Perhaps one of the most prolific actresses of our time is Meryl Streep. Of course, being prolific doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any good, but in the case of Meryl Streep, her nomination record begs to differ. While only having won three Oscars for her acting talents, she has been nominated for 14 more acting Oscars since the beginning of her career. In fact, her first nomination for her role in The Deer Hunter was a mere three years after she started acting professionally. It seems a little odd that with as many nominations as she has received, Meryl Streep wouldn’t have won more Oscars by now, but this may be to frequent oversight on behalf of the Academy Awards. This week’s two films look at one of Meryl Streep’s Oscar wins as well as one of her many nominations that probably deserved better.
Kramer vs. Kramer
Length: 105 minutes / 1.75 hours
While Meryl Streep won her first Oscar for her role as Joanna Kramer, if her role had been more significant in the film, the Best Picture winner would have joined the ranks of the select few to win the “Big Five” Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay). As it stands, the Best Supporting Actress award for this film was definitely well earned by Streep. Three years later, she would win that coveted Best Actress Oscar for Sophie’s Choice (as the eponymous Sophie), but it would be another 12 nominations and another three decades later until she would win again, this time for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. With two wins early in her career, I’m sure much of Hollywood was surprised every time she was passed over for the award.
Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) has had it. She’s tried the married life and the life of a mother, and it really isn’t working out. Dumping their son Billy (Justin Henry) on her now ex-husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman), she walks right out the door and doesn’t look back. Ted now has to drastically adjust his life, since he was taking Joanna for granted and was constantly putting work ahead of his family. As he starts to get the hang of juggling a high-demand job with taking care of a son as a single father, in strolls Joanna wanting to take Billy back. While she doesn’t want to be with Ted anymore, she misses her son and the two go into court to battle for custody. What had just begun to settle into a good routine is ripped apart with the decision of which parent will get to stay with Billy.
Julie & Julia
Length: 123 minutes / 2.05 hours
One of Meryl Streep’s many talents is the celebrity impersonation. In fact, much of her work revolves around her ability to pick up accents for the characters she plays. Since she is very much a method actor in this sense, it is no wonder why she has been nominated for as many acting awards as she has. This fact has also been poked fun at by many people and has led to the belief that if Meryl Streep acts in a film with an accent, the film will automatically garner her a nomination. And yet, the accent is only part of her method acting. Since a few of the people Meryl Streep has played are well ingrained in our popular culture, there are also certain mannerisms that need to be learned in order for the role to be believable. Streep’s portrayal of Julia Child is just one of these roles.
The parallels between Julie Powell (Amy Adams) and Julia Child (Meryl Streep) are at the very basest level, a love of cooking. While Julia Child is looking to change the culinary world and make a cookbook that is accessible to ordinary housewives, Julie Powell is trying to escape her world by completing the goal of cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook in the timespan of a single year. Both women have the support of their husbands, but both also have very finite barriers that stand in their way. For Julia Child, it is getting her cookbook published, whereas for Julie Powell, it’s juggling her job with her hobby. Fortunately, despite all the difficulties, a bit of luck strikes both women, propelling Julia Child into culinary fame and Julie Powell into a similar literary situation.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 Meryl Streep sensations
Bacon #: 1 (The River Wild / Kevin Bacon)