Best Actress Bracket Game: Meryl Streep Vs. Jodie Foster
We have three actresses left in our bracket game, but only two spots in the final round. One of them has already been claimed which means either Meryl Streep or Jodie Foster is going to be sent packing. Both are two-time winners, but Streep is the Nomination Queen. Can Foster, who hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar in over twenty years, possibly pull off the upset that eluded Sissy Spacek and Diane Keaton? That’s up to you guys.
On the subject of upsets…
Your eyes do not deceive you. Four-time Best Actress winner Katharine Hepburn, whose stats made her seems like a lock for the finals, was unseated by Ingrid Bergman in yesterday’s match. I have been saying for a while now that while Hepburn had a lot of statues on her mantle, none of the movies she won an Oscar for are all that well remembered today. Bergman, on the other hand, starred in the beloved romantic drama, Casablanca. Granted, that movie didn’t even net her a nomination from the Academy, but I suspect it gave her the edge she needed to advance to the finals.
With a record breaking 16 nominations and a chance to add to her win count this year, Meryl Streep is likely the actress to beat. Last round, we looked at Streep’s struggle to reinvent herself with lighter film roles in the 1990’s. The diversity continued into the 20th century when Streep scored her third Best Supporting Actress nomination for the quirky Spike Jonze comedy, Adaptation.
There seemed to be no method to Streep’s madness as she appeared in movies as varied as The Hours, a remake of The Manchurian Candidate and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. In 2006, Streep was nominated for Best Actress for the fashion-forward comedy The Devil Wears Prada. This nomination, her first in the lead category for a comedy, broke a seven year dry spell – the longest Streep had ever gone without a nomination in the lead actress category.
The Devil Wears Prada kicked off another streak of nominations for Streep. In 2008, she was up for Doubt, in 2009 it was Julie & Julia and in 2011, Streep finally brought home her second statue for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Since then, she has been nominated two more times for August: Osage County and this year for Florence Foster Jenkins.
As a two-time Oscar-winner for The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster was in a position to call the shots. And what she wanted to do was direct. In 1991, she made her directorial debut with Little Man Tate, a movie best-remembered for an especially talented extra. Three years later, she starred opposite Mel Gibson in the Western-comedy Maverick and landed her final (to date) Oscar nomination for the drama, Nell.
In 1995, Foster returned to the director’s chair for the Thanksgiving comedy, Home For the Holidays. she starred in hits like Contact in 1997 and Panic Room in 2002. But they were fewer and farther between. While Flightplan and Inside Man did respectable box office, they weren’t runaway hits either. In 2011, foster directed her friend and Maverick costar Mel Gibson in the dark comedy, The Beaver just as his career was in full melt-down.
Recently, Foster has directed an episode of the Netflix political thriller, House of Cards, and appeared in Money Monster late last year. She may not have the relevance that Meryl Streep currently enjoys. But perhaps readers have enough goodwill for her past performances to carry her into the finals.