So, Meryl Streep won the BAFTA for Best Actress playing British political icon Margaret Thatcher and looked great doing so. At first all I could think was Dynasty power bitch combo pack (Collins power / Evans warmth) with those shoulder pads and the dramatic bodice.
But then it hit me...
Congratulations to Streep and all the BAFTA winners. I know there's been a lot of drama among The Film Experience readers and Streep fans -- the categories overlap ;) -- about who should win Best Actress . This site attracts more than its share of the drama in that regard given that we talk about the category so often even when nobody as beloved as Meryl is involved. I assume the race is neck and neck and neither outcome would surprise on Oscar night. Streep was always going to win BAFTA with the added advantage of the already awards-magnetic gift of mimicry hitting the eyes of the people who would recognize the skill of the mimicry the best and The Help being very American-skewing in its appeal (I'm actually a bit surprised it was nominated for the BAFTA). The Iron Lady was dodgy enough politically not to really get people riled up about its always controversial subject which I think hurt the film but helped the Meryl awards prospects if that makes any sense. But even though she was always going to take it (I never doubted) it still does help her stay in the Oscar conversation; Oscar ballots are due on the 21st so people are still voting.
I hope we can all agree that when the Oscar conversation involves actresses as massively gifted as Meryl and Viola we all win.
That said I still hope it's Viola just on the grounds of these two performances and because if someone has to beat Streep I'm much more comfortable with it being an actor who you know can really throw down with her. Too often Oscars go to people just because they're well liked and not because they're Oscar caliber talents. This is why so many of the greats don't have even one Oscar... and people don't like to think about the harsh realities but if Viola loses that would mean we'd have to add her to that list of Moore, Close, Bening, Weaver, Pfeiffer, et all who can't catch the gold man despite world class gifts.
I'll be happier for either of them since one is an all time favorite and one is a current favorite who I hope becomes an all time favorite. If only we could have a tie!
I hope we can all agree that if Viola isn't offered great roles after The Help, regardless of who wins next Sunday, we all lose.
I think that should be my last note on this particular Best Actress matter before Oscar Sunday because good lord this topic has taken up huge chunks of the internet and this blog. And to think the world spent the first half of the year obsessing over Meryl vs. Glenn!
Each year brings surprises and who would have ever predicted this neck and neck battle back when they were first watching Doubt (2008)?