First look: Meryl Streep vs. Julia Roberts in hot Oscars prospect ‘August: Osage County’

From the looks of the first trailer (watch below) for “August: Osage County,” it sure seems like Meryl Streep is a slam dunk to reap her 18th Oscar nomination. She shines in the role of Violet Weston, a pill-popping mad matriarch, who tangles with her eldest daughter Julia Roberts in the midst of a family crisis.

John Wells‘ much-anticipated screen version of Tracy Letts‘ 2008 Tony and Pulitzer champ is produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov who just won the Best Picture Oscar for “Argo.” And it is distributed by the Weinstein Company which wrote the playbook for awards campaigning. 

Even before the debut of this trailer, Streep was the frontrunner for Best Actress. A win would give her three Best Actress Oscars, following victories for “Sophie’s Choice” in 1982 and “The Iron Lady” last year.

And with her 1979 supporting prize for “Kramer vs. Kramer,” Streep would be tied with Katharine Hepburn who won Best Actress four times — “Morning Glory” (1933); “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967); “The Lion in Winter” (1968); and “On Golden Pond” (1981). That last win for Hepburn came in the year that marked Streep’s first time in this race for “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.” 

The Broadway run of “August: Osage County” won Tonys for Deanna Dunagan as the vile Violet and Rondi Reed as her long-suffering sister Mattie. Emmy champ Margo Martindale (“Justified“) now plays that part and she could well reap a supporting Oscar nod. 

But where will the Weinsteins position who co-stars as Barbara, Violet’s oldest daughter, and engages in one mother of a battle with her momma. At the Tonys, Amy Morton contended in the lead race, losing to Dunagan.

Will Roberts allow herself to be demoted to supporting? If she does, the thinking is that she would be the frontrunner in that category. 

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