Sunday, March 25, 2012

Academy Awards analysis (1982)

Sweet Jeebus I haven't blogged in a week!  I've decided to continue my analysis of each Academy Awards race in which Meryl took part.  1982 was the year Meryl was up for Sophie's Choice.   Is there really anything else I can say about this film or role?  Probably not, except that with the quality of the performance and the outcome of the previous year, no one stood a chance against Meryl.  We can recall that Meryl was a pretty strong front-runner to get her first Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for The French Lieutenant's Woman the year prior.   Katharine Hepburn of course set a record for wins with the upset for her performance in On Golden Pond.  The Academy therefore likely felt comfortable voting for Streep's tour de force performance.  Plus, Meryl had already essentially won every critics' award under the sun for the role.  Here's the nominee list from that ceremony:

Julie Andrews (Victor/Victoria)
Jessica Lange (Frances)
Sissy Spacek (Missing)
Meryl Streep (Sophie's Choice)
Debra Winger (An Officer and a Gentleman)

Andrews and Spacek were already previous winners, and Lange actually won for supporting that same night for Tootsie.  Debra Winger evidently hated An Officer and a Gentleman and refused to do any publicity for it.  Not exactly a good plan for getting votes.  So yeah, slam dunk for Meryl.  Both clips I wanted to use from youtube idiotically had the embed disabled, so here's the link:

Oh Sly.  It was cute how Meryl got a little embarrassed when she dropped her speech.  The speech itself was a little mundane, but it was also 29 years ago and I think everyone expected her to win, so just rattle off the names.  More interestingly, I see this win as part of an Oscar trajectory that I hope happens for Meryl.  It's a course I liken to that of Katharine Hepburn's.  Hepburn won her first Oscar for Morning Glory in the 1932/1933 awards year.  Her next didn't come until 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, a 34-year gap.  She then won the very next year for The Lion in Winter, a film I happen to like immensely.  Hepburn's record fourth came, as I mentioned above, in 1982 for On Golden Pond, at the age of 74.  Streep won this year for The Iron Lady, 29 years after her last win.  It is obviously not unheard of for an icon to win very closely together, which is what I hope for Meryl in two years when she's inevitably (finger crossed) nominated for her role as Violet Weston in August: Osage County.  Granted, if she won, this would already be Meryl's fourth Oscar, whereas is was Hepburn's third when she won so close together.  But if I want Meryl to surpass Hepburn's record, which I've made clear ad nauseam on this blog, she'll have to acquire that extremely elusive fifth statuette.  The best chance for that to happen is the same way it happened for Hepburn: after a win in two years for August, a sort of lifetime achievement honor well down the road, which some mistakenly think this year's win was.

Time will tell of course.  I've no doubt Harvey Weinstein is already carving out the path to victory.

1 comment:

  1. I had a study on the past Academy trends as my undergraduate thesis. And what I found out was that Meryl's chances back then (1983) was twice as much as her nearest competitor. :-)