Perhaps you’ve heard that a movie called Julie & Julia is out today. And perhaps you’ve also heard that critics are heaping glowing praise on one of the film’s stars, Meryl Streep, for her joyous, uncanny portrayal of legendary chef Julia Child. Acclaim for Streep inevitably leads to Oscar buzz, and so far, J&J is maintaining the tradition. Which thrills me. Streep may be the most nominated actor in Oscar history, but of her astonishing 15 nods, she has only won twice. Yep. Meryl Streep has the same number of Oscars as Hilary Swank. No offense to Swank, but that’s just wrong.
Anyway, when I had the pleasure of sitting down with Streep last month to chat about J&J, we got to talking about the Oscars. Streep was too humble to dwell on her own achievements, but she did say that being nominated is still exciting to her: “It’s a very, very big deal.” What troubles her, though, is that the Academy Awards come too late in the season. “As time has gone on, so many other televised award shows precede the Oscars, and I do think that’s diluted their importance,” she said. “Certainly, everybody seems exhausted by the time the same people have trampled up on stage at the Golden Globes, the SAGs, the Broadcast Film Critics, the Baftas….There are so many now and they’re all on TV. I mean, you wanna see some real acting? Watch somebody who’s won five times before they get to the Oscars, then they get up on stage and they do the performance of, ‘Oh! Yes!’ Wow, that’s a big job! And who could blame them?” Streep then made the bold suggestion that the Oscars should kick off the kudos season: “I think the Academy should move it up to Jan. 1 and preempt everybody else. That is the big Kahuna, it’s the one that counts. And I think it’s just so bizarre that they allow themselves to be the caboose.”
If Streep were to start a campaign to move the Oscars to New Year’s Day, I’d gladly volunteer to help her spread the word. Who of us isn’t totally over the whole damn thing by the time the red carpet rolls out at the Kodak?
So are you with me on this one? Should the Academy leap to the front of the line?