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Meryl Streep Targets Supporting Actress



In an exclusive from Gold Derby, it seems Meryl Streep will be campaigned for Supporting Actress next year for her role in August: Osage County, but what does this mean?

Meryl Streep in August: Osage CountyMany assumed Streep would be put forward as a Leading Actress considering her counterpart in the Broadway show won the Tony for Best Actress, but actually this is a shrewd move by the Oscar savvy Weinsteins. If this decision wasn’t made (and no prizes for guessing who pushed for it) then Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts would likely be competing against each other for the award. This ultimately decreases the film’s chances of winning the award, as votes would be split between the two, paving the way for a third placed underdog to swoop in and steal it. So it makes sound tactical sense to drop one of them to Supporting, guaranteeing their nomination in at least two of the acting categories. And it also means Supporting Actress got a whole lot more interesting, with a two horse race between Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey (for The Butler) very likely.

But this decision also brings into scrutiny the very non-existent differentiation between the Lead and Supporting categories. In fact, it is entirely down to the Academy voters which category to nominate someone in, and as such the studios deliberately campaign their cast for one or the other to avoid a split vote, which could leave someone very deserving without even a nomination. But surely, if the acting Oscars are divided into these roles, then the different between them is recognized, yet it is still to be formally outlined in the Academy Awards eligibility and rules. But then how do you measure and determine a performance as primary or secondary? Do you quantify it by screen time or by lines spoken? Do you base it on credits? It would be almost impossible to impose a totally non-controversial system for deciphering between them, and as such I do not see the system changing in the near future. But all the time studios and voters can pick and choose which category to campaign someone for, questions of fairness will be raised.

Something to think about.

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