Meryl Streep is destined to reap an historic 17th Oscar nomination for her performance as Maggie Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" based upon reactions to its first Hollywood screening, which took place today for a select group of Oscar bloggers.
Just like Streep nailed her portrayal of Julia Child in "Julie and Julia" to receive Oscar bid number 16 two years ago, she tackles an even more ambitious job embodying the stern British Prime Minister now. Her Thatcheristic mannerisms and vocal imitation are spot on, but she digs even deeper, revealing the tragic vulnerabilities of a woman who pretended publicly not to have any. We see her in old age battling dementia and the ghost of her doting husband Dennis who won't quit haunting her. That means we see her age dramatically – complete with an impressive makeup job that makes her look pale and withered in her 80s. Oscar voters are suckers for that. She also gets a big crying scene that she didn't have in recent Oscar-nominated roles. Voters are really big suckers for that.
But can Streep win? She deserves the trophy – this is clearly an Oscar caliber turn and her best performance in recent years – but Streep is suffering a record losing streak. She hasn't prevailed since 1982 (Best Actress, "Sophie's Choice") and she has only one other Academy Award (Supporting Actress, "Kramer vs. Kramer," 1979). This year she faces tough competition from Michelle Williams ("My Week with Marilyn") and Viola Davis ("The Help"). Davis leads, according to the experts polled by Gold Derby. 38% pick her to win, 30% say Streep and 17% say Williams. However, Streep has the best overall odds in the category, according to everyone predicting at Gold Derby: experts, editors and site users -- 19/10 odds (34%). Click here to see the chart breakdown. (Sample snapshot below). Here is the chart showing the experts' rankings in that category. Notice that Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) and Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today) predict Streep will win.
"The Iron Lady" is also a strong contender for Supporting Actor (Jim Broadbent as husbnad Dennis), Best Costumes (Consolata Boyle, nominated for "The Queen"), Music Score (10-time loser Thomas Newman), Art Direction, Makeup and perhaps even Original Screenplay ("Shame" co-writer Abi Morgan).