Monday, February 6, 2012

Meryl Streep: The Britannium Lady

My friend Sarah B. made this picture, and I thought it was perfect:

meryl streep, oscar, academy award, iron lady, thatcher, undeserved, nomination, fart, overrated, ebert, Frank Caliendo, narcissistic, my week with marylin, michelle williams
  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.

1 comment:

Tyler said...


"Meryl Streep pretty much defines everything I find uninteresting about how the mainstream thinks about acting today, and this quote [see link below], I think, captures why. The whole idea of “revealing” and then “deflecting” emotion seems like everything you don’t want from an actor. Wouldn’t we, in fact, want our ideal performers to do the complete opposite? The performances I’m most attracted to are the ones where an actor/actress shows us something almost unintentionally, as if it’s just leaking out of him/her. Streep may be talented, but is it perhaps possible that her “flawless” technique is the very thing that gets in the way of this revealing that we, or at least I, desire so much to see from actors/actresses? There are very good reasons that some of the most interesting performances in the history of cinema have come from nonprofessionals, and someone like Nadine Nortier (who played Mouchette in Bresson’s film of the same name) is better in the one role she played than Streep is in all of her roles combined." Link