Saturday, March 14, 2015

Academy Awards analysis (2002)

Jeeze it's been almost two years since I've posted in this tag.  There has simply been too much other Meryl news since then with four film releases and multiple rumored projects. We return to this section to cover a year which saw what many thought would be Meryl's return to the Oscar stage.  This was probably the closest Meryl came to winning the Academy Award since 1982' Sophie's Choice, with the trophy ultimately going to Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago.  With Streep's 13th overall nom, she had surpassed the great Katharine Hepburn for most-nominated actress.

Coincidentally, it was during this awards season that I became an über fan of Meryl.  During winter break of my first year of grad school, I holed up and watched like fifteen Streep films in one weekend.  The buzz around her work in both Adaptation and The Hours was a little more special that year because Meryl hadn't been in a feature film at this point for three years. Perhaps the performances, both directed by what some would call "auteur" directors, made her seem somewhat fresh in their eyes.  Few had seen Streep in such a challenging, nuanced role as that of a reimagined take on author Susan Orlean.

Early predictions saw Meryl as the favorite, but Zeta-Jones, bolstered by the enormous box office success of Chicago, slowly began snapping at her heels.  As Zeta-Jones was in the lead category for Musical/Comedy at the Globes, Meryl ended up taking her first win there in twenty years.  An apparent category mix up at the SAGs left her off the nomination list for both of her films, but she eventually made the top five for Supporting Actress at the Oscars, her first in that category since Kramer vs Kramer.  

The full list in her category that is as follows:

Kathy Bates (About Schmidt)
Queen Latifah (Chicago)
Julianne Moore (The Hours)
Meryl Streep (Adaptation)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago)

I saw Chicago in the the theater four or five times (once actually in the city of Chicago ha) so was thrilled for Catherine, even if I thought Meryl was clearly the best that year.  By the time the ceremony rolled around, which some thought may not happen because the United States's invasion of Iraq had happened just a few days prior, it was pretty much expected that Zeta-Jones would take the prize.   Alas, the event (sans the typical red carpet hullabaloo) went on as planned and Meryl had now lost nine consecutive times at the Academy Awards.  


  1. I actually think this was the first time I ever watched The Oscars - it was the middle of the night here and I was only about 15! Haha, we all knew CJZ from British TV so it was exciting to watch her win.

    I also recall some scandal that Michael Douglas had campaigned a lot for her and had big viewing parties in her honour. Not sure how true this was.

    Of course, years later I can see who should have won and I love Kathy Bates story which makes it sound like Meryl was a bit annoyed at losing this one. I'd love to know her thoughts on all the Oscars etc - I don't believe what she said about writing a speech for each ceremony though!

    1. You mean you don't believe she wrote speeches for every nomination and kep them? She's said she could put them in a book. Ha.

  2. Yes that! I think she was joking as she wouldn't really have wasted her time in years like Music of the Heart or Ironweed? She didn't even go in 1991!

    I totally agree, looking back this was probably the closest she came to the top for a very long time. Even though I would have placed her no.1 for Silkwood, A Cry in the Dark and possibly The Bridges of Madison County I doubt she was close any of those years.