The National Board of Review’s annual awards dinner takes place at the start of the year, and generally signals the start of the most intense phase of the awards campaign. From now until March 2nd the cast and crew of the big Oscar hopefuls will rarely be out of the public eye, attending dinners and lapping up any opportunity for publicity. Surprisingly, but rather fittingly, it’s Meryl Streep who kicks off what looks to be the cattiest Oscar season for a long time.
She took to the stage to introduce Emma Thompson, awarded Best Actress for Saving Mr. Banks. Within a glowing endorsement of her colleague was a damning indictment of Walt Disney himself, criticizing his sexism and anti-semitic lobbying. This could of course be the result of someone letting off steam, perhaps venting a little towards a project she was supposedly considered for. But it could also be something much more tactical.
Let’s not forget the Weinsteins are ruthless when it comes to Oscar campaigns. Meryl Streep is also a possible Leading Actress nominee for August: Osage County, which you may think is odd that she is raving publicly about her potential rival. However, both Streep and Thompson will be aware that a nomination is the most they can hope for. Leading Actress will be fought between Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett. So by slamming Walt Disney within a testament to Mr. Banks‘ star, she discredits the movie for other categories. You can vote an actress, but you can’t vote a film without endorsing the studio behind it.
August: Osage County and Saving Mr. Banks are among a melee of movies competing for a Best Picture nomination, so call me cynical but it seems like quite a coincidence that all of a sudden Meryl Streep is so outspoken against the values Disney were built on.
Or maybe it was just an innocent jibe because she’s Meryl Streep and who’s gonna tell her not to?
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