Meryl Streep, a Date with Oscar and a Test Screening of August: Osage County
Meryl Streep, a Date with Oscar and a Test Screening
Twitter was a-flutter with reactions from a test screening of the Meryl Streep/Julia Roberts film August: Osage County. I never trust test screenings where Oscar is concerned because they are almost always wrong. Moreover, they can sometimes set expectations too high for a film to then meet those expectations. I hate it when that happens. But you can’t put the genie back in the bottle once it’s out and so August: Osage County is not quite getting the Les Mis treatment yet but it might be headed in that direction. Remember: you need critics to see a movie to know if it’s going to be a Best Picture contender at the very least. Over the years test screening reactions have almost always turned out to be misleading.
Here’s what we know before we ever even go read those: Streep brings it. She brings it in bad movies (The Iron Lady) and brings it in great movies (Adaptation) — so there isn’t likely going to be anything disappointing about Streep in this film. Therefore, it isn’t that surprising that the early word from the screening is a sploogegasm on the order of MERYL STREEP WILL WIN HER FOURTH OSCAR. And she very well might. Since Hollywood, and the industry, really really really doesn’t like movies with strong female leads in them, and that there are barely enough of them to go around at all, it seems plausible that Streep’s tour de force could blow out any potential competition.
But enough of my empty, pointless speculation — on to the tweets. A reader named Daniel sent this in (I hope he doesn’t mind if I post it):
And I have to tell everyone that I loved it.
I was very nervous about this adaptation because I loved the play so much. I saw it 6 times on Broadway, and was really worried about Julia Roberts taking on the Amy Morton role.
Julia Roberts, while no Amy Morton, acquits herself nicely, and does some of her best acting in years. However, this is Streep’s movie, and she really sinks her teeth in to the part. The dinner scene stands out as a really strong moment (and always was one of my favorites in the play). She is totally unrecognizable in the first few scenes, and tears threw them brilliantly.
Tracy Letts does a nice job adapting his work for the screen. Everything is very faithful to the original material, but more opened up for the big screen. There is an addition to the end that i didnt’t care for, but overall I thought everything worked really nicely.
The biggest surprise for me was Benedict Cumberbatch. He took a very minor character who was never someone I liked onstage, and made me care about him.
Margo Matindale was the casting I was most excited about for this film and she totally delivered. She is an excellent Mattie Fae, and i hope that she can score a supporting nod.
Overall, I think this is easily one of the best films of the year, and I can’t wait to see this again.
From Movie Freak in Awards Daily forum:
Ok, goyles here goes. I wasn't forced to sign an pesky confidentiality agreement so I can spill all the T. First of all, the film itself is really good. I think they did a great job capturing the feel, the setting and how isolating and barren the local can be. It is very classic in it's approach (it felt like it could have been made in the 70s or 80s), yet Letts' dialogue keeps it very fresh. They stayed extremely close to the source material; almost scene for scene really. However, the pacing was a bit off and I'm sure they'll work on that for the final cut. The acting is of course the story here and for the most part, the entire cast delivers. They all had great chemistry and played off of one another really well. The whole thing truly felt like an ensemble. But, this really is an AD actressing wet dream come to life and I'll go through everyone quickly one by one.
Meryl Streep: Let me tell you people this right now, you can say that I'm a Meryl fanboy or whatever ever, but this performance was literally everything. This is a pure tour-de-force, acting with a capital A showstopper. The entire cast is very strong, but Meryl devours them all. She gets to be funny, mean, loud, hammy, crazy, physical, subtle all at the same time. You hate her and your heart breaks for her. Even people who don't typically love this type of performance should find something here. This is a role made to win awards and I can easily see her becoming undeniable despite her recent win just like DDL did. This is complete and utter Oscar BAIT.
Julia Roberts: I have to say that she was the biggest surprise of the cast for me. I thought she did a terrific job. This is a great character on paper and she really had me believing her. There was no vanity or any Julia-isms. She also gets to run the gamut of emotions and does a terrific job. I was really impressed and surprised that for the most part she held her own against Meryl. The role is obviously leading, but I think it'll be tough for her to compete alongside Streep. In supporting, she would be a total slum dunk, even for a possible win.
Margo Martindale: She was good, just like she always is. Her character has a lot of comic relief and she does that well. She also had great chemistry with Cooper and she was terrific in her big emotional scene. I like her and I'm rooting for her, but I question if there's enough there for a nomination. I hope so.
Julianne Nicholson: I really like this character and she does a good job with it, but her fate will really depend on the reviews and the campaigns. She also really nails her climactic scene, although Julia is a big part of that as well.
Juliette Lewis: Oh poor, poor, sweet Juliette. Poor out of her depth Juliette. I mean the character is kind of ridiculous (and in that sense she was perfect for this role), but Juliette is even more so. I like her and I was rooting for her, but it was all I could do from laughing out loud during her big final scene. Of course, I do love a good hot mess, so I enjoyed her, but no lol.
Abigail Breslin: I'm not sure who it was that said she had a good role here and more to do than in the actual play, but no, I think it's actually the opposite. Either way, I'm glad that's the case. I don't care for her or this character.
Ewan McGregor: He was fine, but completely reactionary to Julia. I don't see him happening.
Benedict Cumberbatch: I really liked him a lot; he was really sad and heartbreaking, but he really doesn't have all that much to do here. It's too bad that his character gets robbed of a reaction to the big reveal.
Chris Cooper: Has the best male role and by far the most sympathetic character in the film. His telling off of Margo Martindale's character got applause from the audience, so if many of the men get any traction, it'll be him.
On a side not, I need to read the theater I saw this in for filth. About 30 minutes till the end of the film, the projector broke and it took then another 30 minutes to fix it. Just as I was in my Meryl haze, I had to
Where in the world is Lynn Stairmaster?
[quote]Remember: you need critics to see a movie to know if it’s going to be a Best Picture contender at the very least.
Well that's the biggest pile of horseshit I've read in a while.
Agree with R3. I trust my own perceptions above movie critics. Some are paid off.
Who the Hell would sit through "August: Osage County" six times? I saw the original production on Broadway, it's a chick flick onstage, so it'll be a chick flick onscreen. It was boring and you can see every turn a mile away.
I wish the forever famewhoring Meryl Streep would retire to that great studio in the sky.....and take the DL Meryl troll with her.
R5, this will be pablum for theater queens and middle aged fraus, that's all.
Why did that hasbeen Julie Roberts have to be in this? Sandra Bullock would have been better, I just can't stand that cuntface and her distracting mouth. She reportedly caused trouble on the set with her diva antics unsurprisingly.
I don't see this being a new Steel Magnolias but it can't be all bad. Then again Doubt was also a Pulitzer winner.
"I trust my own perceptions above movie critics. Some are paid off."
ROFLMAO. The movie that wins Best Picture is always a movie that receives critical acclaim.
Dataloungers thought Les Miz would win Best Picture based on opinions from people who saw test screenings - you all were wrong
Well, we all knew this role (via Meryl's interpretation) had the potential to become an American classic, a la Brando/Godfather and DeNiro/Taxi Driver. From the get-go. And it is happening.
What's more, it's set in the very heart of America, and reflects where the country and its citizens are at. It will completely dominate the coming awards cycle, as it should.
Meryl is going to win her fourth Oscar, and it won't be her last either.
You know it, I know it.
What were JR's antics on the set?
Don't know exactly R11, there was nothing specific but apparently Meryl just ignored it and laughed at her. May have been something to do with trailer size.
Here this is the first result that comes up for "julia roberts diva". Speculative and made up perhaps, but we know she IS a cunt.
R5: I saw "August: Osage County" twice, once on Broadway and another time at the Kennedy Center in D.C. Both times with Estelle Parsons in the lead and she was astounding. I probably wouldn't have turned down an invitation to see it a third time. It's a very American play that has the feel of an instant classic. The third act is rather problematic, but there are some killer good scenes through the show. This review mentions the infamous "dinner scene" which I'm happy to hear has been kept intact from how it is in the play. And Barbara's (Julia Roberts) "I'M RUNNING THINGS NOW!" moment at the end of the second act is just pure gold. Honestly, it sounds like this is going to be a real actor's showcase.
And this isn't a "chick flick", fyi.
Streep troll, I think Meryl has a great chance of getting the gong for this performance. Those are some pretty rapturous reviews. But stating so unequivocally that she WILL WIN in March is a bit premature. There's a lot of time before we can even approach that kind of certainly w/r/t next year's race. At this point, a definite nomination and a leading contender for the win. Beyond that, you sound a bit fangirl-ish and just not that well versed about how these things work.
That's why I call myself a troll, sweetheart.
[quote]Julia Roberts, while no Amy Morton, acquits herself nicely, and does some of her best acting in years.
[quote]Julia Roberts: I have to say that she was the biggest surprise of the cast for me. I thought she did a terrific job.
Anyone who thinks Julia Roberts is capable of being terrific in anything should not be writing about films. She may "appear" to give a decent performance, easily helped by truly talented actors around her, but she is a horrid actress. Horrid.
If Julia gets raves, she's going in as leading. That's pretty much a given. And expect her to be everywhere, there's no way she's sitting back and letting Streep bask in the spotlight. This is her comeback flick.
They only gave Meryl her second best actress oscar two years ago. They're not going to do it again so soon.
I hope this movie does well. I love Letts and his Mom was a very visible anti-Bush protester during the Iraq war back in Tulsa, OK.
I wish them the best.
I love Meryl but it's been ages since I've seen one of her movies in the theater, and I even ignore some on tv. This one has me intrigued though, I like that it was a successful play first and that it's about a large group of women, not just one strong woman like most of her movies.
r20, do you also dislike male actors who do 'one man shows'?
(which is what 99 % of male superstars do, in their films).
Don't forget to switch off the tv next time some Clooney, Damon or Nicholson flick comes on.
Also, I don't think 'Devil Wears Prada', 'Doubt', 'Julie & Julia', 'Mamma Mia', 'Adaptation', or 'The Hours' were one-woman shows. Other than 'Iron Lady' Meryl hasn't been in one these last ten years.
I don't dislike Meryl at all r21, I opened my post saying I love her. If it isn't enough to love her but not all her movies, you really are a troll.
As if Best Actress actually goes to the best performance. Ha. It's all about the campaign, the momentum, who has the "moment."
[quote] Anyone who thinks Julia Roberts is capable of being terrific in anything should not be writing about films.
Are you prepared to tell that to the LA Film Critics and National Board of Review Film Critics that awarded her the Best Actress award for Erin Brockovich.
That is over 1,000 film critics, so they all should not be writing about films?
The Streep troll I don't want to create a new thread about this, so I'll ask it here.
The House of Spirits.
What went wrong? Especially for Meryl
I travel all over Europe and have access to literally hundreds of IP addresses.
Trying to ban or block me will only make it worse.
I am harmless.
Get over yourself.
[quote]Where in the world is Lynn Stairmaster?
Vacationing in the Seychelles with Matt Lauer and Carmen Sandiego.
[quote]Where in the world is Lynn Stairmaster?
Frantically masturbating with a DVD of LES MIZ shoved up her snatch and sobbing over the non-sweep at the Oscars.
r22, I understand you like Meryl, but you completely ignored the very valid points I made in r21.
Meryl hasn't done any 'one-woman shows' these last ten years (with the exception of 'Iron Lady').
And secondly: do you also turn off the tv when a 'one-man show' comes on?
I seriously would like to know this.
Has Lynn Thighmaster made her always accurate year in advance Oscar predix yet?
r25: Meryl gave a fantastic performance in 'House of the Spirits'. She is more sensual in her role, more ethereal, more sexy, than any of Jessica Lange's so-called 'carnal performances'.
It's a triumph in acting, and she is very ably supported by Glenn Close, who is formidable as the repressed sister-in-law.
What went wrong?
Bad script, messy direction, the cast was all Anglo-white for a story set in Chile. And... it had Winona Ryder as the other female lead. Bad call!
It just turned out to be a potboiler.
Still, two amazing performances embedded within, and it's worth checking it out - for Meryl and Glenn alone.
Since Ms. Stairmaster hasn't weighed in with hosannahs about A:OC, we can deduce that it actually WILL win some awards!