Monday, January 30, 2012

Release date moved up for "Great Hope Springs"

I've been saying for a while that I don't understand why a film that wrapped in October 2011 won't be released until December the following year. Well, it looks like it'll be happening about four months earlier now, on August 10, 2012. Incidentally this happens to be one day before my birthday and two days before the one-year anniversary of the launching of Word on the Streep! Seems more practical for an earlier release, especially since it's a rom-com and unlikely major Oscar bait. Which makes me wonder if Meryl will work on filming anything this calendar year. Suppose it depends on when Tina Fey completes the screenplay for Mommy & Me. After that, the only thing we've heard is the (now evidently slim) possibility of pairing with Julia Roberts in August: Osage County. I did a little digging and a blurb from this article has me again cautiously optimistic. Fingers still very crossed.

In other news, congratulations to Viola Davis on her SAG award last night. Duh.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

SAG predictions

Hey there, Streep peeps. First off I just have to say how happy I am to be typing my blog update two-handed for the first time in a month! Beat it, sling. Anyway, two nights ago Meryl received the Best Actress award from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts for The Iron Lady, in a presentation naturally held in West Hollywood(?). Congratulations, I guess. In far more momentous news, tonight the Screen Actors Guild bestows its honors to actors in film and television, and you-know-who is of course nominated. Although Meryl won the Globe, I don't see it happening for her tonight. It's certainly possible, but I feel pretty strongly that both the SAG and Oscar will go to Viola. I'll be watching the ceremony with Scooter and Kristan. My ballot for film (we don't bother with the TV categories) is as follows:

Film ensemble: The Help
Actor: George Clooney (The Descendants)
Actress: Viola Davis (The Help)
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Most of the planet probably made the same top picks and there is a small chance of someone other than those listed above winning, but highly unlikely in my opinion. It would certainly shake things up for the ultimate prize in four weeks. Good luck, M.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Kind of a big number when we compare Meryl's Oscar nomination tally as of this morning to the next highest total for a woman, with Katharine Hepburn at twelve. Oh, and Kate won four times. A 33% win rate with four wins is sick. If Meryl goes home empty-handed this year (which is likely), her rate will be just under 12%. I won't feel super bad if she wins.

That said, I kind of want Viola Davis to win. Yes, I think her role would more appropriately be in the supporting category, but it's a great performance and since it's been established ad nauseum that Academy Awards are not purely based on a quantifiable "best" performance, it would be great if an African American actress won in the lead category. Not to impugn Davis's work in The Help of course, as I'm sure plenty of people would argue (weakly) that her performance is the most deserving regardless. It would be pretty cool if both she and Octavia Spencer won, which in all likelihood is going to happen anyway. Heck, even Meryl wants us to think that she'd prefer if Viola won, but I don't buy it.

Surprises for me in the nominations were as follows: Rooney Mara (snub to Tilda Swinton whom I considered a lock over a month ago), Demián Bichir (Leo snubbed), and nine best picture nominees. Um, OK. I guess I'm a little surprised that Shailene Woodley wasn't nominated in supporting for The Descendants, but she wasn't nominated for the SAG either so, no big whoop. Biggest of all may be the snub of Albert Brooks for Drive. Wow. Some fun prognosticating is in store over the next month.

Congratulations, Ms. Streep.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Add London to the list

The other day Meryl was recognized by the London film critics as best actress for you know what. Again, not a stretch considering the film's subject. I sort of debated whether or not I wanted to blog about it because I don't typically consider this site purely an update machine. I prefer simplystreep and awardsdaily for that. However, I like to add my two cents (after all it is called Word on the Streep), and although these awards are no doubt nice for her, I still think the two biggest remaining awards are Viola's to lose. That would be sort of win-win for me anyway. Viola would be recognized as a superb African American actress in a lead role (smirk), and Meryl would retain her "due" status for upcoming years. That's really what it's about. People have a hard enough time awarding her something now, can you imagine in a year or two if she had three Oscars? Yeah, let's keep her relevant during awards season, if for no other reason but to keep me interested and happy.

In very unrelated news, I hope everyone is watching the Australian Open (go Federer!) and Downton Abbey. I have Joe's sister to blame for hooking me on the latter. More like obsessed, as I watched the entire first season yesterday. What can I say, I want to be Maggie Smith's character.

Goddammit I can't wait until I can type with both friggin' hands.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another nomination shocker

Meryl was nominated this morning for a BAFTA award for The Iron Lady. It would've been bigger news had she not, just like it will be bigger news a week from today if she is not nominated for an Oscar. Although breaking her own record is kinda neat. Do I dare say that I'd be surprised if she doesn't win the BAFTA? I mean, after the Globe win, the British Academy voting on a Margaret Thatcher film with Meryl Streep in the lead role? Yeah.

In other news, I slightly got into it today with Sasha Stone over at awards daily. We respectfully disagreed on her "Weinstein Globes" post from a couple days ago and I'm surprised she responded to my comment, but it's fun. After reading the stuff that some of these nutbag bloggers wrote on the same thread, my comments seemed pretty tame in comparison. I enjoy being part of the dialogue though and think I held my ground defending this dog-and-pony-show site. People get so intense and defensive but it tickles me to poke the bear. Speaking of, time to poke the fire. It's 13 degrees and dropping in Minne.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Interview with Scooter

Early on in the life of Word on the Streep I had thought of interviewing my friend Scott (Scooter) at some point because he and I met and sort of bonded over a mutual interest in Meryl. Our friendship certainly goes beyond that, but it was a fun icebreaker at a queer party years ago. As you've read in previous posts, he and I saw The Iron Lady together yesterday, then watched the Golden Globes, and today we spent the whole day being lazy watching the miniseries Angels in America in its entirety. Here we go.

WOTS: Hey Scooter.

Scooter: Yes, what can I do for you?

WOTS: Readers know you're a fan of Meryl. Give us an idea why.

Scooter: Boy. One of the many things I admire about Meryl is that she plays a variety of characters and escapes in the role and a lot of times she plays people that you don't necessarily think are good people like in Marvin's Room but you can't help but think that's not Meryl Streep. It's somebody else.

WOTS: You and I always see new Meryl movies together. Do you think others are jealous?

Scooter: Yes. They often tease me that we get cheesecake and see Meryl, but there's a little bit of jealousy in their voice.

WOTS: What did you think of Iron Lady yesterday?

Scooter: I really liked it. It's one of my favorite Meryl performances. You forget it's her. When they flashback to prior to when she became Prime Minister you can see a bit of Meryl, but after that it's like holy cow. And even though it was just an ok movie, I feel it was also respectful to Margaret Thatcher.

WOTS: Today we watched Angels in America. In between foaming at the mouth over Patrick Wilson naked, thoughts?

Scooter: It was very good. I've never sat down to watch a miniseries all at once. I was surprised it was really the young pups who really stole the show and Meryl and Pacino were sort of supporting in it. My favorite was her role of Hannah Pitt. It was nice at the end to see this liberal, loving woman who was such a 180 from the woman who lived in Utah. Can we assume she's a lesbian now? I would assume that.

WOTS: I'm not sure. I never really assumed that. You've never gone on the blog and listed your favorite Meryl film. Do so now.

Scooter: I can't while while you're on the computer.

WOTS: Tell me now and I'll type it here you dingbat.

Scooter: I don't want to give a cliched answer but I have it. The Devil Wears Prada. I know a lot of people would say that because it was kind of her regeneration and introduced her to a new generation. Probably her first blockbuster in several years. It's one of those movies I could watch again and again. It's campy funny but also such a great performance that gets respect, which is a hard combination.

WOTS: What do you think Meryl's chances are this year of getting her third Oscar?

Scooter: Um, about the same as they were for her to win for Doubt. I think it's Viola's year. Then it was Sandra's year. Here's the thing: The Blind Side and The Help were such huge hits. Like audiences and critics loved them and usually it's one or the other. If The Iron Lady were this box office juggernaut, it would be Meryl's year, but it's not. That's why it's Viola's.

WOTS: Ok, it's getting tough for me to keep up with my bum shoulder, so is there anything else you'd like to add before I wrap things up on this brief, yet enlightening interview?

Scooter: (clears throat) I love Meryl movies whether they are campy (She-Devil or Death Becomes Her), or heartbreaking (Sophie's Choice or The Bridges of Madison County). She is always good and a thrill to watch.

WOTS: Thanks, Scoots.

Scooter: You're welcome!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Film review: "The Iron Lady" (2011)...and brief commentary on the Globes

Congratulations, Meryl Streep on another Golden Globe win. I'm not super surprised. Of the three major awards, I feel this was by far the best chance for Meryl to win. After all, it's given by the Hollywood Foreign Press, and The Iron Lady was about a Brit and produced by European companies. SAG and Academy voters might also feel less hesitant to vote for Viola Davis now that Meryl has been recognized with the Globe. Not that Meryl doesn't stand a chance, but again, the odds for an Oscar win are still slim in my opinion. But here's hopin'. Now on to The Iron Lady.

This has been a helluva long time coming. Ok, I love a good montage, but holy shit. The film is essentially a series of flashbacks of Margaret Thatcher at age 86, mildly senile, grappling with the task of emptying the closets of her husband Dennis's things (played by the wonderful Jim Broadbent), seven years after his passing. It takes us through several decades, from her teenage years in her father's store to her ascension to Prime Minister of Great Britain. I'm not a film director, so I guess I'm not sure how I would've accomplished this without montage after montage of major past events, but after a while, we kinda got it. And the triggers that brought up her recollections tended to be a little cheeseball and predictable.

Despite that, this is probably the most impressive performance I've seen from Meryl in a leading role in fifteen years, particularly shining when playing Thatcher at 86. The nuances of speech, posture and gait are all fantastic. Yes, yes, she masters the Received Pronunciation flawlessly, but we know that's small potatoes for Meryl. If one has ever seen Margaret Thatcher speak, it's difficult to not just shake your head. Meryl just nails it.

Broadbent was great, with most of his scenes basically as a hallucination of the elderly Thatcher. But let's be honest, this film was Meryl front and center the whole way. The overall movie was by no means a masterpiece. Cripes, it's only Phyllida Lloyd's second film. One cannot, however, contest the fact that a story was sensitively told about an old lady, a population that Meryl has correctly pointed out as practically invisible in our over-sensationalized western culture. That's why I was most impressed by Meryl's scenes as the older Margaret. This was my favorite scene:

Probably a pretty conservative message, but I kinda like it and it was delivered brilliantly. As a bit of an aside, during the scene of Thatcher's final departure from 10 Downing Street, they played a beautiful excerpt of Maria Callas singing "Casta diva" from Bellini's Norma (I prefer Renée Fleming's version, but whatev). I'd like to second Lloyd's sentiment that if Meryl doesn't win the Oscar for this film, it's difficult to know how it'll ever happen. I don't necessarily agree with that 100%, but it's not going to get any easier, especially with the picture perfect campaign Harvey Weinstein (or "God," as Meryl referred to him in tonight's acceptance speech), has Mfashioned for her this season. Regardless of your politics or typical film-going tendencies, if you enjoy a good performance, go see The Iron Lady. Soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

White-knuckling it

No, not because it's Friday the 13th. It's because I could feasibly walk out of my house at anytime and go see The Iron Lady. Yet I restrain myself because I'm a good friend and am waiting until Scooter and I can see it together, which isn't until Sunday. Two days! Ugh. But again, I've waited this friggin' long, what's blah, blah, blah. It'll be quite the couple of days, as after the movie, I'll basically be heading home to start watching Golden Globe coverage. Which reminds me, I need to fill out my damn ballot. Then on Monday, since Scooter has the day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I'm an upper extremity invalid for the time being, we'll we watching Angels in America in its entirety. We do NOT mess around. Scooter's never seen it, so it should be a fun day of Meryl and fat.

In other news, we know that Viola Davis won the Critics' Choice Award last night for Best Actress. This may very well be the start of her inevitable steamroll through the remainder of the awards season. Sunday night's results will be hugely telling. Meryl brings up Viola and her performance in The Help regularly, suggesting that Meryl is strongly pulling for her. That may well be, and it's certainly admirable on Meryl's part, but I don't believe for a second that Meryl doesn't really want to win. I can't help but think about Meryl's SAG acceptance speech in 2009 for Doubt in which she implores for someone to "my God give her (Davis) a movie!" Perhaps it's a bit of vindication for Meryl that Viola is so deservedly being recognized now. The consummate "humility" of Streep. Tactics? I wonder.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Denver critics recognize Meryl

The Denver Film Critics Society has awarded Meryl with "best actress" honors for The Iron Lady. Not a bad bit of momentum going into the Globes this weekend. I believe this is her third or fourth critics' award of the season. It's been interestingly spread out this year. I'm seeing Iron Lady with Scooter on Sunday afternoon, just before the awards ceremony. Needless to say, I'm rather jazzed.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Good article

I read this article like two days ago but have been too lazy to post it until now. It's by Matthew Parris, a regular columnist for the London Times, doing a guest spot for the L.A. Times. It's interesting from his perspective, as he was elected to the British House of Commons in 1979, the year Thatcher was elected Prime Minister. He makes some complimentary observations about how well Meryl captures the essence of Mags. Click here for the article.

post script: My double feature date with Kristan got postponed to today and we saw both The Artist and Young Adult. There was an Iron Lady preview before Young Adult, and when Meryl was shown onscreen the woman behind me said, "Hmm. She's done it again."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Commence film-going onslaught

I'm one week out of shoulder surgery and things are going pretty well, which is to say I've managed to leave the house a few times. I've been able to keep very abreast of the latest Meryl news of course, and things are really starting to heat up now in the race for that little golden guy. Despite receiving very little recognition from film critics, Viola Davis is probably still the front-runner, at least according to gold derby. Meryl is a close second, followed by Michelle Williams. Some might argue that Meryl is the front-runner. I have to admit that she probably has the best chance for a win since 2002's Adaptation. I mean, a more perfect campaign could not have been forged. Let's break it down.

Firstly, there's the release date postponement for The Iron Lady, which keeps Meryl's performance and the accolades people give her more fresh in our minds, come Academy Awards time. Secondly, she was recognized as a Kennedy Center honoree, and is now to receive the Berlin Film Festival lifetime achievement award next month. Lots of buzz and attention from these, on top of being featured on 60 Minutes and doing numerous promotional interviews. Thirdly, she has the Harvey Weistein machine behind her, and we know how effective that can be (The King's Speech).

Despite all of these things being in place, I know Oscar history, especially as it pertains to Meryl, and she still has an uphill battle for the win. The Globes and the SAGs will be the ultimate predictors. Therefore, it's time to start pounding the theater pavement to see some of the other films that will be in contention, in addition to Iron Lady, of course. Joe, and I saw Shame the other day (3/5 stars), and my friend Kristan and I will be seeing a double feature tomorrow of Young Adult and The Artist. It. Is. On.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year, new Meryl experiences

Happy 2012, everyone. And happy 27th to Joe! Well, surgery went well on Friday and the shoulder has become progressively more manageable. Yes, I'm typing this left-handed and began this post about twenty minutes ago. Regardless of its difficulty, I wanted to post about having watched two of my Christmas presents: ...First Do No Harm and Uncommon Women and Others! I am in no shape to delve too deeply into either of these. I'll reserve that for when I can type with both hands and am not mildly altered. Of course Meryl was amazing in both. I particularly enjoyed her role (although small) in Uncommon Women and Others. That's definitely the youngest I've seen her, and she was stunningly beautiful. Only gets better with age. Alright I'm done.