Meryl Streep vs. Sandra Bullock: It’s the only real race in the Oscars besides best picture.
Should we vote for Meryl, who is perfection in “Julie & Julia” as Julia Child? She hasn’t won an Oscar since 1982. She’s the best actress in the world. And she’s won a lot of awards this year.
Or Sandra Bullock: lots of fun, very friendly, very real. This is probably her one shot at an Oscar, playing a Kathie Lee Gifford lookalike. I’ve always had a thing for Sandra Bullock, but her high-water mark was in “While You Were Sleeping.” She’s a B-plus comedienne. She makes a lot of movies of varying quality. Witness “All About Steve,” which she made in the same year as “The Blind Side” and “The Proposal.”
We won’t get into it too much here, but “The Blind Side” is really a terrible movie that has clicked with audiences for all the wrong reasons. But Sandy has also won some awards, almost going toe-to-toe with Streep as the season has progressed.
What might happen? Well, a few years ago Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson were in such a battle. DDL was in “Gangs of New York.” Jack was in “About Schmidt.” They alternated winning award after award. And who won the Oscar? Surprise! Adrien Brody for “The Pianist.”
If Streep and Bullock cancel each other out, look for Carey Mulligan to pull off an out-of-left-field win for “An Education.” There’s also a slight chance in such a scenario that Gabourey Sidibe would wind up winning for “Precious.”
Is this really happening?
The fact is, Streep should win. While everyone admires Bullock’s pluck, Streep is the actress of our time. And it’s not like this is a career nod. She embodies Julia Child. The strength and depth of her performance is even more noteworthy because Child was parodied so much in the past. For years people imitated Child via Dan Aykroyd on “Saturday Night Live.” The high-pitched voice, the cutting of the finger. This was Aykroyd. For Streep to have overcome that re-created Child, that is the demonstration of her remarkable abilities.
Then, again, there is the Golden Globe. Bullock won it for “The Blind Side.” The Academy is not disposed to ratifying Globe choices. And the actors’ segment of the Academy tends to go for the real thespian. In that case, Streep would be it.