Thursday, January 26, 2012

Meryl Makes History: Women in Film

Tonight, I watched Meryl Streep give a magnificent performance as Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.  Truly, it's one of Streep's best -- and I'm a longtime fan (I first interviewed La Streep when she was promoting Sophie's Choice.) She humanizes Thatcher. We see her being ambitious and steely on the political scene.  We see her elderly and weakening in the winter of her years.  There's a classic Streep scene in which she, as Thatcher, conducts a cabinet meeting like a strict, irritated teacher with a class of disappointing and unprepared schoolboys.  She is fierce and funny.
Reading the end credits, I saw that The Iron Lady was directed by Phyllida Lloyd.  She previously directed Streep in the big box office hit musical, Mamma Mia!, based on the Broadway Abba-fest. 
I blogged this week that Viola Davis made Oscar nomination history with her Best Actress nod for The Help.  Viola Davis and Whoopi Goldberg are now the two only Black women with more than one Oscar nomination for acting to their credit.  Each earned a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress categories.  I don't recall reading or hearing a report of the history Meryl Streep made with Phyllida Lloyd. Lloyd directed Streep to her 17th Academy Award nomination.  Also, she is the second woman director to guide Streep to a Best Actress Oscar nomination.  THAT is a record.  I believe that Meryl Streep is now the only woman with more than one Oscar nomination for a film performance directed by another woman.  Streep's first came for her loopy, illuminating, surprising turn as chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia directed by Nora Ephron.
Hollywood pays attention to box office receipts.  Mamma Mia! did huge business here and overseas.  With that, plus a bio pic that brought the top film actress of our generation another invite to Oscar night, I sure hope Phyllida Lloyd is getting some Hollywood respect.
The first woman to direct a woman to a Best Actress Academy Award nomination was Dorothy Arzner.   Arzner directed Ruth Chatterton in the 1930 drama of a single working show biz mother trying to reclaim her child in Sarah and Son.  It was a box office hit from Paramount. For years, Arzner was the only female in the old Hollywood studio boys' club of film directors.
Other female directors who directed women to Best Actress Academy Award nominations are Jane Campion (The Piano, Holly Hunter), Patty Jenkins (Monster, Charlize Theron), Sarah Polley (Away From Her, Julie Christie) and Debra Granik (Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence).  Phyllida Lloyd joins quite an esteemed list.  To me, that's history worth reporting.  Brava to the director and to the star of The Iron Lady.

4 comments:

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  3. Excellent observation. I get sick of people talking about how the public isn't "ready" for movies by and about people of color or women, etc. BS! It's the studios that are loathe to finance anything that isn't part of the old boys' club. I don't care for Tyler Perry's stuff, but the man has made huge strides and proven this stupid theory wrong. There's no shortage of women or people of color who are talented and trying to make it in the film industry. We don't need another remake of a tv show (21 Jump Street? Really?) - how about original work by new directors, and actors who haven't had a chance to show their stuff? How about the studios acknowledging that Denzel Washington and Will Smith are not the ONLY black actors worthy of being employed?

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  4. Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 18 times, and has won it three times. Born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, Meryl's early performing ambitions leaned toward the opera. She became interested in acting while a student at Vassar and upon graduation she enrolled in the Yale School of Drama. She gave an outstanding performance in her first film role, Julia (1977), and the next year she was nominated for her first Oscar for her role in The Deer Hunter (1978). She went on to win the Academy Award for her performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie's Choice (1982), in which she gave a heart-wrenching portrayal of an inmate mother in a Nazi death camp.medicas consultar preguntar consultas consultar abogados abogado abogados abogados abogados consultar online especialista cardiologo online cirujano general y plástico online dermatologo online endocrinologo online gastroenterologo online ginecologo online homeopata online médico internista online nefrologo online neumologo online neurologo online oftalmologo online ortopedista online otorrinolaringologo online pediatra online urologo online Thanks

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Sally Field, THE WAY WEST

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