Weinstein Co. may push Meryl Streep back up to lead Oscar race

On Aug. 12, a Weinstein Co. Oscar warrior told Gold Derby that Meryl Streep would be campaigned in the supporting slot for “August: Osage County.” Even though the film had not yet been seen by industry and media wags, an outcry followed based upon familiarity with the role in the original Broadway play. Back in 2008, Deanna Dunagan won the Tony Award for Best Actress as the pill-popping, tart-tongued Violet, beating her costar Amy Morton as Violet’s frazzled daughter Barbara (played by Julia Roberts on screen). Pitting Streep vs. Roberts in the lead Oscar race seemed risky – perhaps they’d both have better chances to win if separated into different categories?

Now the Weinstein rep tells Gold Derby that the Oscar strategy may change based upon reactions to a final cut of the movie that’s currently being screened to select industry insiders. On Sept. 9, it will debut to a large crowd at the Toronto International Film Festival too, and it’s expected that the general consensus will be that Streep should be bumped back up to lead. Stay tuned. A “final decision” will be announced within days.

BELOW: Make your early Oscar predictions now. Change it later as often as you wish.


19 thoughts on “Weinstein Co. may push Meryl Streep back up to lead Oscar race

  1. This campaigning shit is getting a little idiotic. Streep has 17 nominations an 3 wins, while Roberts has 3 nominations. and 1 win. Seriously, campaigning for an award, leave that to the politicians. It true in quoting Warren Beatty that the Oscars mean business. But in regards to the general public, if a performance is nominated that’s the $$$$. Not the category it’s in. Besides a supporting nomination could either jump start a career or give a MVP actor their due. In regards to a career jump start Beatty should know. He’s married to one. Annette Bening’s first nomination was for Supporting Actress in “The Gritters”. Now she is regarded as one of today’s premiere actresses with 3 lead nominations under her belt.

  2. Since the academy nominates as they see fit and not necessarily how the studios want, what if this were to happen… …. what if Meryl has enough votes to be nominated for both the top 5 in lead and supporting, how would that be handled??? I imagine there must be some rule or someone has to make a decision as to what category she’d end up in… do you think this has ever happened before???

  3. @Christopher: The Acting Branch does nominate as it sees fit, though in recent years it has usually seen fit to go with the studio’s decision as to lead vs. supporting. Both nomination races are tallied together; whichever one in which Meryl achieves the minimum vote for a nomination (1/6th) first is the one she’ll go under.

    @terrence: Actually, once upon a time the Academy *DID* nominate Meryl in supporting for a lead role — in Kramer vs. Kramer. IMO, the reason they did that was to minimize the number of top Oscars for that film; if Meryl hadn’t won supporting, that Oscar would have gone to her co-star Jane Alexander while Meryl would have won lead, thus leading to another “sweep” only four years after One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll do it again; today, if Meryl wants lead she’ll probably get it.)

    Now, to my actual comment: It seems like TWC keeps shifting Meryl to whichever race they think the competition is weakest in. They moved her from lead to supporting when everyone said Cate Blanchett had Best Actress sewed up; Julia was only a consideration because she might split the movie’s vote. (They may be a bit more sensitive about Cate because her only Oscar so far was for playing Katharine Hepburn, the object of Meryl’s current Oscar chase.) But that only made the supporting race Meryl vs. Oprah; the strong box office for Lee Daniels’ The Butler made Oprah stronger. Now, they’re moving Meryl back to lead; is this REALLY the final move???

  4. Quit falling for Weinstein bullocks. Their PR team are pros in getting what they want. Meryl would know–two years ago they won her the Oscar. That’s all!

  5. Streep is going back in to Best Actress so Oprah can win Supporting Actress for the Butler another Weinstein release. Too bad Streep could have won her 4th Oscar for this part if she stayed in the Supporting Actress race.

  6. Meryl Streep has made it pretty clear she’s not interested in awards anymore. She’s obviously grateful when she does win, but I don’t think Streep, herself, is trying to put herself in the “weakest” category just so she can win another trophy. There’s no way. I also don’t think she is trying to “beat” Katherine Hepburn. I honestly think she is a true artist who is only interested in the work itself.

  7. meryl’s role is totally a lead,
    if they want both of meryl and julia to have a chance to win, and one of them must slide into supporting, it’s totally julia,
    but i have doubt about both of them winning an oscar again though

  8. The role of Violet in the play (and movie I assume) is considered “the lead”. Deanna Dunagan did not win a “Supporting Actress” Tony Award and Streep should not be put in the “Supporting Actress” Oscar category. For producers to dictate the award categories based on the where they think they have the best chance of winning, makes the whole Oscar Awards a mockery. You win for what you play – and Streep’s role is the lead.

  9. @r. brittain — i don’t know how streep’s role in “kramer versus kramer” could ever be considered lead. she was gone for most of the movie. she had some wonderful climactic scenes but that was Hoffman’s movie. she was clearly supporting and rightfully won supporting.

    this oscar campaigning is ridiculous. and streep is hardly chasing hepburn. the studios and the pundits are chasing her for her.

    if there are two lead roles in this film, nominate both actress for lead or don’t. but one shouldn’t drop to make room.

    the oscars are becoming a colossal joke when it’s all about the campaign and not about the artistry (which it isn’t most of the time, aside from the occasional spot-on win).

  10. @J Andrews: Lead Tony & supporting Oscar for the same role are nothing new. Velma Kelly in Chicago won a lead Tony for Bebe Neuwirth in the 1996 revival, then a supporting Oscar for Catherine Zeta-Jones. Effie White in Dreamgirls won a lead Tony for Jennifer Holliday, then a supporting Oscar for Jennifer Hudson 25 years later. That type of “category fraud” has run rampant at the Oscars for generations. @terrence: Your view holds ONLY if you think Kramer vs. Kramer is JUST about Hoffman learning to raise his son. I’m familiar with the movie; Streep deserved a lead Oscar for her performance. (And if she wins this year, lead OR supporting, it’s her fourth Oscar overall; the ONLY actor, male or female, to win that many so far is Hepburn. So yes, she IS chasing The Great Kate whether she wants to or not.)

  11. @John Reagle: It ain’t Meryl moving herself around; it’s TWC. We all know the Weinsteins are masters at playing the gold derby. For the most part, it doesn’t matter to TWC whether they’re improving Meryl’s odds or Oprah’s; they’re trying to collect as many little golden guys as they can so they can make the most money on home video. Meryl may not be looking for more Oscars, but the Weinsteins are.

  12. And Oprah’s Hersholt Humanitarian Award two years ago only bolsters her chances at an Oscar. Both Henry Fonda & Paul Newman won their only Best Actor Oscars just one year after winning an honorary Oscar. And Charlie Chaplin won his only competitive Oscar, for the score of Limelight (1952) 20 years after it was made (rare then, not even possible now), just ONE year after his SECOND honorary Oscar.

  13. Its possible to have co-leads in a movie. And if they are following the play, this is one of those stories where you absolutely have co-leads. Please dont pull another “django”. Theres a difference between lead and supporting roles and thats why both categories exist.

  14. We have to consider that the movie adaptations might be different than the play/musical the movie is based on. What makes sense at the Tonys may not make as much sense at the Oscars.

    In the case of Hudson, having her go Supporting at the Oscars despite Holliday’s lead Tony made sense. I’ve never seen the Broadway production, but there is a large chunk of the movie where Effie is absent and it becomes about Deena and the Dreamettes. Effie has the showier role and the show-stopping number, but there’s no category fraud in that case.

    Meryl going to supporting here would be. And blatantly so.

    Maybe it made sense for Neuwirth to go Lead for the Broadway production, but for the film adaptation, it made perfect sense for Zeta-Jones to go supporting. I was actually surprised she went lead at the Globes, where she lost to co-star Zellweger, who was the definitive lead in the movie whereas Zeta Jones was not.

    Not all perceived category fraud is actually category fraud. There’s more to consider than just screen time.

    @r.brittain – as for “Kramer vs. Kramer”, I have seen the movie SEVERAL times and Streep’s is clearly a SUPPORTING role no matter what you think the movie is about. It’s about Hoffman suddenly being put in the position of raising a son essentially abandoned by his mother, who then comes back to reclaim him. That latter aspect does not make it a lead role. It’s clearly supporting. No category fraud there. Had the movie just been about a vicious custody battle, then you’d have a point.

    And she’s Meryl Streep. What the hell does she need to chase Hepburn for? I wouldn’t be surprised if she would prefer not to be considered for the Oscar at all — especially if it’s just going to be about getting her a fourth and a fifth to tie and then surpass Hepburn. Who cares? That hardly seems her focus in life as much as it does ours (the collective ours).

  15. I just hope Meryl Streep is put in the RIGHT category and the producers refrain from tossing her up and down due to political permutations… but nevertheless as it is i would surely love to see a smackdown between she and Oprah Winfrey.

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