Monday, December 29, 2014

Streep should thank her 'Help' for Oscar

Top Oscar Snub: Viola Davis

Streep should thank her 'Help' for Oscar

Meryl Streep's upset of Viola Davis ruined my otherwise perfect Oscar scorecard, and apparently many others as well.

An overnight Fandango poll showed fans thought the Davis snub was by far the night's biggest -- 51 percent chose it over the George Clooney loss to Dujardin (17 percent) and "Bridesmaids" best original screenplay loss to Woody Allen (10 percent).

Davis backers may have an argument. I don't think Davis had a great deal of help in "The Help." Director Tate Taylor stepped on her performance with some of his  camera moves (here comes a big speech, I'm zooming in!), and gilded the lily with too much music.

Streep, on the other hand, was better served by director Phyllida Lloyd, and also by Alexandra Roach. Who is Alexandra Roach? She's the actress who played young Thatcher in fully one-third of the movie, establishing the title character as the budget-conscious shopkeeper's daughter with the common touch. It's that bootstrapped bio that made Thatcher a political commodity, so valuable to elitist conservatives. Streep was great, but so was Roach. I think a piece of that Oscar belongs to her.

Had Davis won, it would have been the first time two actresses had won for the same movie since "Shakespeare In Love," before that "The Piano." And the first time two African American women won in the same year.     

Gary Thompson Daily News Film Critic
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Consider our Movies blog your essential guide to new movies and classics, interviews with filmmakers and stars, news and views on the latest screen trends, reviews and the occasional rant.

Gary Thompson Daily News Film Critic
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