Monday, February 6, 2012
Meryl Streep: The Britannium Lady
My friend Sarah B. made this picture, and I thought it was perfect:
Even Roger Ebert thinks her nomination is undeserved:
"Streep, of course, is a paragon. Her impersonation of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" was so uncanny she could have given a speech on the BBC and fooled a lot of people. But it wasn't a very good film and didn't make adequate use of her as a resource. In my review, I used a happy turn of phrase: She was all dressed up with nowhere to go. Nominating Miss Streep seems to have become an annual ritual for the Academy, like bringing on the accountants with their briefcases."
I'm glad he calls it an impersonation because that's exactly what it is. Contrary to popular wisdom, these kinds of performances don't have much to do with great acting. If they did, Frank Caliendo would win an Oscar every year. (Though he probably wouldn't; he's not Meryl Streep.)
As others have pointed out, Streep's performances are often narcissistic and conspicuous, which is a type of performance that tends to garner accolades. We see this exemplified by Michelle Williams' nomination this year for MY WEEK WITH MARYLIN. Williams' impersonation has netted her a plethora of awards and nominations, while most of her best performances (and she's one of the very best) have been ignored by Hollywood. Of course that isn't just because Hollywood loves performances you can watch from the other room. It's also because Hollywood is in love with itself-- hence a nomination for convincingly playing one of their great icons. This amounts to nothing more than an institution patting itself on the back. (Though this criticism is unfair since that's all the Oscars are anyway.)
Also, most of Streeps films are rubbish. If she's as great an actor as her reputation suggests, she's squandered her talent.
Posted by Tyler at 7:53 PM