A.O. Scott celebrates Meryl Streep

Posted by · 4:57 pm · February 26th, 2010

Meryl Streep in Julie & JuliaJust when it seems as if pundits and critics alike have run out of fresh things to say in praise of Meryl Streep, A.O. Scott comes along with this beautifully written valentine to Oscar’s favorite actor.

The piece essentially amounts to the longest, most eloquent For Your Consideration ad of the season, but even I — a relative agnostic on the merits of the master’s performance in “Julie & Julia” (more on that in the Film Experience’s Oscar Symposium later today) — was given pause by this very intelligent argument in its favor:

[T]hese days impersonation is the province of every aspiring biopic star. Ms. Streep’s Julia Child is never anything other than a performance, a fusion of two strong personalities rather than the absorption by one into another. You never forget that you are watching Meryl Streep inhabiting a version of Julia Child, and instead of distracting you from the truth of Julia, this awareness is what enables you to understand her. It is our familiarity with Ms. Streep that makes her exploration of a more private Julia Child both credible and exhilarating. Similarly in her frequent forays into the world of cinematic statecraft, she can be an entirely convincing senator or cabinet secretary while still being, in every syllable and flourish, Meryl Streep.

Plenty of other quotable passages in the article, but the actress’s legions of devotees will be better off reading and savoring every word. Enjoy.

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12 responses so far

  • 1 2-26-2010 at 5:28 pm

    Fitz said...

    So many deserving actresses this year: Streep, Sidibe, Mulligan, Mirren, who knows who’ll win?

  • 2 2-26-2010 at 6:08 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Uh, the one you don’t mention.

    Can’t sneak that one past us ;)

  • 3 2-26-2010 at 7:20 pm

    Raffi said...

    I came across this yesterday. Very fitting, especially for me at this time since I am one third my way through a “Merylthon” – watching 30 films from Streep’s 30+ year filmography (hopefully in 3 months).

    I’m almost giving in to predicting Bullock on my ballot (even though I knew Meryl wasn’t front-runner when I had her). So sad because I really think she has grown so much as an actor after her wins for Sophie’s Choice and Kramer vs. Kramer. She has turned in a handful of equally worthy performances since then, and that includes Julie and Julia.

  • 4 2-26-2010 at 7:24 pm

    KarlaT. said...

    Meryl should win this year, I have a feeling she will.

  • 5 2-26-2010 at 8:12 pm

    Patryk said...

    A-Okay with me.

  • 6 2-26-2010 at 8:21 pm

    Fitz said...

    I’ll admit it wasn’t very sneaky Guy.

  • 7 2-27-2010 at 2:48 am

    matsunaga said...

    I have a feeling that despite the media humdrum about the one nominee Fitz didn’t mention, Meryl Streep will win this year… I just feel it… Hope I’m correct.. ;)

  • 8 2-27-2010 at 9:39 am

    Simon Warrasch said...

    Meryl should have won the Oscar for her outstanding performances in Bridges of Madison County (lost to Susan Sarandon), One True Thing (lost to Gwyneth Paltrow) and for The Hours (she wasn’t nominated in that year)! This year, i think, she will lost to Sandra Bullock!

    Will win: Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

    Could win: Carey Mulligan – An Education
    Gabourey Sidibe – Precious
    Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

  • 9 2-27-2010 at 9:44 am

    Chris138 said...

    I dread the moment when Sandra Bullock’s name will be called to collect the Oscar. *shakes head*

    It’s a long shot, but I hope for a Carey Mulligan upset.

  • 10 2-28-2010 at 2:48 am

    Andrew said...

    I also hope she wins. She deserves it.

  • 11 2-28-2010 at 3:52 pm

    John H. Foote said...

    The gushing of support for Bullock might finally end when envelope is opened and Meryl Streep is named Best Actress, as she should be. Gut feeling, hope I am right.

  • 12 3-01-2010 at 8:08 am

    Eunice said...

    Oh, this tidbit makes my heart flutter. Off to read the rest of the article.