Sunday, October 21, 2012

Academy Awards analysis (1988)

It's been a slow week for Meryl in Oscar buzz for Hope Springs and filming updates on August: Osage County so I thought I'd tackle my next Academy Awards analysis.  In 1988 Meryl portrayed Lindy Chamberlain in A Cry in the Dark, a film about Australian Lindy Chamberlain and her daughter's snatching and ultimate death by a dingo.  I won't get too into the details of the real case that was going on during the filming of this movie (I'll save that for a film review and likely a "snub").  Suffice it to say, this was a rather contentious undertaking, as Streep was obviously an American in Australia portraying a very infamous woman.

This was Meryl's sixth nomination for Actress in a Leading role in the 1980's.  A better decade of varied roles for an actress has likely never happened, with the possible exception of Mery'ls current ten-year history of film making.  Here is the list of nominees for that year:

Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons)
Jodie Foster (The Accused)
Melanie Griffith (Working Girl)
Meryl Streep (A Cry in the Dark)
Sigourney Weaver (Gorillas in the Mist)

Jodie Foster came away with the first of her two Oscars.  She would take her second only three years later for The Silence of the Lambs, which is possibly my all-time favorite film.

Glenn Close had a pretty damn good decade herself, with five total nominations (three in supporting).   No wins for her, however.   I can't believe I've never seen Dangerous Liaisons; it's the only one of the five performances listed above I haven't seen.   Sigourney Weaver was a double nominee that year (supporting in Working Girl).   She and Close were probably gnashing their teeth at this 26 year-old taking the prize after the dues they had paid.  Griffith was great, but in my opinion likely 5th place that year.  Of Meryl's five losses for Oscar in the 1980's, this and The French Lieutenant's Woman were two performances that arguably were the best of their respective year.  I'll go over this in a future snub post eventually, but considering the frequency with which Meryl had been recently nominated, fatigue was likely setting in.  It also would've been her third award in nine years.  Yeah, wasn't gonna happen. 


  1. Out of all the nominations she has lost, I count this as the one she most likely should or would have won if, as you point out, she hadn't already 2 awards (which her kids used to use as swords!)
    The second was The Bridges of Madison County, then Silkwood followed by either Doubt or Adaptation.
    I completely agree with you though - even an incredible performance like ACITD which leaves a shiver to this day isn't enough to secure a third win in 9 years when you still have strong fellow nominees..

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