Well, we now now which of the crazy women Meryl will be playing in The Homesman. The answer is none of them. IMDb has updated the cast listing for this film and they now reveal whom a few of the actors will be portraying. Meryl is listed as playing Altha Carter. Someone on the Meryl Streep forum who has evidently read the book reports that Altha is the minister's wife and woman to whom Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) and George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) are bringing the insane ladies. Apparently her character is really only in one scene at the end of the book. This basically means that Streep's involvement is likely going to be more of a cameo than a true supporting role, and therefore, no Oscar buzz.
I'm expecting the book in the mail in a few days, and this news makes me less excited to read it. But, at least it'll force me to make it to the end if I want to read the section involving Meryl's character.
I shouldn't get too disappointed in the likelihood of Meryl's small part. This picture is possibly going to be released at the end of the year, and we'll already have pa-lenty of news to cover with the release of August: Osage County in November.