Photo from Variety.
I started becoming so passionate about film around 2008. I was thirteen years old.
I watched all the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. I tried to watch as many Oscar nominees as possible.
That year, one film really stuck with me like no other, and I think it’s still my most watched film from that year. It was Doubt.
The entire cast was excellent – from Amy Adams’ delicately balancing nun, to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s emotionally charged priest, to Viola Davis’ rapturous one-scene wonder.
But of course, my eyes were on that nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier.
Meryl Streep played her. Or to say it better, Meryl was Sister Aloysius.
I was just so attached on her quiet ferocity, that determination that simmers as she fights for what she believes is the right thing to do. And on repeated viewings, Meryl just stuck with me as, for lack of the better word, the definition of ‘great’.
When I say a performance is ‘great’, I always go back to Meryl and see if “has this person met her standards?”.
I know it’s not fair to do that to other actors, but that’s how she struck me. And then 2009 came – Julie and Julia and It’s Complicated. I loved her in both.
By that time, I was just fascinated by how she always does her best in acting but not seeming as if she was trying to hard.
She came at a crucial moment in my life – as my love for film was about to become serious (which eventually led me to taking Bachelor of Arts in Film as my course), she was there, reminding me of what excellence is and how a person can convey so much, can portray life within the limited time of a film.
Meryl Streep, in other words, was a godsend for me.
And I couldn’t be more thankful for her existence.
She’s a trailblazer – she showed through her work how her willingness to bare herself in camera can help us understand more about other people.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this. Meryl has influenced generations of actors, filmmakers, and artists not just in acting and in film, but also in life.
I haven’t met her yet. I don’t know if I ever will.
I really wish I could meet her one day and give her a big hug for everything she has done.
I know she’s just trying to do her best in her craft, but in doing so, she has touched so many lives.
And I’m no exception.
To (probably) my first true love in film.
I love you, Meryl.
And I thank you for what you have done to us.
Here’s looking forward to your future work (and Oscar nominations) while I also go back to your earlier works.
Here’s an altar of her twenty Oscar nominated roles, an all-time record (and I seriously doubt someone will break that anytime soon).
Just for the fun of ranking stuff, here’s how I’d rank her Oscar-nominated works (performances, not the films; all good-to-all-time-great; purely subjective):
- Sophie’s Choice (1982) as Sophie Zawistowski
- The Iron Lady (2011) as Margaret Thatcher
- Doubt (2008) as Sister Aloysius Beauvier
- Ironweed (1987) as Helen Archer
- A Cry in the Dark (1988) as Lindy Chamberlain
- Silkwood (1983) as Karen Silkwood
- Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) as Joanna Kramer
- The Devil Wears Prada (2006) as Miranda Priestly
- Postcards from the Edge (1990) as Suzanne Vale
- August: Osage County (2013) as Violet Weston
- Julie and Julia (2009) as Julia Child
- Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) as Florence Foster Jenkins
- One True Thing (1998) as Kate Gulden
- Adaptation. (2002) as Susan Orlean
- Music of the Heart (1999) as Roberta Guaspari
- The Deer Hunter (1978) as Linda
- Out of Africa (1985) as Karen Blixen
- The Bridges of Madison County (1995) as Francesca Johnson
- The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981) as Sarah/Anna
- Into the Woods (2014) as The Witch
Plus, her non-Oscar nominated performances:
- The Hours (2002) as Clarissa Vaughan
- Ricki and the Flash (2015) as Linda Brummel/Ricki Rendazzo
- Hope Springs (2012) as Kay Soames
- The River Wild (1994) as Gail Hartman
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) as Mrs. Fox
- It’s Complicated (2009) as Jane Adler
- Suffragette (2015) as Emmeline Pankhurst
- The Homesman (2014) as Altha Carter
- Mamma Mia! (2008) as Donna Sheridan
There you go. Looking forward to more years to come for you.
Always wishing you the success you deserve and the health that you need to do great work, on and off-screen.
Happy birthday, My Love.
Love you, Meryl.