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Will “Hope Springs” Get Meryl Streep Her 18th Oscar Nomination?

August 13, 2012

By John C.

We all loved Hope Springs.  It’s the sort of adult drama that elevates the summer movie season to a more mature level, and a film that deserves the backing of critics to encourage audiences to give it a chance.  But there is one question I have been asking since first seeing the film last week – will it get lead actress Meryl Streep her coveted 18th Oscar nomination?

We all know that the veteran actress has had a strong relationship with the Academy Awards over the years, fairly recently winning her third Oscar for her performance as Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.  In terms of nominations, she has more to her name than Canada won bronze medals at the just wrapped London Olympics.

She was first nominated for her supporting role in the 1978 Best Picture winner The Deer Hunter, and took home her first statue for her supporting work in fellow Best Picture winner Kramer vs. Kramer way back in 1979.  Meryl Streep’s second win came for her leading work in the 1982 drama Sophie’s Choice, so many did think that she was overdue for her third Oscar for The Iron Lady.  But I would argue that she delivers one of her best performances in Hope Springs as an older woman looking to regain intimacy in her 31 year marriage, garnering respectful sympathy for what her character is going through.  It’s the sort of mature adult drama that might very well resonate with the Academy, despite being released in August.

The other reason why I think that Meryl Streep will get her 18th nomination for the film is because there simply haven’t been many leading performances this year that have stuck out in quite the same way.  At this point in time, the frontrunner for Best Actress seems to be six-year-old newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis for her wonderful performance in the beautifully made Beasts of the Southern Wild, but that still leaves four more spots to fill.  I know that awards season hasn’t started and there are some performances that are already drawing raves on the festival circuit like Helen Hunt’s pivotal role in The Sessions and Marion Cotillard’s work in Rust and Bone, but that still leaves plenty of room for an Academy favourite.

With a trio of leading performances that should be shown in acting classes, Hope Springs is essentially a three character movie and equally worthy of awards recognition is Tommy Lee Jones, who deserves his fourth Oscar nomination for the film.  I would also love to see Steve Carell get recognized for his work, but a Best Supporting Actor nomination for him seems like a far off dream.  The other big performance film this year is the equally excellent old age drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  The film seems destined to resonate deeply with the Academy and a couple of acting nominations seem to be in the mix, but it’s hard to tell how the strong cast will be divided up between the leading and supporting categories.

Meryl Streep has gotten more Oscar nominations throughout her career than any other actor, and it seems like the perfect time to bring that number up to eighteen.  It’s still far too early to make any sort of solid predictions, but favourites can come at any time and this is just one of the many reasons why the performances of Hope Springs deserve to be remembered come the end of the year.

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