Exclusive Oscars news: Meryl Streep drops to supporting, takes on Oprah

Get ready for the ultimate diva smackdown at the next Oscars: Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County“) vs. Oprah Winfrey (“The Butler“).

Two years after winning Best Actress for “The Iron Lady,” Streep has agreed to drop down to the supporting race for her role as Violet, the pill-popping, booze-swilling momma in “August: Osage County,” a Weinstein Company source tells Gold Derby. That means Streep will compete against Oprah as the hooch-guzzling wife of the title star of “The Butler,” which is also a Weinstein flick. Hmmm … what is Harvey thinking?

Streep’s move is a shockeroo considering that role won Best Actress at the 2008 Tony Awards when Deanna Dunagan performed it on Broadway. Dunagan beat her costar Amy Morton, who portrayed Violet’s frazzled daughter Barbara. Now Julia Roberts, in the role of Barbara on screen, seems to have a clearer shot at a Best Actress victory without risking a split of “August” votes in that category. Roberts won the Best Actress Oscar in 2000 for “Erin Brockovich.” Oprah has never won an Academy Award, but was nominated in the supporting slot for “The Color Purple” (1985).

Streep has three Oscars: one for supporting (“Kramer vs. Kramer,”1979 ) and two for lead (“Sophie’s Choice” in 1982, “Iron Lady” in 2011). If she pulls off one more victory, she will tie Katharine Hepburn for most wins (four). Streep already holds the record for most nominations (17).

Streep’s gracious move may be good news for Roberts, but it’s rotten luck for “August” costar Margo Martindale, who portrays the role of Violet’s sister Mattie, which won the Tony Award for Best Featured (or Supporting) Actress for Rondi Reed on stage. Now past Emmy champ Martindale (“Justified”) must not only face off against Oprah, but Streep, too.

With Streep out of the lead Oscar race, who’s ahead to win? Below: Make your prediction now. Change it later as often as you like.


22 thoughts on “Exclusive Oscars news: Meryl Streep drops to supporting, takes on Oprah

  1. Why suddenly forget about Cate Blanchett? Meryl’s move to supporting will make things a LOT easier for Cate. OTOH, Oscar voters could put Meryl back in lead where she’s likely to lose to Cate, instead of giving her an easier shot against Oprah — much like they moved Meryl from lead to supporting in “Kramer vs. Kramer” (she would have won lead in a cakewalk, but her biggest competition in supporting was co-star Jane Alexander; that shift helped prevent “Kramer” from winning 5 of the top 6 Oscars, which has NEVER happened before OR since).

  2. Not to mention that IF Meryl had won for lead in “Kramer”, it would have become the third “sweeper” by classical definition (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and the appropriate Writing award), only four years after “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” became the second. Demoting Meryl from lead to supporting prevented that, even though she won for supporting (she SHOULD have won for lead).

  3. And that doesn’t even BEGIN to consider whether Oscar voters will choose between (a) giving Meryl her fourth Oscar or (b) giving Oprah her first competitive Oscar just a few years after receiving the Hersholt Humanitarian Award (NOT impossible — Charlie Chaplin, Henry Fonda & Paul Newman all won their only competitive Oscars just ONE year after receiving one of what’s now called the Governors Awards — Thalberg, Hersholt or Honorary).

  4. Genius strategy by Weinstein. Cate Blanchett is a virtual shoo in as Best Actress winner this year (I have not read such sure fire Oscar buzz about a performance since Helen Mirren in “The Queen”). The advance previews of Meryl Streep’s performance in “August” have been spectacular. Moving Streep into Best Supporting Actress makes her the favorite in a MUCH weaker category. I do not believe Academy voters would have selected Streep over Blanchett this year.

  5. Why can we no longer predict Meryl for Best Actress? It’s up to the voters to decide that, and I think they’ll pull a Whale Rider/The Reader again and nominate her where she belongs in lead. Let us still be allowed to predict her, Gold Derby!

  6. Emma Thompson goes in nomination. She is actress of talent and long time without nomination. Her perforformance in Saving Mr Banks, P. L. Travers, is interesting.

  7. Why Meryl Streep should be afraid of Cate Blanchett? Not getting best actress nomination when you are a leading role is A SLAP IN ONE’S FACE!!!!!. Who cares about the politics of voting?

  8. Really?! Leading or supporting, Meryl is Meryl and nothing can change that. Meryl’s first oscar was for a supporting role, her fourth could be for a supporting too.

  9. I think it is a dirty movement, it seems like a Brazilian prize! My goodness! I miss the good old days of the Academy Awards, Harvey Weinstein has no limits!

  10. what the hell, violet is clearly the lead role in osage.
    this is clearly a category fraud, but i hope the oscars will clearly see it, and rectify her category,
    just like what they did with kate winslet in the reader, she submitted herself as supporting, but the academy nominate her in the lead (and she win)
    so meryl, get your way right, girl!

  11. Either way its going to be interesting how this all works out. Meryl Streep is talented. It would be nice to see her get oscar # 4. Go Meryl!

  12. Stupid move to have Streep as a supporting actress. Up against co-star Martindale they’ll split votes. Are they trying to fix of for fat Winfrey to win?

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