Look, I adore Meryl Streep. Aside from being a monumental actress, she’s the only person in Hollywood who can make a long, topical speech during an awards show without boring me to sleep or making me throw up in my mouth. When she stepped to the mic at the Golden Globes last month, going on at length about immigrants and arts funding and bullying and a certain orange-hued man, I was utterly enchanted. Had that moment belonged to Halle Berry or (God help us) Lady Gaga, there would have been crocodile gulps and glycerin tears and the well-timed clutching of clavicles galore. But Meryl never ceases to amaze in her bizarre ability to come off like, you know, a normal person. She’s always that cool aunt, telling you all the right things in just the right way, even when she’s saying it to millions and millions of us.
So, having said that, I’d like to implore the Academy to PLEASE STOP GIVING HER OSCAR NOMINATIONS.
This year’s nod—her 20th, for those who can count that high—is particularly maddening since it’s for Florence Foster Jenkins, a highly mediocre flick about a awful opera singer who, thanks to her scheming husband, makes it all the way to Carnegie Hall. Streep is wonderful, of course. When is she not? But like Into the Woods and Music of the Heart and The Bridges of Madison County and One True Thing (I’ll give you a moment to recall if that last movie even existed), it’s yet another performance that’d be deserving of multiple accolades if played by another actress. But for an artist of Streep’s singular standard, it only feels like another day on the lot.
There’s not an actress working today who hasn’t been inspired by her, and surely all of them woke up last Tuesday, when the nominations were announced, and shouted, “Not her again! And not for that pile of crap!” What about poor Annette Bening, so perfect in 20th Century Women and who seemed like a shoo-in? Why not Amy Adams in Arrival? How could they overlook Taraji P. Henson’s star turn in Hidden Figures? Henson’s co-star, Octavia Spencer, barely had anything to do in that movie, but she got Best Supporting Actress nom because you-know-who only took on starring roles last year.
Immediately after the Golden Globes, our current president tweeted that Streep was “one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood.” I hate to admit this, but it’s actually somewhat true. We might not praise her too highly (is that even possible?), but we do honor her too often, so often that I bet Meryl herself is more than a little embarrassed by it. It’s time for an intervention. I’d like each member of the Academy to stand and repeat after me: “My name is [state your first name] and I am addicted to nominating Meryl Streep for Academy Awards.” The first step is admitting you have a problem, after all. The second step is making sure Isabelle Huppert wins and not Emma Stone.