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Both My Week With Marilyn and The Iron Lady are Weinstein pictures. Both Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams are considered locks for a Best Actress Oscar nomination. And so, corny corny, you could say that Harvey Weinstein has a Sophie’s Choice of his own. (Several months ago I overheard a junior publicist at a junket ask What’s Sophie’s Choice? She could recite every Bachelor from every season. I went into the bathroom and wept.)
Thing is, I wonder if Harvey’s decision was made for him. Meryl, bless her, just doesn’t play that game. She’ll promote her film, and diligently, but she doesn’t hustle the way the others hustle. She doesn’t go to every single dinner, party, glad-handing and not-so-subtly securing votes. If she wins, she wins. If she loses, whatever.
So it’s been Michelle Williams then who’s benefitting more from Weinstein’s Oscar efforts. Williams has been working it in LA. Dressed beautifully, bright-faced and enthusiastic, hitting up Palm Springs, and a lunch at Cecconi’s, and even an InStyle party full of C-list attendees, and last night at the Weinstein party at Chateau Marmont, all in service of first a nomination and then, perhaps, a major win.
Strategy aside, having now seen both films, as I’ve already noted, based on movie merit, my vote goes to Michelle. My Week With Marilyn isn’t great, but it’s passable. And her performance is unbelievably amazing.
And then there’s The Iron Lady. Meryl is Meryl. Meryl is never going to suck. To me, Her Margaret Thatcher was a caricature, and somewhat overacted, but I mean, we’re talking about some awesome talent here. It’s not a downside. The direction on the other hand...
Oh My God, this movie, what a disservice to her skill. At parts I was looking around like, are you kidding me with this montage, here? It would be hard to elevate yourself when what’s surrounding you is so....amateur. I think that limited Meryl’s abilities. I think she was stuck within the confines of something subpar. It’s not her best work.
Is Meryl Streep on an off day still better than Michelle Williams on her very, very, very best day? If I were the Dean of the Faculty of Celebrity Studies at a liberal arts university somewhere in New England, this would be your debate assignment for next week, to be broadcast closed circuit across campus - two teams throwing down, judged by anyone but James Franco.
My brief thoughts on it? If we were talking about Meryl in Adaptation or Doubt or even The Devil Wears Prada (because I thought she was wonderful in Prada), I’d have a harder time deciding.
My personal preference though, between the two then, based on these two particular performances, is Michelle Williams. And, here we go, my prediction also, for the Oscar Best Actress, is Michelle too.