Will she or will she not? That is the question this Oscar season when it comes to Meryl Streep’s prospects of winning a third Oscar Award for embodying Margaret (Maggie) Thatcher.
Despite an all-time record of 16 nominations, Streep has won only two Academy Awards, both a long, long time ago. Her Best Actress Oscar was in 1982 for “Sophie’s Choice.”
Streep’s portrayal of the powerful and controversial former British prime minister Thatcher in The Iron Lady is already attracting as much controversy as the life and work of Thatcher herself.
The biopic, which is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who had worked with Streep in the blockbuster musical movie, “Mamma Mia” will be released in the U.S. December 16, 2011 by the Weinstein Co.
The film will have exclusive runs in New York and Los Angeles, and then expand wider January 13, 2012.
This rollout keeps the film in Oscar contention, as according to Academy rules, a movie must begin its one-week qualifying run in Los Angeles County by midnight of December 31 to qualify for Oscar considerations.
The media and internet are already buzzing with early reactions, despite the fact screenings of the movie are only just beginning in the U.K. and in the U.S.
“The Iron Lady” is being widely touted—mostly because of Streep’s appearance–as an Oscar frontrunner, largely sight unseen, based on Streep’s record with Oscar voters and the kind of role she plays in the picture.
Streep depicts Thatcher’s rich, juicy, media-saturated life in power from 1979 to 1990, her journey to her political office and then ousting from power.
Former cabinet member and Tory stalwart Norman Tebbit wrote in the “Daily Telegraph” that Thatcher was “never, in my experience, the half-hysterical, over-emotional, over-acting woman portrayed by Meryl Streep.” But his opinion is said to be based on just the trailer, which is currently showing in the U.K.
The media screenings begin next week in N.Y., L.A., and London, but the U.K.’s Tory stalwarts trashing the movie in the right-wing leaning The Daily Telegraph are already in print. Tim Bell, one of Thatcher’s PR advisers, described the film as a “non-event” and said he had no interest in seeing it.
Variety reports that Streep has told The Daily Mail that while she didn’t agree with a lot of her policies, it had been a privilege to delve deeply into Thatcher’s life and play her on screen,
In contrast, the left-leaning The Guardian said in its early notice for the film that Streep’s turn is “astonishing and all but flawless; a masterpiece of mimicry which re-imagines Thatcher in all her half-forgotten glory.”