Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How close did Meryl come to winning each year?

There was a thread started last week on the Gold Derby forums entitled "Where Meryl Streep finished with her 16 losses."  It's been fun to see people's rankings and thoughts/explanations as to where they thought she fell every time she's been nominated for an Academy Award.  I haven't added my two cents up to this point, but one of my most faithful readers suggested I provide my rankings.  Ask and ye shall receive.

I'm not going to go through the trouble of listing and ranking every nominee.  I'll simply list the year (of film release) for each of Meryl's nominations and where I think she may have ended up in the voting lineup.  If you're interested in the list of other nominees, they can be found by searching here.  We obviously know she finished first in 1979 (Kramer vs Kramer), 1982 (Sophie's Choice) and 2011 (The Iron Lady).  Here goes...

1978 The Deer Hunter: 4th
1981 The French Lieutenant's Woman: 2nd
1983 Silkwood: 4th
1985 Out of Africa: 3rd
1987 Ironweed: 5th
1988 A Cry in the Dark: 3rd
1990 Postcards from the Edge: 5th
1995 The Bridges of Madison County: 4th
1998: One True Thing: 5th
1999: Music of the Heart: 5th
2002 Adaptation: 2nd
2006 The Devil Wears Prada: 2nd
2008 Doubt: 2nd
2009 Julie & Julia: 2nd
2013 August: Osage County: 5th
2014 Into the Woods: 3rd

Of course these are just my best guesses, and I'd be happy to provide my full ranking on individual years if anyone's interested.  Difficult years for me were 1978, 1983, 1995 and 2014.  I'm fairly confident in her 2nd place finishes in 2002-2009.  It helped set the stage for what many thought was her "overdue" status for a third win in 2011.

Let me know your thoughts!


  1. Overall- I would have guessed the same. It feels pretty accurate to me. Although I feel she was robbed of a Bridges win...

  2. Always interesting to know your views on this in-depth Jeff. I read the threads on the forum yesterday with interest. I think some of them are deluded and others were there to whip up a bit of mischief but fun nonetheless!

    For me I find some of them difficult to place as I haven’t seen all the contenders but I definitely agree that all 4 nominations in the 2000s she likely placed 2nd.

    The French Lieutenant’s Woman (I don’t believe the nonsense about Diane Keaton being close) Meryl won many of the other awards this year for her breakout lead performance in a well received film tackling 2 roles
    Adaptation (CJZ playing the game well)
    The Devil Wears Prada (would have won had it been supporting)
    Doubt (Winslet and Weinstein for an unfair win)
    Julie and Julia

    The Deer Hunter (She was young and also had Holocust that year as well as a Tony nomination and being very pretty)
    Out of Africa (Best Picture winner and epic performance)
    Into The Woods (Cannot believe Knightley could have garnered more votes for an average performance and Dern is too little too late)

    Postcards from the Edge (I think she gained some votes for tackling comedy so well)
    A Cry in the Dark
    The Bridges of Madison County (This should have been a win but I never felt it came that close)
    One True Thing

    Ironweed (only nomination without any other nominations for a little-seen film)
    Music of the Heart (would have been a good TV film but her weakest nomination)
    August: Osage County (likely would have finished second again this year had she not won for The Iron Lady)

  3. I'd be interested in knowing, Jeff, where you feel Meryl should have finished in the balloting for each of her 19 nominations.
    For example, my opinions:
    1978 - The Deer Hunter - 3rd
    1979 - Kramer vs Kramer - 1st
    1981 - The French Lieutenant's Woman - 2nd
    1982 - Sophie's Choice - 1st
    1983 - Silkwood - 2nd
    1985 - Out Of Africa - 3rd
    1987 - Ironweed - 3rd (I have not seen Sally Kirkland's performance)
    1988 - A Cry In The Dark - 1st
    1990 - Postcards From The Edge - 3rd (I have not seen Joanne Woodward's performance)
    1995 - The Bridges Of Madison County - 2nd (I have not seen Sharon Stone's or Elizabeth Shue's performances)
    1998 - One True Thing - 3rd (I have not seen Fernanda Montenegro's or Emily Watson's performances)
    1999 - Music From The Heart - 5th (Other than Meryl's, I have only seen Hilary Swank's, but I can only assume the other three were better than Meryl in this, her weakest nomination)
    2002 - Adaptation - 2nd
    2006 - The Devil Wears Prada - 1st (I have not seen Penelope Cruz's performance)
    2008 - Doubt - 2nd (I have not seen Anne Hathaway's performance, but I have Meryl second to Melissa Leo)
    2010 - Julie and Julia - I have only seen two of the performances but would put Meryl in 1st place over Sandra Bullock
    2011 - The Iron Lady - I have not seen Rooney Mara's or Glenn Close's performances but would put Meryl in 2nd place behind Michelle Williams
    2013 - August: Osage County - I have not seen Cate Blanchett's or Judi Dench's performances but would put Meryl in 1st place of those I've seen.
    2014 - Into The Woods - I have not seen any of the five performances

    1. Oh goodness. That's so difficult to do mainly because there are so many performances (as you similarly listed) which I have not seen. It's probably not fair for me to try to place her in those years. I will, however list for the 2000s, as I think I've made a point of watching most of the other nominees' films as well. Here goes:

      2002 Adaptation 1st
      2006 The Devil Wears Prada 3rd
      2008 Doubt 2nd?? among those I've seen (haven't seen Frozen River, Changeling or Rachel Getting Married!)
      2009 Julie & Julia 1st
      2011 The Iron Lady 1st
      2013 August: Osage County 2nd
      2014 Into the Woods 1st

    2. I'm not sure why that last 2009 got in there...?

  4. I agree with most of your rankings. I think Meryl was much closer to winning in 1989 (when she lost to Jodie Foster).