Meryl fans everywhere are damn near in shock. Tom O'Neill over at Gold Derby has indicated in a recent article that Meryl has agreed to be campaigned in the supporting category for August: Osage County. This is huge news. A debate that seemed mostly settled has now resurfaced, in which the blogosphere opines on category placement for both Streep and Julia Roberts. Most, myself included, assumed that Streep would go lead, therefore making it difficult for Roberts to get nominated alongside her in the same category...a feat not accomplished since 1991's Thelma & Louise. An argument can be made for either Streep or Roberts to go supporting. Truth be told, I think the amount of screen time (which Roberts no doubt will have more of) is always an easier, if not accurate, indicator for people to wrap their brains around when deciding placement.
But with the lead category becoming saturated with the likes of heavy hitters Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet and possibly Amy Adams, I can understand Harvey Weinstein's rationale. Streep won last year in lead for The Iron Lady, and the current supporting category is much less full. Right now, only Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station) and Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels' The Butler) seem like good bets at this point. Spencer, like Streep, just won the Academy Award in 2012 for Actress in a Supporting Role for The Help. There's no strong "due" factor for her obviously so it wouldn't hurt Streep's chances. I haven't seen Oprah's performance yet, but I can't imagine it being stronger than Meryl's as Violet Weston, a role for which I firmly believe would be an extremely difficult role to beat in lead had Meryl not won last year. That recent win helps explain why Meryl is perhaps cool with going supporting now, as opposed to for One True Thing, The Devil Wears Prada, or Julie & Julia.
As this news proves, only time will tell where everything will end up. Suffice it to say that I was looking forward to Meryl being in the hunt for a lead win, but as things progress, that was seeming less likely considering the aforementioned factors. Maybe we'll be calling Meryl a four-time Oscar winner next year after all. Two wins in both supporting and lead wouldn't be too shabby, right? Don't forget though, she still has to break the record at some point. I was just hoping she could at least tie Katharine Hepburn for lead wins. Not that she still couldn't, but I thought August: Osage County would be the perfect vehicle. Turns out it still may be, just in a different category. Can anyone tell the difference between an Oscar statuette for lead and supporting wins? I didn't think so.