Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!" begins filming

Yesterday, Lily James posted an Instagram photo writing "It's Happening," indicating that filming has begun on the Mamma Mia! sequel.

A post shared by @lilyjamesofficial on

There were earlier reports that filming was to be at least partly in Croatia, but I don't know if that's where this photo was taken or when Meryl's scenes actually begin.  Regardless of when they do, since it's barely mid August and filming is already underway, I expect shooting to wrap around November.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Six years of Word on the Streep

Today marks six years since I started Word on the Streep!  After almost 700 posts (and counting), it continues to bring me great joy to follow Meryl's career.  As always, I want to say a very big 'thank you' to any and all readers.  The discussions, feedback and information you all provide make this blog doubly worth doing.  I hope to continue to live up to expectations and quality updates about our girl.

I hope she never slows down!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Results of poll #4

I know that the current poll has a few days remaining but since the voting has sort of leveled off I thought I'd comment on it now.  With 35 total votes in, I'm pleasantly surprised that Diana Nyad is the person whom people would most like to see Meryl portray in a biopic.  My surprise comes from not even expecting most people to know who she is.  I had never heard of her until I saw that one of the black list scripts was about her.

This could still be a viable role for Meryl.  A physical transformation in an inspiring story.  As I mentioned in one of my comments, it would be cool if she chose to film this just after turning 70 in 2019, sort of a fun physical achievement to prepare herself for all the swimming she'd likely have to do.  Plus, with already having completed The Papers, were she to do Nyad, I'd be two-for-two in the last two years in predicting which black list script she chose!

Make it happen, movie world.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Casting update for "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!"

Multiple sources have reported that Jeremy Irvine and Alexa Davies have joined the cast of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!  Irvine, best known for playing the lead role in Steven Spielberg's War Horse, will portray the younger version of Pierce Brosnan's character, while Davies will play Rosie, the younger version of Julie Walters's character in the original.

I have to admit I've never seen War Horse, but like the idea of Irvine and Meryl swapping stories on set of working with Steven.  The last I heard, filming was to start in late summer or early fall, so I suppose Meryl will be hightailing it to Croatia fairly soon.

The next year will be an unexpectedly full one for Meryl in the filming department.  Shooting just wrapped on The Papers, so I imagine that as soon as she's finished up with shooting Mamma Mia she'll be on a promotional blitz for the film back in the U.S.  Hopefully she'll be a factor in awards season.  Then we get Mamma Mia in the summer and Mary Poppins Returns next December.  Still crossing my fingers that The Nix finally gets greenlit for production as well.  If it does, I expect it to film next spring and/or summer.

It's a fun time to be a Meryl fan!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Poll #4: Whom would you most like to see Meryl portray in a biopic?

You guys have given me a great list of options for what the next poll should be.  As I said in an earlier post comment, I'm going to make polls of all the questions, but of course can only chose one at at time.

For poll number four, I've chosen the question of whom we'd like to see Meryl portray in a biopic.  We all know that she's already given us an incredible package of portayals, from Karen Silkwood, Karen Blixen and Lindy Chamberlain, to Roberta Guaspari, Julia Child and Margaret Thatcher.  But there are several more women out there that could make incredible subjects, with Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham her latest incarnation.

I've made the list longer this time around, as there are so many names I can think of that I'd love to see Meryl play.  As usual, chose one of the names in the poll.  I'm asking that if you chose "other", that you please comment your choice below.  And even if you happen to chose a name from the list but happen to think of another, I'd love to hear your suggestion.

The poll will be open for two weeks.  Let's do this.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New pics from the set of "The Papers"

Some eager fans evidently had their phones at the ready on the set of The Papers today, as a few new shots of Meryl were tweeted:

Filming will be entering its third month next week.  I imagine they'll be wrapping by the third week in August which will leave just four months for completion before it hits theaters in a limited release.  Spielberg will probably need to have it ready even sooner, as they'll have to get screeners to SAG members and the Hollywood Foreign Press, as the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Award nominations are usually announced in early December.  We know Spielberg has done it before in a short time.  He'll do it again.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Results of poll #3

Jeeze I almost forgot to comment on the results of poll #3: Which film would you remove from Meryl's biography?  I personally selected The House of the Spirits.  The main reason of course is that it's just an awful film.  In fact, my friend Scooter and I tried to re-watch it a few years back and had to stop after about twenty minutes because it was so bad.  Secondly, the film is a whitewashed version of a book that supposed to take place in South America.  The characters are supposed to be Chilean, but half of them are just super white Anglo-Saxon.  We could debate for hours the multiple questions and problems that involves, but I tend to be someone who prefers realism in narrative films such as this, and the casting drew me out of the story immediately.

Just as many people chose Before and After as did The House of the Spirits, and with good reason.  Before and After is arguably a worse film, but House of the Spirits was supposed to be a slam dunk of assembled talent and story.  Considering that House had the potential to be a great film and fell so far from that, I had to give it the edge over Before and After, which probably had fewer major problems overall.

What should we do for the next poll?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More new pics of Streep on set of "The Papers"

Filming of The Papers continues in New York with a few new snapshots of Meryl in character released online today:

Probably just a few more weeks of filming, then they'll have to hit the editing room hard to get this out by the end of the year. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Disney teases Emily Blunt in "Mary Poppins Returns"

Earlier today, Disney tweeted a brief video of Emily Blunt in character in the title role as Mary Poppins for the upcoming sequel to the 1964 classic:

I realize that this is basically a tease of a tease, in that we don't see any actual footage of the film, but apparently a snippet was unveiled this weekend at the Disney Fan Club Expo (D23), and the audience freaked out.

Of course Meryl has a supporting role in the picture, playing Poppins's cousin, Topsy Turvey.  The film opens nationwide on Christmas Day, 2018.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Streep receives Emmy nomination for narrating "Five Came Back"

Well isn't this a nice surprise?!  The Emmy nominations were announced Thursday and our girl snagged a nom for her narration of the Netflix documentary series Five Came Back.  Congrats, Meryl!  The others in her category were as follows:

Liev Schreiber (Muhammad Ali: Only One)
Liev Schreiber (UConn: The March To Madness--“Episode 1”)
Sam Neill (Wild New Zealand)
Ewan McGregor (Wild Scotland)
Lawrence Fishburne (Year Million)

Interestingly, Meryl has worked on screen with all of her fellow nominees, with the exception of Lawrence Fishburne.

The awards ceremony will be held September 17.  I highly doubt Meryl will be in attendance.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lily James cast as mini Meryl in "Mamma Mia!" sequel

Multiple sources are now reporting that actress Lily James (Downton Abbey, Cinderalla, Baby Driver) has been cast in the role of 'Young Donna' in the upcoming Mamma Mia! sequel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!  Meryl of course plays the original Donna, while the film goes back and forth between past and present.  The great Christine Baranski has also confirmed that she'll be reprising her role for the sequel as well.

With the quality of cast that has agreed to return and new members joining, I can't imagine that this script is pure crap.  As I mentioned before, having Ol Parker at the helm this time around boosts my confidence in this project a bit as well.  The one big question remaining is exactly how big of a role is this for Meryl?  Will it be half and half present and past?  Almost a cameo?  Lead role? I'd venture a guess that it's somewhere in the middle.  We'll find out soon enough.

The film is set for release on July 20, 2018.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New pic from the set of "The Papers"

A new pic has surfaced of Meryl in costume as Kay Graham in Steven Spielberg's The Papers:

I think the glasses might be Meryl's, but obviously the rest is pure character.  

There's certainly been a lot of chatter on awards blogs about not only Meryl's role but the entire pedigree of this film.  Speculation is that this will contend for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor and Actress.   I want more than anything for this movie to be big deal and of course bring Meryl a lot of acclaim, but the pessimist in me is cautious.  We've been in the position before where expectations were super high for a film (see A:OC) and it not delivering in all departments.  Here's hoping The Papers is the real thing.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

John Williams to score "The Papers"

Variety reported yesterday that five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams will be writing the score for The Papers.  Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg's other film that is currently going through post-production, was apparently going to be scored by Williams, but since The Papers will likely be finishing up within the next month, Allen Silvestri will handle Ready Player One and Williams The Papers. 

I hadn't realized that Williams worked with Spielberg on all but two of Spielberg's other films.  The Papers is shaping up to have everything it needs to in regard to production team and actors to be a huge deal.  If this goes well, it could be a major boost to Meryl's career.  I realize that she already enjoys legend status in Hollywood, but I'm always looking forward to whether or not great scripts get put into production with her involved.  Favorable reviews and big box office returns for a film that captures the zeitgeist of the U.S. political climate could very well be the next project to do that for her, a la The Devil Wears Prada.  It's exciting.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wish list entry #5: Clarice Lispector

It has been since March of 2014 that I've made an official entry to this blog section.  What's prompted the update?  Well, over the past several weeks I've been revisiting the list of roles I've kept of characters (whether real people or fictional) I'd love to see Meryl portray.  I have a more specific intention for revisiting this list, but I'm not going to get into that quite yet.  Suffice it to say that I'll be taking on another fairly extensive Meryl project, not unlike my Reimagined Filmography.  More on that in the future.

Having the day off from work yesterday for Independence Day, I found myself doing a deep dive of the "rumored projects" section of the Meryl Streep Forum.   It was a good review of some things I already knew, but there were many roles or potential projects that I had never heard of!  Most of them were indeed simply rumors.  Others turned out to be the real deal.  One role in particular that she was rumored for, based purely on fan speculation, was a biopic of Brazilian author Clarice Lispector.

I had never heard of Lispector prior to yesterday.  Reading that she was Brazilian quickly made me wonder if it would be appropriate for a white person to portray a Brazilian, but Lispector was actually born to Ukrainian parents (in Ukraine) and emigrated to Brazil as an infant.  Of course my mind immediately went to "OMG I wonder what she sounded like?!"  So I promptly went on YouTube and watched a portion of the only television interview she ever did, which took place in January of 1977, less than a year before her death, one day before turning 57.

Why this character?  After reading about her background, life events and personality, and having watched her interview online, she seems like an absolutely fascinating individual.  Leaving post-WWI Ukraine with her family as a baby, growing up Jewish, frighteningly intelligent, possibly mental illness, physical impairment (she suffered severe burns on her right hand after falling asleep with a lit cigarette in 1966), death by ovarian cancer at relatively young age.   Add that to the aforementioned distinct speech she had (one of Meryl's specialties), and it would be very interesting to see on screen.

I couldn't find any info on whether or not she definitively spoke English, but considering she spent a fair amount of time in London and over five years living in the U.S., I imagine she did.  American author Benjamin Moser published an extensive biography on Lispector in 2012 entitled Why This World, which I may just have to check out.  Perhaps I'll get a better idea of how a feature film would've worked out if one were interested in chronicling her later life.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Poll #3: Which film would you remove from Meryl's filmography?

If any of you have read my reimagined filmography of Meryl's career, you know I've spent way too much a lot of time pondering which movies of hers I'd replace or simply remove, given the chance.  As it's been a few weeks since I've posted a poll and a few readers have had the same suggestion on what the next one should be, off to the side you'll see the latest question.  Feel free to add your explanations for your choices in the comments section as usual.  I'm going to leave voting open for two weeks this time.

Friday, June 23, 2017

First look at Meryl in "The Papers"

Some lucky woman who was apparently late for work snapped a selfie on an elevator with Meryl (on her birthday no less) and Tom Hanks while the two were in costume on the set of The Papers. 

It looks like Meryl is wearing her own glasses, but that hair and dress are extremely 1970s.  She of course will be portraying publisher Kay Graham, while Tom Hanks plays editor Ben Bradlee.  Despite this being a non-official still, it's nice to get a glimpse of their looks.  

Thanks to Sean L for alerting me to the pic!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy 68th, Meryl!

Our girl turns 68 today.  Not much to say other than just acknowledging this milestone.  She's probably busily shooting scenes this week for The Papers, but hopefully she gets a chance to put her feet up and enjoy a nice glass of wine at some point.  Cheers to you on your birthday and best wishes for many more to come.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

What's the status of "The Nix"?

I came across a couple of videos on You Tube today that feature author Nathan Hill on tour discussing his novel The Nix.  As we know, it was announced last September that Meryl had signed on to portray one of the main characters, Faye.  Not long after that we learned that John Logan would be the showrunner and that Meryl was going to make bank for each episode.  Other than that, not much has been updated since.

So, my ears perked up a bit when Hill briefly discussed the potential limited series in two separate videos at events that both took place last month.  Go to 51:23 in the first and 48:55 in the second.



We don't really learn a ton of new stuff, but since both of these events took place in May, it's good to know that he recently met with producers about the adaptation.  He confirmed John Logan as the screenwriter, stated J.J. Abrams would be directing and that it would probably be a single season of about 10 episodes.  They're just waiting to see which network is interested in picking it up.  This seems HBO-ish to me, but could see it going to Netflix or Amazon too.  I don't really care, as long as it gets made.

Despite The Papers probably wrapping by early August, Meryl won't have a ton of time before heading to Croatia to film Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!  The Nix is a fairly sprawling tale which could potentially take a while time to shoot.  That said, Meryl's role of Faye would not require she be in every episode, or at least not a lot of every episode.  It might make sense for them to shoot this next spring and have it out by fall of next year to precede the midterm elections in the U.S.  Looking forward to the possibility of seeing this story come to life.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!" set to film in Croatia this fall

An online Croatian magazine has reported that filming for the Mamma Mia! sequel is planned to begin on the island of Vis this fall.  Set near Croatia's Dalmation coast, the island will serve as a substitute for the Greek island of Kalokairi.

My big question is what does "fall" or "later this year" mean?  Also, we still don't know exactly how big Meryl's part is going to be in this pic.  An autumn filming schedule could mean different things for other potential projects if Meryl were lead vs supporting.  By most accounts, it sounds like she does not have the same size role as the original, which would likely result in a shorter shooting schedule for her in Croatia.

I wonder if we're ever going to hear about a network that officially picks up The Nix.  If that were to get pulled together, I imagine that they'd like to get it going to allow for a release prior to May 31 next year, which would make it eligible for the Emmys.  Similarly to The Papers, The Nix is very topical considering the current U.S. president and overall political climate.  In fact, I think it even more so captures the zeitgeist than does The Papers, so getting it out sooner than later seems like it would maximize interest and therefore viewers.

Stay tuned.

Not a bad spot to film a movie. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Results of poll #2

It's been almost two weeks since the second poll closed.  I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that Evita came in first with a total of  14 votes (40%).  In second place with nine votes was Thelma & Louise, which of course was the film I voted for.  As I had commented in my original Shoulda Coulda Woulda for that film, it's probably the mother of all missed opportunities for me as a Meryl fan.  Of course there is no way of knowing if the film would've been as good or successful with different leading ladies, but that doesn't stop me from wondering.  Especially since it came during Merl's "wilderness years" in regard to quality pictures.

Glad to see that Julieta didn't finish last.  Wasn't sure if people would be aware of how that film never came to fruition with Meryl.

What do people want for next poll?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Behind the scenes look at "Mary Poppins Returns"

Entertainment Weekly is running a cover story on Mary Poppins Returns.  In it, they apparently give us some behind the scenes info on the making of the film.  There's a link to a few new production stills as well.  Although we don't get a glimpse of Meryl in character as Topsy, we do get a shot of her at the piano with Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda:

After watching the below video, I'm actually kind of getting excited to see this film.  I'm a great fan of the original and the sequel's production value looks exquisite.  Only a year and a half to wait! 


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"The Post" gets new title, cast members

Several sources are reporting today that the 'Untitled Steven Spielberg Project,' formerly known as The Post, has been retitled The Papers.  This most likely refers to the Pentagon Papers, but I wonder if it might also include the fact that the publishing of the Pentagon Papers was a duel effort that actually began with The New York Times, not the Washington Post.  Regardless, the new title is more fitting.

In addition to the new title, at least twelve new cast members were revealed today.  IMDb has already added the names, and it's quite impressive.  Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, The People v. O.J. Simpson)  Michael Stuhlbarg (from TV's Fargo and the upcoming Call Me By Your Name which I cannot wait for), Matthew Rhys (whom I absolutely adore from The Americans) and Tracy Letts (who of course wrote August: Osage County), among others.   Unfortunately, the characters each is playing is not yet listed, but I'm sure we could speculate to high heaven as to who is playing whom.  I'm particularly interested in which actress of either Carrie Coon or Alison Brie will play Meryl's daughter, Lally.  By the looks of her, I'm guessing Brie.  I imagine Sarah Paulson will portray Tom Hanks's wife, Tony Bradlee.

Regardless of who ends up where, this is a splendid cast.  It's almost impossible to not imagine or expect a SAG ensemble win for this group, particularly since there are so many speaking parts and characters intertwined.  All anchored by our girl, of course.  I couldn't be more please with this news.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Filming wraps on "Mary Poppins Returns"

Filming is evidently complete on Mary Poppins Returns.  I was pretty sure they were close based on some of the tweets I had read from Lin-Manuel Miranda.  But this recent one confirms they have officially wrapped:

IMDbPro lists that filming began in February of this year.  Not that five or six months wouldn't be a long shoot, but I seem to remember that some scenes were shot as early as last fall.  Unfortunately I've seen no glimpse of Meryl on set or in costume.  My guess is that we'll have to wait for some production stills or a teaser.  Considering the film won't be released for another 18 months, those glimpses might be a while.  Director Rob Marshall should have plenty of time for post-production.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Filming begins on "The Post"

IMDb has switched the "Untitled Steven Spielberg Project" to the 'filming' section of Meryl's filmography.  It's listed as having started May 31 (yesterday), which aligns with original reports that shooting would be underway by May.

I'm still rather surprised that we have no information on other cast members at this point, but we know that info will be revealed eventually, and probably soon.  And for those of you skeptics out there who still think that the film won't be ready in time for a 2017 release, we know that there are multiple films that have had even later start dates that not only made it in time, but were also good film.  See Munich.  

In other news, several sources are reporting that Amanda Seyfried has joined the cast of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!  I didn't necessarily feel this needed its own post so I figured I'd just tag it along with this one.  Details on the shooting schedule of that film should be forthcoming.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Streep, Hanks and Spielberg visit Washington Post

I'd been wondering if filming was underway for The Post (no longer the title, but haven't seen official release on new title) as I had previously seen that May 22 was supposed to be the date.  It now appears that they may still technically be in pre-production, as Meryl, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg were on hand this morning at the Washington Post to observe a meeting, likely for research purposes.

All previous indications have been that filming was set to start in May, knowing that it is supposed to be released in December.  Maybe it will officially begin next week (still May).  Regardless, just glad to see some action on this!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Poll #2: Which film that Meryl was at one point attached to star in do you most wish she had ultimately done?

That is probably going to be the longest post title I will ever have on this blog.  Hopefully people understand what I mean.  As you can see to the right, I've listed five films in which Meryl never starred:

Thelma & Louise
The Remains of the Day
The Last Station

If you click on any of the above titles, you'll get the background on her potential involvement in each.   Chose which one you would've most like to see her in.   I'll of course hold off on talking about which role I choose, but you might be able to tell just from the links.

Excited to see everyone's responses!

Friday, May 19, 2017

"Mamma Mia!" sequel in the works

Among other sources, Variety is reporting that Meryl is set to reprise her role as Donna in the sequel to 2008's Mamma Mia!, entitled Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!

When I first read the news, I have to admit that I was disappointed.  Generally, I've never really thought that doing a sequel would be up to Meryl's standards.  Historically, what I've probably enjoyed most about her is the variety of characters she chooses to portray, and doing a sequel seems to fly in the face of that history.

It's not like Mamma Mia! was a great film, either.  However, it totally made the dough.  If we consider the fact that Meryl will turn 68 this summer, it might actually be a super smart move on her part.  Mamma Mia! grossed over $600 million worldwide in 2008.  What better way to give a boost to your "bankability" than to star in a cash cow that might bolster your status with filmmakers for a decade to come?

With that in mind, I can't help but wish this were news of The Good House instead.  I have to try to be pragmatic though, understanding that Meryl had a great number of doors open for her after the financial success of the original, and if the sequel were to do even half as well, it would provide for future projects that would likely be very much to my liking.

It's interesting that for a long time after Florence Foster Jenkins rapped in 2015, I lamented the dearth of projects on Streep's horizon.  Finally, in July of last year it was announced that she would have a bit part in Mary Poppins Returns, to be released at the end of 2018.  Now, however, we potentially have three projects that are set to film and debut well before that.  The Post, or "Untitled Steven Spielberg Project" has a release date of December this year.  The Nix could potentially get pulled together for a second quarter slate of 2018, and now Here We Go Again! already has a release date for July 20, 2018.  What a change from just a few months ago!

It gives me confidence in this new project that the writer of both Exotic Marigold Hotel films is penning this for Meryl.  That said, it doesn't seem that Ol Parker has necessarily established himself as a great director.  Regardless, we know he probably has a good handle on what makes this demographic tick, which is why I feel Meryl is hopping aboard.

Fingers crossed that this is a success and provides Meryl  multiple future opportunities to shine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Final first poll results!

Well, the voting has ended for the first poll on Word on the Streep, and The Hours is the overwhelming top vote-getter (71%) to decide which performance was the biggest Oscar snub for Meryl.  I was one of the few who voted for The Manchurian Candidate.  While I absolutely believe Meryl should've been nominated for her performance as Clarissa Vaughan in The Hours, if we take into account the landscape of the films and performances that were up for recognition in both 2002 and 2004 (the release years for The Hours and The Manchurian Candidate, respectively), it's more of a snub that she missed out in 2004.

The Hours happened to be released the same year as Adaptation, a film for which she was nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role.  Couple that with the fact that The Hours was a film that essentially had three female leads in Nicole Kidman (ultimate winner that year in lead for her role of Viginia Woolf), Julianne Moore (nominated in supporting) and Meryl, and it gets tough to nominate two or especially all three.  If each were on the cusp of being lead or supporting and Kidman's performance was sort of undeniable for a nom, Meryl really had no chance for that film.  Keeping in mind that actors cannot be nominated for two roles in the same category.

Two years later, Streep missed out on a nomination for Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw The Manchurian Candidate.  She had no other films that year that were likely to result in nomination, and she had snagged both Globe and BAFTA noms.  I won't rehash why I think she should've been recognized, but I'll link my thoughts from the original snub post.

What do readers want as the next poll?!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

'Poll' feature added to Word on the Streep

I've been considering for a while adding polls to the website to sort of allow some interaction among readers.  A few of you have offered suggestions and I'm happy to create several polls, but I think I'm going to start with a fairly easy one: Oscar snubs.  To the right you can see the first poll.

There of course is already a section where up to this point I have analyzed four instances where it could be argued Meryl should've been nominated and wasn't.  I'll include those four and add 1994's The River Wild.  

Please let me know if there are other ideas you  have or poll questions you'd like to me create.  This first poll will close in one week.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Is "The Post" now "Nor'easter"?

So, the website My Entertainment World is listing The Post under the new title Nor'easter.  Hmmm.  Well, I don't know if this will ultimately be the title at time of release, but the site also lists that filming is set to start on May 22 in New York, which seems to fit previous info regarding a late May shooting schedule.

I'm not so sure about that title.  The definition of "nor'easter" is 'a a storm or wind blowing from the northeast, especially in New England.'  Seems more like a new title for The Good House than The Post.  I suppose the idea of a storm brewing would be an appropriate usage in regard to the Pentagon Papers, but that title doesn't really give us any indication of what the film is about.  I'm curious to see if it sticks.

If May 22 is the true start date, casting info should be revealed very soon.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"The Post" no longer "The Post"

After it was announced last week that The Post was to be given a limited release on December 22 of this year, articles began removing the title "The Post" from their descriptions.  I had originally thought that this was in error, but it now appears clear that they are likely going to change the title.

I imagine this change is meant to draw better attention to the nature of the film's story.  Considering the film was optioned just last month, has yet to shoot and already has a release date inked in...the powers that be likely want this to capture as much of the current political climate as possible.  Were the film to be called something like "The Pentagon Papers" instead, it might be a bit more alluring (at least to American audiences I suppose).

IMDbPro lists the "The Post" as the film's working title, with "The Pentagon Papers" and "Untitled Steven Spielberg Project/Untitled Steven Spielberg Pentagon Papers" as 'world-wide' working titles.  I'm interested to see if the new name will make it seem more captivating, or help draw the mind away from thinking it's just about a team of journalists working against a powerful foe, similar to the recent Best Picture winner Spotlight (which I absolutely love).  We'll find out soon enough I should think.  Until we do, for the sake of ease, I'll continue to refer to this project as The Post.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"The Post" gets a release date

Variety is reporting that The Post will be given a limited release on December 22 of this year and then be expanded nationwide three weeks later, on January 12.  As we were expecting, this will make the film eligible for the 2018 Oscars.  No official word on the exact date filming is set to start, but considering this news, I expect it will remain on schedule and begin sometime in May, as previously reported.

Strangely, the article cited states that the film is currently untitled, calling it "Steven Spielberg's untitled Pentagon Papers drama."  I imagine that's just bad reporting, and that they're not changing the name of the movie.

Looking forward to info on casting soon!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Updates on "Mary Poppins Returns"

It's been over a month since the first production still was released from the set of Mary Poppins Returns, and in the past couple of weeks there have surfaced some new pics as filming progresses.

Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Blunt and Miranda

There was also a brief video uploaded to You Tube of a night scene of "chimney sweeps" riding their bicycles in St. James Park:

Despite these few morsels from the set, what we're really interested in is getting a glimpse of Meryl in costume. Well, I haven't found any of of those (yet), but based on the following Instragram photo from Sri Lankan lawyer Aritha Wickramasinghe, it appears that she is currently in London, presumably there to film.

So proud to have the support of inspiring people like #MerylStreep to help change world education through @thinkequal and so proud to wear a sarong and showcase #SriLankanStyle to her! #londonevents #londoncharityfundraisers #education

It's not much, but it's somethin'!  My guess is that she's wrapping up her few weeks of filming and then heading back to the States by May to begin shooting The Post.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Streep narrates "Five Came Back"

Last week, the documentary Five Came Back was released on Netflix.  I don't tend to post much about side projects Meryl does that don't directly involve her acting, but having watched this film, I thought it best to make mention of it.  Based on the book by Mark Harris and directed by Laurent Bouzereau, the three-part series covers five Hollywood directors' experiences in World War II (Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, George Stevens and William Wyler).  In it, we're opened to the American public's perception of the war prior to official U.S. involvement, how films ended up bolstering support for U.S. participation and how these directors were utilized to capture the war's countless atrocities.

Five contemporary directors (Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Greengrass, Lawrence Kasdan and Steven Spielberg) offer insight into the historical influence and impact of the aforementioned directors.  The series is a compelling, sobering  representation of the undeniable way film can affect each of us.  It's also currently playing in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for Oscar recognition.  Check it out.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Streep leaps to the top of the 2017 Best Actress race

I realize that it's only the first of April, and that The Post isn't even supposed to start filming until next month.  However, last month's news of Streep's participation in the film with Steven Spielberg at the helm and Tom Hanks to star, followed shortly after by the announcement that it is slated for a 2017 release, shot Meryl to the top of many people's predictions of who will make the cut for an Academy Award nomination.

My go-to site for Oscar prognostication, Awards Watch, updated its monthly voting tally today and Meryl is currently in first place not only among all users, but among the site's Gold Rush Gang.  It's still early in the voting but considering that in last month's poll, Streep's name wasn't even on the list of options, I'd say she's sparking a lot of confidence with predictors.

One would have to be foolish at this premature stage of the race to not include Meryl in the top five of predictions.  A script that came in tied for second place on the Hollywood Blacklist, Steven Spielberg, Hanks, biopic, political drama about freedom of the press...seems like a slam dunk for our girl this year.  Again, it hasn't even begun filming, but assuming it indeed gets underway next month, it's likely going to be a year with every other actress playing catch-up.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Thoughts on "The Post" script and casting

The Post is currently in pre-production, with filming scheduled to begin sometime around late May.  Back in January, when I had posted about my interest in having Meryl star in this film, I of course couldn't help picture her in the role of Kay Graham.  Now that it's actually happening, I obviously had to reread the script.  In doing so, I was more interested in paying close attention to the story and Meryl's character, but now that I look back, I should've also been thinking about who might fit the other roles.

This picture, despite having its two leads (Meryl of course and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee), will very much be an ensemble piece.  There are multiple characters with a fair amount of screen time, so I'd like to throw out a few ideas on who might fit the bill for portrayals.  I have to admit that not very many names popped into my mind while reading the script, but I'll try to joggle my brain a bit to come up with a few actors.  Hopefully readers of this post will be willing to offer their suggestions as well.  It'll be fun to see if we get any right as casting is revealed over the coming weeks.

We of course know that Tom Hanks is portraying Bradlee, but for whatever reason I kept picturing Russell Crowe in the role while reading.  It would not surprise me if the role of Lally, Kay's daughter, were given to Grace Gummer.  Lally is a decent-sized role, and following Streep's recent work with her daughter Mamie in Ricki and the Flash, it would be a great opportunity for Meryl to actually have dialogue in a scene with her daughter Grace.  The two both shared a scene in The Homesman a few years ago, but really no interaction.  Grace was also cast by Tom Hanks in his film Larry Crowne (2011), a connection that may casting her seem less nepotistic.  The one hurdle for Grace's participation may be a scheduling conflict, as season 3 of Mr. Robot evidently begins shooting in April.

Ok, so who are the other characters?  I'm only going to list a few more because there are too many to go through.  A juicy supporting role might turn out being that of Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times.  Ellsberg would have been around 40 years old at the time.  Ben Bagdikian, an Armenian-American and Washington Post journalist, to whom Ellsberg gave potions of the Papers is also a fairly large supporting character. He would have been around 50 at the time (an incidentally just passed away last year).  Hanks's character's wife Tony (Antoinette) could be nice bit part for an actress in her late 40s or early 50s.

Beyond that, there are several older male characters that serve on the board of The Washington Post, the most prominent among them being Frederick "Fritz" Beebe, in his 60s at the time.  A handful of minor characters who would portray Post employees will see a fair amount of screen time as well, as they're regularly working alongside Bradlee.

Here's where I need some help from you guys.  My mind is sort of overwhelmed with the number of cast members so I'm struggling to nail down possibilities.  For Ellsberg, maybe Edward Norton?  For Bagdikian, Ralph Fiennes or Mark Rylance?  Maybe Spielberg will cast Rylance because he's pushing back their collaboration in The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.  It's anyone's guess who will play Tony.  Sharon Stone?

Chime in, please.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Nathan Hill talks "The Nix"

Two nights ago I was alerted to an interview that author Nathan Hill gave regarding his book The Nix.  In it, he briefly discusses the status of the optioned limited series based on the novel that is supposed to star Meryl.  The interviewer specifically asks "what's going on with the Netflix series starring Meryl Streep?"  I initially thought, "well it being on Netflix is news to me."  But Hill goes on to say:

"Well, we’re actually waiting to see where it will land: Netflix, Amazon, Showtime. I have been in contact with the guy who’s going to be our showrunner and is doing the adaptation. His name is John Logan (creator of the Showtime series “Penny Dreadful”) and he’s a fantastic guy and an incredibly talented writer. I’m really excited. We have a lot of firepower behind it. Nothing in Hollywood is set in stone until it’s actually made, so we’re kind of circling around it. But hopefully, we’ll get the green light. We’ve got Meryl Streep (as Faye), we’ve got JJ Abrams, we’ve got John Logan. We’ve got such wattage and I’m super excited about it."

So, a few things here.  Showrunner John Logan is also apparently writing the screenplay for the series.  I was disappointed to read that they're still sort of waiting on getting production finalized, but HIll overall seems pretty optimistic about it.  If we get a network officially attached, I'll feel a lot more comfortable with the likelihood that this is actually going to happen. Like The Post, this story would nicely reflect that current political climate in the U.S., which of course is very much up Meryl's alley. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

40 years since "The Deadliest Season"

Wow.  I'm piggybacking on Simply Streep's post about the 40-year anniversary of Meryl's TV movie The Deadliest Season. Although it's technically the second time Streep had been seen on television (she was seen in a filmed version of the play Secret Service two months prior on PBS), The Deadliest Season marks the first made-for-screen role of her career, and it happened to air on CBS exactly 40 years ago today.

It's astounding to think about how quickly Meryl's screen career skyrocketed in just a few short years following this TV movie.  Her feature film debut came later that year alongside Jane Fonda in Julia, and just one year after that, she would earn her first Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in The Deer Hunter.

I couldn't pass up the chance to recognize this milestone in Streep's career.  Incidentally, The Deadliest Season is the only screen performance of Streep's I haven't seen, as I've never been able to find a copy of it.  Five new clips from the film were released on You Tube last week, so I'll leave you with gem of scene of Meryl at the tender age of 27.

Friday, March 10, 2017

"The Post" set to start filming in May

Deadline is reporting that The Post is already set to begin production this May, with a potential late 2017 release.  Holy crap!  We just found out about this Monday and it may start shooting in like six weeks.  It's understandable that the way this picture may capture the zeitgeist that getting it out as soon as possible could be vital to the film's popularity and overall success.  Director Steven Spielberg will be on a tight schedule to get this wrapped in time for screenings at fall festivals.

If any film were going to be fairly straightforward in regard to shooting, however, it's this one.  Most of the scenes consist of dialogue in interior settings.  No special effects.  No large, sweeping landscapes.  I imagine additional casting news will likely be forthcoming as well.

This would leave the fall open for Meryl to shoot The Nix, which I imagine they'd want to release sometime next spring to most effectively contend for Emmy nominations.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Streep to team with Spielberg and Hanks for "The Post"

Oh. My. God.  It's hard to believe that the blacklist script I discussed two months ago might actually be filmed with Meryl.  Not only that, but Tom Hanks will co-star and Steven Spielberg is going to direct.  Multiple sources are reporting that The Post is set for production, to be co-financed by Fox and Amblin Entertainment.  Based on the Washington Post's publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, Streep would portray publisher Kay Graham, with Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee.

It's not a huge surprise that this script interested Meryl.  The subject is very topical, in that it follows the process of the press trying to keep politicians honest.  And although no specific timeline has been revealed for filming, the Deadline article linked above states that they will "fit this into Spielberg's busy schedule soonest."

So thrilled to have a feature film lead role in the works for Meryl.  More to come soon I'm sure. Ahhh!

Friday, March 3, 2017

First still from "Mary Poppins Returns"

Disney has released the first still from Mary Poppins Returns, and it features Emily Blunt in the titular role:

It's a lovely pic, and as stated in the Hollywood Reporter article, they've dressed Blunt in a much more colorful frock than Julie Andrews ever got to wear as the original Mary.  Hard to believe, but this film won't hit theaters for another 21 months.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

No fourth Oscar, but Meryl shines at the Academy Awards

Everyone and their dog was probably picking Emma Stone to win the Oscar last night in the Best Actress category.  No one, however, expected this Oscar telecast to include the biggest blunder in Academy history, when La La Land was incorrectly announced as the winner over Moonlight.  We all know now that Warren Beatty was accidentally given the "other" copy of the Best Actress envelope instead of the Best Picture winner.  Personally, I think it's a rather simple mistake and hope no heads rolled over it.  I just wish Beatty or Faye Dunaway had had the wherewithal to say "hey, this says Emma Stone."  But, anyone could've been confused by mistake.

Meryl had a few nice moments.  Host Jimmy Kimmel started a standing ovation for her, sort of throwing-it-in-the-face of President Trump for his preposterous claim that she's overrated.  I also haven't really commented on the whole Karl Lagerfeld fiasco because, quite frankly, it's a slanderous attack that Meryl quickly squashed.  She ultimately decided on Elie Saab and looked lovely on the red carpet.

I think it may be a while before we see Meryl nominated for an Oscar again.  Even if she somehow got a supporting nom for Mary Poppins Returns (which I highly doubt), that nomination wouldn't happen until 2019.  Maybe we'll have to settle for recognition at the Emmys before then for The Nix.  Rest assured that any news on a lead role will promptly be covered on this blog.  Until then, happy Meryling.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My 2017 Oscar predictions

Tomorrow is the big day!  It always seems like the Academy Awards are forever away, in that the speculation of who's going to be nominated starts in early March for the following February.  In a way, the show can be anticlimactic because the precursors typically give us a very strong indication of who's winning what.  With that in mind, my predictions in the Best Picture, Director and Acting categories are as follows:

Best Picture
La La Land 
runner-up: Moonlight

Best Director:
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
runner-up: Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Actress in a Leading Role
Emma Stone (La La Land)
runner-up: Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Actor in a Leading Role
Denzel Washington (Fences)
runner-up: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis (Fences)
runner-up: Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
runner-up: Dev Patel (Lion)

I personally would prefer Casey Affleck over Denzel Washington, but I just have a feeling that Denzel is gonna get the love from the Academy.  It's impossible to not predict Emma Stone, but Huppert is not out of it.  I can't imagine a scenario where Viola doesn't win, and although Mahershala Ali didn't get BAFTA, I think he'll snag this one.

Meryl's honor is of course breaking her own record with her 20th nomination.  What am I going to blog about after this weekend?!  Back to a bunch of speculation about future projects, probably.  My fav.

Enjoy the show!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sizing up the 2016 competition: Natalie Portman in "Jackie"

I finally got around to seeing Jackie, completing the Best Actress nominee list for the Oscars.  Were it not for her win in Black Swan six years ago, Natalie Portman would probably be a slam dunk for the win.  Emma Stone has sort of run the table this season, however, so it appears that Portman will end up being another also-ran.  It's a shame because not only is Jackie a great film, but Portman does a fantastic job in her role as former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Following John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, his wife Jackie is tasked with pulling herself together and managing a transition out the White House with her small children, all the while trying to figure out how she can start a narrative on the legacy of her late husband's presidency.

I have to admit, the accent was tad distracting at the beginning, but it helped to know that the real Jackie actually talked like that.  Portman went for authenticity.  With that, one risks distracting audiences and possibly even alienating them.  Ultimately I think it worked out fine.  It's a tough role, with multiple life events and motivations pulling the character in different directions.  Portman negotiated those intricacies seamlessly, and therefore carried the film.

Having seen all five nominees, I think I'd have to rank the performances as follows:

1. Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
2. Natalie Portman (Jackie)
3. Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
4. Ruth Negga (Loving)
5. Emma Stone (La La Land)

I don't want to make it seem like I thought Emma Stone sucked, it's just that those I ranked above her did a superior job in  my opinion  Stone did lovely work in La La Land, and it's a testament to a great year for women's roles that such a performance could be in someone's fifth spot (even though she'll very likely win the Oscar).

On to the Academy Awards next weekend.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Angela Lansbury officially joins "Mary Poppins Returns"

Playbill is reporting that Angela Lansbury has officially joined the cast of Mary Poppins Returns. Dick Van Dyke, who was announced as part of the cast in December, had announced at that time that Lansbury was part of the picture as well, but no official word was out until yesterday.  Not much was said about her character in the article, other than that her name is the "Balloon Lady."  Likely a cameo, probably similar to Meryl's role as Poppins's cousin, Topsy Turvy.   Other notable members of the cast include:

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins)
Ben Whishaw (Michael Banks)
Emily Mortimer (Jane Banks)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Jack)
Christian Dixon (The Milkman)
Colin Firth (William Weatherall Wilkins)
Julie Walters (Ellen)

Filming is currently underway in the U.K. with a release still set for Christmas Day, 2018.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Streep honored by Human Rights Campaign

Last night, Meryl was honored by the Human Rights Campaign at their Greater New York Gala.  Not surprisingly, she took the opportunity to again rip into the President and his policy agenda.  I recommend everyone read the full transcript of her speech in this Hollywood Reporter article.  In it, she eloquently describes how the "weight" of her acting honors drives her out of her comfort zone and natural instinct (which is to "stay the fuck home") and compels her to speak out against what she sees as intolerable behavior.

There are numerous fantastic quotes, but again, I recommend everyone read the full text for themselves.  The most I could find for video is below.  Quick diversion: I wonder if Meryl is flying to London this morning for the BAFTA Awards.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

My BAFTA predictions

The BAFTAs are a bit of an enigma for me at times.  At others, I look at the results in hindsight and think "duh."  More than the other "big three" awards shows, BAFTA tends very heavily to recognize British nominees.  One might think that's to be expected, but it makes for a trickier prediction plan.  The eligible films tend to vary as well.  If a movie isn't given a wide release in the U.K. by year's end (I think), it isn't eligible for BAFTA awards.  That's the same in the U.S. for Golden Globes, SAGs and Oscars.  This year, the most obvious performance missing from the lineup due to eligibility is Isabelle Huppert in Elle.  It will be interesting to see if she gets nominated next year.  If she manages to win the Oscar this year, I can't imagine she doesn't at least get a nom.  Ok, here are my acting predictions.

Actress in a Leading Role
Emma Stone (La La Land)

Seriously Meryl may have a chance here due to the U.K. connections of Florence Foster Jenkins (Stephen Frears, Hugh Grant, filmed in the U.K.), but unlikely.  I'm seeing Jackie today but for some reason the buzz around Natalie Portman seems to have significantly dwindled.

Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

I honestly think Denzel Washington will win the Oscar, but he was snubbed here (bizarre).  So if Affleck doesn't win the BAFTA, I think it's game-set-match for Denzel at the Dolby.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis (Fences)

Viola better win, but Naomie Harris also does a great job in Moonlight and she is English.  Only possible alternative to Davis in my opinion.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

I'm pretty confident here, but maybe Hugh Grant?  His nomination may be seen as his one chance at an acting award, and since he didn't make the top five for Oscar (and he too is English), I wouldn't be shocked if it were him.  Dev Patel could also surprise.

The ceremony evidently begins at 7:00 pm London time (1:00 pm CST U.S.), but it won't be broadcast on British TV until two hours later for whatever reason.  I haven't seen anywhere to live stream, but I'm sure there will be something available if I dig around a bit.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Filming begins on "Mary Poppins Returns"

Several sources have confirmed that filming has begun in Surrey, England on Rob Marshall's Mary Poppins Returns.  There had been some previous speculation that Meryl may have done her filming already, but I wonder if with the BAFTA ceremony this weekend, she'll be attending that and hanging around to complete her shooting.  In the Variety article I've linked above there's a nice summary of a few plot details, in addition to revealing some new cast members.

We still don't have a great idea of the extent of Meryl's role, but as I've mentioned before, I imagine it's rather small.  I picture something similar to her role in Lemony Snicket's.  Still hard to believe that this won't be released for almost two more years.  Can there really be that many special effects in a film like this?  Maybe they want to make the flying scenes look super realistic.  Who knows.

I'll post my BAFTA predictions tomorrow.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sizing up the 2016 competition: Isabelle Huppert in "Elle"

Isabelle Huppert earned her first Academy Award nomination a couple weeks ago for her splendid performance in Paul Verhoeven's Elle.  I knew very little about this film going into it and didn't realize how totally fucked up the story is.  I say fucked up in a good way, of course.  The interpersonal relationships Huppert's character negotiates coupled with the macabre history she must convince us she's experienced provide the viewer with a wonderful display of acting prowess.

Huppert plays Michèle, who in the opening scene is raped in her home by a masked man.  As the daughter of an incarcerated mass murderer, she is wary of the police and does not report it.  Spoiler:  after suspecting a few people, we learn it's her handsome new neighbor, Patrick, and Michèle toys with a roleplay-like sexual relationship with him, before setting him up and allowing her son to whack him on the head and kill him at the end.

Of course the story is more complicated than that, but I don't want to focus on the plot as much as Huppert's performance.  There are so many things going on for this character: crazy locked-up dad, being raped, wanting to sleep with your rapist, having a son who's in denial about his own "son's" paternity, an affair with your best friend's husband, being at the head of a video game company and resenting your selfish mother.  How the hell can one work out the interplay of all these factors?  Well, Huppert apparently does it seamlessly, because on paper it sounds way over the top, but onscreen it actually works.

Sidebar:  I've been taking French classes for about a year and a half but watching a film in French makes it painfully obvious how much I struggle to to understand what's going on when the language is spoken quickly and conversationally.

If this were not a foreign film I'd be hard pressed to see how Huppert loses the Oscar.  Will enough voters see the film and not be turned off by its somewhat disturbing plot lines though?  She's already won the Golden Globe, New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics awards.  I've yet to see Jackie, but this performance is likely the only one that could prevail over Emma Stone and the La La Land train.  Bonne chance, Isabelle.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

My 2017 SAG predictions

 The Screen Actors Guild Awards are tomorrow night, so of course I have to post my film winner predictions.  It's fun this year that every category doesn't seem like an absolute slam dunk.  Without further ado:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

I think Fences is a close second here, mostly because of the very strong performances of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.  Moonlight is the better film in my opinion, and not dominated by one or two powerhouse roles.  Manchester by the Sea has the most nominations (3), but I actually think they'll come in 3rd.

Actress in a Leading Role
Emma Stone (La La Land)

I truly would not be shocked if Meryl took this, remembering that the voters include only actors and her Golden Globes speech probably spoke most closely to them, as far as industry insiders go.  Awarding Streep could be a political statement, and then they'll give the Oscar to Emma.

Actor in Leading Role
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Denzel is a very close second for me here.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis (Fences)

Will win.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Maybe not as guaranteed as Viola, but pretty close.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Meryl Streep receives 20th Academy Award nomination

For her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins, Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Academy Award for a record 20th time.  I'm thrilled she's been included in the top five for Lead Actress, and as I posted a couple of days ago, I would've been more surprised had she not been nominated at this point.  Congratulations, Meryl!

Now to the juicy stuff.  After last years #OscarsSoWhite, it seems the Academy is sending a bit of statement this time around, having nominated seven persons of color in the acting categories alone.  The most surprising to me was Ruth Negga getting recognized for Actress in a Leading Role for her role in Loving.  What's more surprising perhaps than this nomination is the name missing from this category: Amy Adams (Arrival).  I don't think I saw Adams's name left off a single person's predictions.  Were Negga going to sneak in, most thought it would be at the expense of Meryl or Isabelle Huppert (Elle).  Having seen both Arrival and Loving, however, I'm not too bummed that Adams missed out.  Arrival was a fantastic film, but I preferred Negga's performance.

Too bad for Hugh Grant, as he was looked over for Actor in a Supporting Role.  But if anyone had to get it over him, I'm glad it was Lucas Hedges, who was nominated for my favorite film this year, Manchester by the Sea.  Florence also received a nom for Best Costume Design, but I think that was it.  The full list of nominees can be found here.

Now the speculation about winners can begin.  Check below the pic for Meryl's full list of Academy Award nominations.

1978--The Deer Hunter (Actress in a Supporting Role)
1979--Kramer vs Kramer (Actress in a Supporting Role)
1981--The French Lieutenant's Woman (Actress in a Leading Role)
1982--Sophie's Choice (Actress in a Leading Role)
1983--Silkwood (Actress in a Leading Role)
1985--Out of Africa (Actress in a Leading Role)
1987--Ironweed (Actress in a Leading Role)
1988--A Cry in the Dark (Actress in a Leading Role)
1990--Postcards from the Edge (Actress in a Leading Role)
1995--The Bridges of Madison County (Actress in a Leading Role)
1998--One True Thing (Actress in a Leading Role)
1999--Music of the Heart (Actress in a Leading Role)
2002--Adaptation (Actress in a Supporting Role)
2006--The Devil Wears Prada (Actress in a Leading Role)
2008--Doubt (Actress in a Leading Role)
2009--Julie & Julia (Actress in a Leading Role)
2011--The Iron Lady (Actress in a Leading Role)
2013--August: Osage County (Actress in a Leading Role)
2014--Into the Woods (Actress in a Supporting Role)
2016--Florence Foster Jenkins (Actress in a Leading Role)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Will Meryl get her record 20th Oscar nomination Tuesday?

In two days, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its nominees for the 89th Oscar ceremony.  If Meryl were to be nominated in the Lead Actress category for her role in Florence Foster Jenkins, it would be her 20th overall nomination, a record of course.  The closest actors in nominations are Katharine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson, both with 12. Having already been nominated for the other "big three" awards (Golden Globes, SAG and BAFTA), at this point I think it would be a bigger story if Streep were not nominated than if she were.

Based on history, it seems like Meryl has a great chance for the nom, but of course there's no guarantee.  My guess for who will crack the top five includes the following:

Amy Adams (Arrival)
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

As I've mentioned before, Annette Bening, Ruth Negga, Emily Blunt and Taraji P. Henson will be nipping at the top five's heels.  Not surprisingly, I'm very much looking forward to watching the announcement on Tuesday.  Go Meryl!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sizing up the 2016 competition: Emma Stone in "La La Land"

Well, it's been almost two weeks since I've seen La La Land.  In that time, the film set a new Golden Globes record with seven wins, earned $68 million in cinemas and Meryl is making international news for ripping on president-elect Donald Trump during her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award.  Bypassing the furor over Meryl's comments, we should probably talk about Emma Stone and the likelihood that she will not only be nominated for Actress in a Leading role at the Academy Awards, but also win.  She of course won the Globe last weekend for Actress in a Comedy or Musical, but what was perhaps equally telling was that her closest likely challenger, Natalie Portman (Jackie), lost out to Isabelle Huppert for Elle in the drama category.  I'd say this cements Stone as the comfortable front-runner for Oscar.

I enjoyed La La Land.  Typically up for most musicals, it took my a little while to get into the film, but once I did, it was highly entertaining.  Stone does a very nice job portraying Mia, a struggling actress in present-day Los Angeles. Mia is always busting her butt and pounding the pavement for what will hopefully result in her big break.  Of course a love interest throws a snag in her plans, as she falls head over heels for Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), an equally struggling musician.  The movie follows the pair through their successes and failures individually as well as a couple, conveying the ubiquitous 'personal versus professional' struggle that plagues job-seeking artists.

I have to admit I'm a bit of a snob purist when it comes to vocals in movie musicals.  Both Stone and Gosling do a fine job, but they're just not great singers.  It was a tad distracting for me, actually.  Nowhere near Russell Crowe in Les Mis or Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia! distracting, but I found myself wishing they impressed me more.

The main attraction here is the film itself.  Maybe I'm just getting used to Meryl being by far the best thing in mediocre films (Florence aside) that it's difficult for me to appreciate a standout performance when the cinematography and screenplay somewhat outshine the actors.  The fact that La La Land is something both fresh and visually stunning is a great boost to the chances for Stone's to get further awards recognition.  I definitely prefer Streep's performance this year, but I expect Emma's film to carry her across the finish line.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Streep receives 15th BAFTA nomination

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced its nominations earlier today and Meryl made the cut with her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins.  This makes is fifteen BAFTA nominations for Streep overall, having won twice, for 1981's The French Lieutenant's Woman and 2011's The Iron Lady.  Congrats to Hugh Grant as well as he was nominated in the Supporting Actor category.  The other ladies nominated alongside Streep were:

Amy Adams (Arrival)
Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Natlie Portman (Jackie)

I read somewhere that Globe winner Isabelle Huppert was apparently ineligible for BAFTA this year, as her film Elle was not yet released in the UK.  I think that's why we see Emily Blunt on this list, plus she's a Brit.  Interesting fact that Streep has never received nominations for Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA for a film without then getting an Academy Award nod, so she is in very good shape at the moment.  Oscar nominations are announced two weeks from today on the 24th.  

The BAFTA ceremony will be held February 12 and the full list of nominees can be read here

Congrats, Meryl!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Streep gives moving speech in acceptance of Cecil B. DeMille Award

As expected, Emma Stone took the award in Meryl's category tonight, but the biggest moment of the evening went to our girl as she provided a riveting speech in accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement.

I don't think anyone expected Meryl to be so cutting in her criticism of Donald Trump.  Never actually mentioning his name, she instead invoked her late friend Carrie Fisher in stating "take your broken heart and make it into art."  She called upon the "principled" press to bear the standards of truth and bolstered the work of her fellow artists saying "an actor's only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like."

So proud to be a fan of this woman.  Brava, Meryl.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

My 2017 Golden Globe predictions

Happy Golden Globes weekend!  I'm looking forward to this year's show more than usual since Meryl is set to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award and we'll likely get a great speech and career retrospective.  The fact that she's nominated for Florence Foster Jenkins is just gravy.

Below I've listed my winners predictions.  As usual, I mostly focus on the acting categories but am including in the two Best Pictures as well.

Best Picture-Drama
Manchester by the Sea (I would not be shocked if Moonlight won but I loved both, Manchester more though)

Best Picture-Musical or Comedy
La La Land (I'd be very surprised if it didn't win...great chance at Best Picture at Oscars)

Best Actress-Drama
Natalie Portman-Jackie (pretty likely here, a Negga win would really spice up the Oscar race)

Best Actor-Drama
Casey Affleck-Manchester by the Sea (close second Denzel)

Best Actress-Musical or Comedy
Emma Stone-La La Land (Meryl's win is for lifetime achievement)

Best Actor-Musical or Comedy
Ryan Gosling-La La Land (I guess I don't see a viable alternative here)

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis-Fences (she better win everything from here on out)

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali-Moonlight (I think and hope he'll take this)

Last thought: I can't wait until Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host again.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Will Meryl star in a 2016 Blacklist script?

Happy New Year, everyone!  I know many are thrilled that 2016 is finally over.  With that, we have much to look forward to in 2017 in regard to Meryl projects.  Despite not having any lead film roles confirmed at this point, my powers of speculation remain at full strength.  The first quarter of this year will no doubt be dominated by the awards season and how Streep will fare.  We already get to look forward to this Sunday, where she's nominated for Florence Foster Jenkins at the Golden Globes.  She will also be recognized with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, which truthfully I'm anticipating more than any chance she has at winning for Flo Fo.  BAFTA nominations are announced two days after the Globes ceremony with the Oscar noms coming on the 24th.  January wraps up with the SAG Awards on the 29th, where Meryl again is in the running as Florence.

Little has been mentioned about The Nix in the last couple of months, but I expect that to film sometime third or fourth quarter. Mary Poppins Returns will likely see its scenes wrapped before year's end as well.  Beyond that, the calendar looks pretty barren for our girl.  This provides the opportunity for almost limitless speculation about what may be in store for Meryl.  Last year was the first time I singled out a specific role for her based on the annual Hollywood Blacklist that is released each December.  I maintain that portraying Diana Nyad in a biopic could be a wonderfully challenging role for Meryl, but unfortunately I haven't found a single word about the chances for production of that script since it made the list a year ago.  And as much as it pains me to say it, The Good House may remain in development hell indefinitely.

Which brings me to this year.  When 2016's Blacklist was revealed a few weeks ago, you better believe I immediately combed it for potential projects that could realistically involve Streep.  Similar to last year, my eyes were drawn to a particular spec, which just so happens to sit in a three-way tie for second place with 35 overall votes, behind the Madonna biopic Blond Ambition, which received 48.  Written by Liz Hannah, The Post is an account of the efforts of Ben Bradlee and Katharine (Kay) Graham to publish sensitive information about the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War, known as the Pentagon Papers, in the Washington Post.  The film would take place in 1971 when Graham, the publisher of the newspaper, was about 54 years old.  Yes, this is over a decade younger than Meryl, but a 54 year-old in 1971 in my opinion would be totally do-able for Meryl at 70.

I was lucky enough to read the script over the Christmas holiday.  Obviously I pictured Meryl as Kay the entire time.  It went very quickly, as it is written beautifully, and the story is interesting and at times suspenseful.  This project seems like it would be more likely than Nyad to 1) actually get funded/filmed and 2) involve Meryl.  It's a political thriller-ish story, which happens to be fairly topical for current times.  A story about the White House trying to stifle journalists from publishing damaging (yet true) stories seems eerily similar to what I imagine president-elect Trump will continue to do to newspapers he happens go disagree with.

On October 31, Pascal Pictures purchased the rights to the script, but I've found nothing further that suggests it's anywhere near being greenlit.  One has to wonder if we may hear something within the next few months about whether or not this great story will make it to the screen.  Could this be the 2018 lead role we've been waiting for?

Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee in 1971