Having two competing roles in the same category is always a wealth of riches during awards season, except when the studio, your reps and half of Hollywood knows that "other" part could hurt your chances for success.
Last year, Kate Winslet was incredibly lucky -- and not to mention deserving -- to win her Oscar for "The Reader." Both The Weinstein Company, who released "Reader," and the defunct Paramount Vantage, which handled "Revolutionary Road," were hoping to slot Winslet in the Best Actress race with the latter and the Best Supporting race with the former. Well, Academy members would have none of that. They voted Winslet in for Best Actress for "The Reader" (which was probably the correct slotting anyway) and kicked her downer role in "Road" to the curb. All's well that ends well for Winslet as she actually won, but other actresses haven't been so lucky. Therefore, it's no surprise that none other than Meryl Streep appears to have made it clear where her support lies -- at least for awards.
In a somewhat weak Best Actress pool, Streep has been getting a ton of buzz for her portrayal of Julia Child in this past summer's hit "Julie and Julia" (and let's be honest, she pretty much carried the movie). In the meantime, she also has Nancy Meyer's adult-themed romantic comedy "It's Complicated" hitting theaters in December. Meyer's resume wouldn't normally scream Oscar except that she directed Diane Keaton to a nod in 2004 for "Something's Gotta Give." Additionally, there has been some scuttlebutt around town that Alec Baldwin's performance in the love triangle storyline could be awards-worthy. A late year release date, the pedigree of the talent involved and words are thrown around such as "potenital contender."
A tidbit was passed Awards Campaign's way from a trusted source that Ms. Streep was asked to pose for a spread in a major magazine that would be timed around the opening of "Complicated." A publication many Academy members are known to still buy. Her reply? Only if she could take the photos with Nora Ephron.
Note: Ephron is her "Julie and Julia" director.
(Obviously, read into that what you will.)
In any event, and as if there was ever any doubt, Streep is putting her hopes to finally land a third Oscar in the hands of her critically acclaimed performance in "Julie and Julia." Last year, Streep finally admitted, in the most humble way possible, her disappointment with having been nominated 11 times since her last win in 1982. Yes, she's been recognized as America's greatest living actress, but she's also lost more than any other actor in history. And, she's got a point. It's a tad embarrassing for all involved. Considering the competition, if she really wants it this time around, she may just get it.
Let's also be clear, it's in Streep's best interests for "Complicated" to be another big commercial hit to add to her growling list of 21st century moneymakers. But in the awards world she won't want to confuse the HFPA regarding what role she expects to be nominated for in the Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical category.
Of course the irony is that if she does win a third Best Actress award this year it will be her "Complicated" co-stars Steve Martin and Baldwin hosting the show.
Just another storyline in an increasingly intriguing awards season marathon.
For constant updates on awards season and entertainment news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter at Twitter.com/HitFixGregory
[Also, check out the complete final poster for "It's Complicated" below.]