I Will Say It: I Wish Meryl Hadn’t Won

You are probably sick of the Oscars at this point, so I will keep my remarks brief. 1) I’m glad “Hugo” tied for the most wins of the night (five), even if some of them did throw off my Oscar predictions. 2) Billy Crystal is a very professional host, but we knew that, didn’t we? 3) The high point for most people but the low point for me was Meryl Streep’s win. It doesn’t exactly constitute an upset, but most pundits had predicted Viola Davis to win, and I, too, was rooting for Viola. As I tweeted, it’s hard to criticize Meryl for anything, because it’s like criticizing God. But I thought her performance in “The Iron Lady,” as extraordinarily virtuosic as it was, humanized an evil, vicious, nasty woman: Margaret Thatcher. The Academy prefers to reward blacktresses in supporting roles (hence Octavia Spencer’s win), not as leading performers. I can hear all the Streep supporters yelling back: the Best Actress award this year wasn’t anti-Viola, it was pro-Meryl! As Octavia’s Minnie would say: Mmm hmm.

6 Comments to “I Will Say It: I Wish Meryl Hadn’t Won”

  1. It’s a sign of Meryl’s true greatness that people absolutely love her and absolutely hate her.

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more: Viola was robbed!

  3. I love that Meryl said that “this is probably the last time I’ll be up here” when she was on the winner’s podium. If only! She’ll have another nom for “August: Osage County” for sure.

  4. Meryl’s performance in “The Iron Lady” is one of the most stupendous things I have ever seen on film.

  5. There aren’t many times that I disagree with you, but Meryl Streep’s performance was absolutely the best of the year. Viola’s was wonderful, but it was supported by a large cast… Meryl was out there on her own… so though I understand her personal feelings toward Thatcher were negative… Meryl had to believe in her and dismiss negativity… she became Thatcher and it was remarkable. She is one of the great film actresses of our time and I am so proud of her and honored to be living at a time when we see her at her absolute peak.

  6. You raise a good question: if an actor makes a horrible real-life person sympathetic, does that mean the performance is less good? Or does it mean that the whole project — the script, the direction — was misconceived and that the actor-in-question only made things worse by adding warmth and depth to the enterprise? I think it’s perfectly fair to loathe Thatcher and dislike the whole conception behind “The Iron Lady” and still admire Streep’s talent, or as you call it, her virtuosity. I think this is your position, and I completely agree with it.

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