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article imageOp-Ed: Meryl Streep generating strongest probability for an Oscar win

By Hector Garingalao     Dec 11, 2011 in Entertainment
Any Academy Award enthusiast would wonder if Helen Mirren's portrayal of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Queen' is likely to be repeated, this time, by Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in 'The Iron Lady'.
Streep, an American actress who portrays a British icon versus Mirren who is British to begin with, could easily have an edge in the transformation aspect. Could Streep’s third Oscar be in order? By far, judging by word of mouth and generating Oscar buzz, this would be her most solid comeback for an Oscar best actress race in almost three decades. In spite of 16 Oscar acting nominations, she has not won since her 1982's best actress triumph in the Holocaust film Sophie's Choice. According to Entertainment Weekly, Streep, labeled a master of accents by critics, admitted that she never met an accent she did not like and master. "You know, that’s like the easiest thing I do," she said. However, the overall portrayal of the character is Streep's aim. The two-time Oscar winner said that when she dives into the mind and motivation of a character, the voice follows. Streep stated, "To capture how someone speaks is to capture them."
Undoubtedly, Streep provided a tour de force performance in The Iron Lady. However, a bull's-eye Oscar victory for Streep is not without a possibility of an upset win in favor of other actresses, most especially now that biopic genres are not uncommon. Los Angeles Times reported that Michelle Williams, who plays Hollywood bombshell Marilyn Monroe in 'My Week with Marilyn', hesitated at first to doing the project in fear of inaccurate portrayal. Williams eventually signed on to the film, and spent a number of months watching Monroe's films and biographies. Similar to Streep, Williams received overwhelmingly good reviews in representing authentic depiction of larger than life characters.
In a report by U.K.’s The Telegraph, Streep, before shooting The Iron Lady, religiously watched and listened to videos and broadcasts for months, so that she could get a sense of Thatcher’s body language and voice. Also, she spoke to numerous people who knew the former British Prime Minister, including former Labor leader Neil Kinnock. Streep said, "We spoke to many, many people, and it was interesting because everybody has an opinion of her. I talked to people, who were very close to her, and they were all very forthcoming about her strengths, her weaknesses, her frailties, and the cruelty that was there and how she came to pay a price for it."
Initially, like Williams, Streep felt uncertain about accepting such iconic yet complex role. U.K.’s The Telegraph reported that in her case, she was not thrilled with Thatcher's policies and politics, and that she and her friends were all playing for the other team. In addition, Streep felt that England has so many accomplished actresses that discontentment about an American actress being cast in an ideal British role is unavoidable. Phyllida Lloyd, who had directed Streep in Mamma Mia!, came to her with the script for The Iron Lady. "Phyllida said she thought I was perfect to play the part because I was an outsider, and Margaret Thatcher was an outsider in her world and in her party. She was always where she didn’t belong or wasn’t wanted," Streep recounted.
New York Film Critics Circle 2011 had already awarded Streep the best actress prize on November 29. William Hill, an online casino, sports and entertainment betting website, quotes odds of 6/5 against a Streep Oscar win. Following behind her are Viola Davis for The Help: 2/1 odds, Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn: 2/1 odds, and Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs: 6/1 odds. Presently, The Iron Lady is 92% tomato-meter fresh in a devoted 'film review aggregator website' called Rotten Tomatoes.
The Iron Lady opens in the U.S. on December 30, 2011 in Limited release, and widely on January 13, 2012.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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