Academy Award nominations will of course be announced tomorrow morning, and Meryl is in the running for her 21st nod. Only a year ago at this time, she had no definitive projects in the pipeline for 2017 until it was announced in March that Steven Spielberg would direct her in The Post. The film is currently in its second week in wide release, and is already up to $45 million domestically. Were it to snag a few Oscar noms, it would be a helpful little marketing tool.
So what do we think the likelihood of Meryl getting nominated is? To the casual observer, it seems like a foregone conclusion: prominent director, biopic, captures political zeitgeist, best reviews Meryl's received for a lead role since The Iron Lady, 88% on Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic score of 83, promising box office. Streep has gotten in for a lot less. How could she possibly miss this year?
One of the reasons it may be tough is the fact that there are so many wonderful performances this year in equally wonderful films. Frances McDormand, Sally Hawkins, Saoirse Ronan, Jessica Chastain, Margot Robbie, Judi Dench, Annette Bening, Michelle Williams. There's a lot of competition and Meryl isn't exactly the fresh new face on the scene. Another reason is that she's been relatively absent from recognition among most critics groups this season. Yes, she received the National Board of Review Award, but other prominent voting bodies have rarely even included her among their top five. Not that this has necessarily stopped her before, just see Into the Woods and August: Osage County. Most pundits I've read have Meryl predicted in their top five, but generally toward the bottom of the list.
Maybe I'm being paranoid, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has historically been rather fond of Meryl's work. And if I'm being realistic, imagining the actors' body of the Academy, with their preferential ballots, having Meryl so low on their lists that she would place no higher than sixth overall? That seems unlikely. Ultimately, I'm predicting the following five, which seem to be the general consensus among Best Actress contenders at this point:
Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Meryl Streep (The Post)
Regardless of whether or not Meryl is nominated or snubbed, her performance as Katharine Graham is exquisite and will be remembered as one of her finest.