Can Meryl Streep Pull an Oscar Upset?
By Terence Johnson
One of the things good Oscar prognosticator will do is work out all of the possible scenarios that could happen before arriving at a sound judgement. However, there seems to be one aspect that many people haven’t discussed is the possibility that the queen of Oscar nominations, Meryl Streep, could pull an upset and win her fourth Oscar for her performance in August: Osage County.
Before the season even started, many Oscar watchers had Meryl at or near the top of thier predictions. Her role was an award winner on stage, taking everything from the Tony to the Olivier award, the play won the Pulitzer Prize and the movie was filled with a ton of well regarded actors. Therefore it seemed inevitable that Oscars were sure to follow and even with the less than ecstatic critical response, she managed to make it through to her 18th nomination.
But we shouldn’t be surprised, Meryl Streep is one of the few actresses who can get nominated for seemingly anything. She’s played real people, done accents, transformed into different characters, and just been an all around solid presence in films. Meryl also happens to be the only actress who can get nominated for an Academy Award without her film having any kind of Best Picture heat. The last time she was in a Best Picture nominated film was Out of Africa 1985 and yet since then she’s accumulated 12 nominations and a win two years ago for The Iron Lady.
So what of her August:Osage County chances? I think that it’s very telling that she was able to get a nomination despite losing out at the Globes, usually a bad omen for anyone in the Musical/Comedy categories. It’s also worth noting that she got in over a presumed frontrunner (Emma Thompson) when everyone was sure she’d be replaced by an upstart (Amy Adams). I actually think the best thing to happen to Streep was to have Amy Adams make it in, because of the possible vote split between her and Blanchett. With the exception of two of her nominations, Meryl Streep lost to someone who was winning their first Oscar and 90% of the time the same person was winning their first Oscar after a previous nomination. This year, the front runner is Cate Blanchett, who is gunning for her second Oscar, which means that an “overdue” presence isn’t in her way to the Oscar. Strange things have happened at the Oscars before, so maybe Meryl shouldn’t be counted out.
Katherine Hepburn was able to pull off two wins back to back late in her career, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Streep could win the Oscar again. There’s a longer Phase 2 this year, which gives voters the chance to have extra time to consider the nominees. However, Streep’s buzz this year has been relatively non-existent. the Meryl stans haven’t really been causing a ruckus like some of her previous nominations, and though it’s not necessarily fair, buzz does tend to equal awards momentum. In addition, unlike when she won for The Iron Lady, she doesn’t have a wealth of precursor wins to back her up and Blanchett seems like a mortal lock at this point.