Streep elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters

Posted by · 6:57 am · April 12th, 2010

Any Meryl Streep fans still sulking over over her twelfth consecutive Oscar loss last month should dry their eyes right about now. This morning brings the news that the actress has just been honored by a rather tonier Academy, as the American Academy of Arts and Letters has appointed Streep to their ranks.

Streep joins former honorees like Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen in the American Honorary class of membership, reserved for individuals whose work fall outside the institution’s traditional remit of music, art and literature. She is, however, the first person to be named solely for her achievements in acting.

If that’s not better than a little gold statue, I don’t know what is.

A quick glance through the list of the Academy’s living members (ranging from Philip Glass to Frank Gehry, Toni Morrison to Stephen Sondheim, Sam Shepard to Philip Roth) drives home the stunning scale of this honor.

It’s not just that it confirms Streep as a national treasure — that was obvious already — but that her collected performances, invariably of other people’s material, have been recognized as an artistic oeuvre equivalent to those of the country’s most esteemed creative minds.

The president of the Academy, poet J.D. McClatchy, explained the selection of Streep and her fellow honorary inductee, conductor James Levine, as follows:

Both of this year’s inductees are performing artists, and both are at the peak of their careers … James Levine’s conducting and Meryl Street’s acting are extraordinary examples of insight, depth and virtuosity.

Bravo. Now where does she go from here?

→ 19 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

19 responses so far

  • 1 4-12-2010 at 7:26 am

    Jim T said...

    I didn’t know about this Academy (they are so many) but I’m very happy for Meryl!

    I understand why they haven’t included many actors but why only two filmmakers and one documentary director? Perhaps because a movie relies less on the director than a book relies on its author or a piece of music on the composer? Still, was Billy Wilder, who wrote his own screenplays, less worthy than Scorsese?

    Anyway, thanks for the good news!

  • 2 4-12-2010 at 9:04 am

    j said...

    Um, Wilder is an Honorary member, but he’s not current as he’s dead.

    Welles, Capra…and Rouben Mamoulian are also there.

  • 3 4-12-2010 at 9:11 am

    Jim T said...


    I didn’t just assume he wasn’t. I checked deceased members and I didn’t find any filmmakers. Don’t know why.

  • 4 4-12-2010 at 9:36 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    You need to look in the Honorary section. Either way, they’re a select bunch.

  • 5 4-12-2010 at 8:30 pm

    j said...

    Hmm, aside from Rouben M, all the directors have 6+ noms. Why Zinnemann, Wyler, and Spielberg aren’t there instead of that guy, I don’t know.

  • 6 4-12-2010 at 11:07 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Perhaps because they feel Oscar nominations aren’t the sole arbiter of cultural worth. Crazy, I know.

    Incidentally, “that guy” was also a highly distinguished stage director, and made the first complete film in three-strip Technicolor.

  • 7 4-13-2010 at 12:57 pm

    James said...

    Enormous honor for her!

  • 8 4-14-2010 at 8:55 pm

    Patryk said...

    Should have gone to Bullock…just kidding.

  • 9 4-14-2010 at 9:16 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    It’s not better than a statuette. The whole purpose of the annual ceremony is the statuette. I’ll go so far as to say the Best Supporting Acting categories weren’t a great achievement until those actors were awarded regular Oscar statuettes as everyone else. Plaques are insult.

    Katharine Hepburn – 4 competitive statuettes (4 lead (3rd win was a tie) all nominations lead)
    Ingrid Bergman – 3 competitive statuettes (2 lead, 1 supporting)

  • 10 4-14-2010 at 11:46 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Way to miss the bigger picture, /3rtfu11.

    Not sure why you’re getting wrapped up in the literal specifics of statuettes and plaques when we’re talking about a completely different honour from a completely different institution — which Streep is the first actor to receive in its 112-year history.

    We all enjoy the Oscars around here, but some readers do carry on as if they represent the epitome of human achievement.

  • 11 4-16-2010 at 1:36 am

    lucy said...

    3rtfu was right Streep deserves to win about 6 Oscars by now the mediocre Katharine Hepburn won 4 by just playing herself YUCKS!

    Even Bette Davies is a far Superior actress than K. Hepburn, and the fact that these two superior actresses won fewer Oscars than Hepburn is the biggest crime the Academy has done!

    Streep should win additional 5 more LEAD OSCARS if they have enough respect for her

  • 12 4-16-2010 at 1:41 am

    lucy said...

    I dont care about Academy and Letters even if they elected Streep, STREEP SHOULD WIN 5 ADDITIONAL ACTING OSCARS SHE DESERVES, BECAUSE THEY ROBBED HER SEVERAL TIMES!!!!!!!


  • 13 4-16-2010 at 2:57 am

    Guy Lodge said...


  • 14 4-17-2010 at 5:56 pm

    Gleek said...

    I feel for you, Guy. I admit, I cried when Streep lost for the nth time, as n approaches infinity. I am a die-hard Streep fan, but now’s not the time to talk Oscar and Meryl since 1) She has no movies coming up this year and 2) It’s not even the Oscar season yet.

  • 15 4-18-2010 at 3:30 am

    Eunice said...

    And here we have another pair of cases who just don’t get it. I feel for you, Guy.

    As a diehard Streep fan, I was heartbroken when she lost for the nth time, but I agree with Gleek. She has no movies coming up this year, and it’s way too early to talk about the Oscars.

    I’m very stoked to see her get inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, though. What a great honor for her–and way to up the benchmark even more, Meryl! I suppose she does get to say, “I would like to thank the Academy,” after all. :)

  • 16 4-18-2010 at 4:10 am

    Jim T said...

    Are the two commnets above sarcastic or just totally off?

    No one spoke of the next Oscars and Guy certainly didn’t mean HE felt sorry for Meryl’s loss. He had made it clear he would choose Sandra before Meryl. Guy, you really find the wrong times to agree with the Academy :p

    I’m just bitter that stupid nature kept me away from London. I’ll throw some ash to your face, you fat volcano.

  • 17 4-19-2010 at 8:36 am

    Eunice said...

    JimT, I was talking about the other comments to this article, not Guy’s article or his comments. :)

  • 18 4-19-2010 at 10:04 am

    Jim T said...

    I guess my comment was the one that was off :p

    However, the other guys were talking in general and not about this year’s (2010-2011) Oscar race.

  • 19 4-25-2010 at 4:22 am

    Eunice said...

    I just went back to the other comments, and I realized yeah, I was a little off on the 2010-2011 Oscar race part. Thanks for the notice.