Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Exceptional Meryl Streep Performances:

The Deer Hunter
Kramer vs. Kramer
Sophie's Choice

Strong Meryl Streep Performances:

The French Lieutenant's Woman
Out of Africa
The Bridges of Madison County
The Hours
Angels in America
The Devil Wears Prada

Totally Crazy Meryl Streep Performances:

Death Becomes Her
A Prairie Home Companion

OSCAR Nominations:

The Devil Wears Prada
Music of the Heart
One True Thing
The Bridges of Madison County
Postcards from the Edge
Evil Angels
Out of Africa
Sophie's Choice (won)
The French Lieutenant's Woman
Kramer vs. Kramer (won)
The Deer Hunter.

That's right: she's been nominated 12 times. 12. With a 13th for Doubt a near-certainty. She also has two Emmys. 6 Golden Globes. An AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. 2 National Board of Review Awards. 4 NSFCA Awards. And 2 SAG Awards.

I think her pedigree stands up, and I think she's a pretty solid pick for best female actor of all time.


Gaston Monescu said...

Look at those Oscar noms! Half of them are patently ridiculous. Ironweed?

AND...The Deer Hunter is by far the best film out of that lot. And what is that...Number 150 on the all time list?

Yes, she's a great actress, but she isn't in even one definitive Top 50 film! Her career has been made in Out of Africa types, mediocre films where her performance transcends the detritus around her (see Jack Nicholson).

Doesn't this matter?

Some more details...

I haven't seen:
1. K vs. K
2. Sophie's Choice
so I can't comment.

Here's the rundown on your choices.
We're going to have see what you mean by "strong" if you're going to include Manhattan (how many lines does she have in that movie? 10?). The Devil Wears Prada? Really? And Bridges of Madison County?

The point is this. I'm willing to admit she's top five, but her legacy is hurt by the fact that she's not in a DEFINITIVELY GREAT film.

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

Okay, problems one and two:

One, Deer Hunter and Manhattan are both top 100-caliber movies. Two, you can't blame actors for not being in Top-100-Great movies--they need to be in some excellent films, but so much more than their performance is required for a movie to go 'that' right.

You should also know I've seen both Kramer Vs. Kramer and Sophie's Choice in Top 100 lists before. That would put her 'great movie count' up to a tentative 4...that's more than Katherine Hepburn, Cate Blanchett, or Dame Judi Dench (ed. note: WTF?)

Also: she's totally awesome in Devil Wears Prada. I know it's not a great movie, but she sells her part--which is pretty damn admirable, all things considered (DeNiro could learn from that).

But yes, you haven't seen her two most lauded performances, so I'll let you slide by here.

P.S.-Have you actually seen Ironweed? I haven't. And additionally: overkill or not, 12 Oscar noms is so, so many more than anyone else, ever, it's funny.

Gaston Monescu said...

1. About seeing movies: have you seen every DeNiro film from the past 10 years? Which ones have you seen? Don't tell me you haven't made some assumptions about his performances. No, I haven't seen Ironweed. And I don't need to. This is the same academy that gave Crash the best picture. Remember that?

2. Manhattan and DH may crack the Top 100 somewhere, but they aren't Top 50. I don't know anybody putting SC or KvK up in the Top 50 either. And Manhattan shouldn't count for her score! Like I said, how long is she in that movie? And what does she do? She looks beautiful and chides Woody while he engages in histrionics. That's it.

3. Maybe what I'm saying is that the film industry here is more phallocentric, because I don't think I could come up with anyone to match this record...yet I still don't think this resume beats out someone like Jimmy Stewart. The Academy needs Streep to be nominated because of the dearth of good parts for women...great actresses...

Remember, Judi Dench has done a hell of lot more than JUST movies. Her role as E the first in Shakespeare in Love COMPLETELY trumps Manhattan. And if you can give Streep DWP, then I can give Dench Chronicles of Riddick.

The fact that Streep can be such a great actress without being in a Top 75 film (which Hepburn IS in, btw) - and yes, neither Deer Hunter NOR Manhattan should be legitimately in someone's Top 75...there are TOO many other good films...- says something to me, which may not effect her standing among other women, but it does in the overall actors ranking.