apparently the most hotly contested race and everyone is so damn fickle about his/her predictions. Meryl has always been a strong front runner and goldderby.com currently has her as 5:6 odds to win(?!). Glenn Close has been much talked about but now quieted. Viola Davis fans were trumpeting her inevitable win for weeks. Now that the trailer is out for Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn people are freaking out about her as if it's a done deal.
I happen to be one of those who thinks awarding an Oscar should be a little bit more about the performance and not all the other lame factors that voters think makes someone "due," which could include age, number of previous nominations, popularity of films, a snub. Meryl has been awarded two Oscars for her many roles. That's two more than the vast majority of actors, yet some think she's due because along with those two wins, she has fourteen losses, with her last victory coming for 1982's Sophie's Choice. I think some people think all those other nominations count enough as a consolation for Meryl. Somehow her body of work being almost perennially recognized by the Academy is adequate. Despite my love for Meryl, I hold her to the same standard as others when opining on whether or not I think she should win. Granted, she's so damn good that anything close to her best I feel could win, but not always. For example, I would've given the Oscar to Cate Blanchett in 1999 for Elizabeth and to Hilary Swank in 2000 for Boys Don't Cry, both over Meryl.
However, in her last two nomination years, I feel Meryl delivered superior performances to both Kate Winslet in The Reader and Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side (duh). This, coupled with the fact that Meryl has gone almost thirty years of being consistently nominated and not winning, makes my mind start to wonder. Do I think she's "due?" I hate thinking that, but after reading on movieline regarding Streep's Gold Derby odds, "It’s not because it’s safe, it’s because, at least on paper (and especially after Julie & Julia got Blind Side-d), Streep is due." I forget how silly it was that Bullock was awarded over Meryl's performance as Julia Child. Fine, it's not Sophie, but enough already. Start comparing Meryl to the rest of the field again and not just to herself. If that were done she'd likely have five or six Oscars by now. But that's not how it works. Therefore, maybe she really is (ugh) "due." Perhaps voting members of the Academy won't want The Help or My Week with Marilyn to "blind side" Meryl this year. Then at least we could all shut up about the speculation for a while.