I admit it: Making this list is easy money. Because how can you not love Meryl Streep? This year she beat out the competition (including herself, in "It’s Complicated") for her Golden Globe award for "Julie and Julia." Here are six compelling reasons why she triumphed—and why she might win her third Oscar on Sunday night.
1. She actually seems self aware and modest. With two Golden Globe nominations, one for Julie & Julia, the other for It’s Complicated, she was essentially competing against herself—which would be enough to swell the head of a Mother Teresa, much less a Hollywood star. And yet nobody was more surprised at this turn of events than Meryl herself. “I’ve been given great, weird, interesting parts well past my ‘sell by’ date,” she recently told Vanity Fair.
2. At 60, she’s soaring. Talk about inspiration. Here’s a woman so confident, so comfortable in her skin that she can toss her head flirtatiously and declare, “I’m the fattest movie star you’ll ever see—and I don’t care!”
3. At an age when many once-successful actresses are reduced to focusing on their charities, their jewel collections and their hopes for a shot at Dancing with the Stars, Meryl is a one-woman box office wonder. One moment she’s pursing her prim nun lips in Doubt, the next she’s saucily singing and seducing in Mama Mia. And can we talk about Julia? Who else could have captured the distinctive voice, the exuberant spirit, the lovable bulk of Child? How ironic that, in a day when no actress in her twenties can open a film, we flock to see an AARP-eligible woman play romantic leads.
4. She’s smart about career management. One reason she’s still big box office is that young women adore her, thanks in part to her clever choice of roles. Her turn as a Wintourish editor in The Devil Wears Prada won over girls who have neither read nor seen Sophie’s Choice.
5. She’s beautiful, but not in a way that makes other women hate her. I remember the first time I saw Streep on screen, dancing through The Deer Hunter, with that distinctly engaging face—slightly bent nose, eyes just a bit too small…but ravishing skin and hair, and a mouth that could move quickly from quizzical smirk to radiant smile.
6. She’s generous to other female actors, and reportedly goes out of her way to put younger women at ease.Yes, I know, why shouldn’t she be generous, from her perch at the tippy-top of the heap—and yet, how many others go out of their way to be kind? Just one example: January Jones, who plays Don Draper’s beaten down, semi-crazy wife in the Emmy-winning Mad Men, recently told Harper’s Bazaar of an encounter with Streep. Spotting her idol at a SAG Awards party, Jones swilled some champagne to gather her courage, then approached. But no sooner had she uttered the words, “I’m such a big fan” than Streep was gushing over Jones’s work: “Oh my god, I love you. My daughter was just in the hospital and all she wanted to do was watch episodes of Mad Men. We just love the show and we love you.” “I got all shaky and weird,” Jones confessed. “I mean, this woman was in Sophie’s Choice — she’s not supposed to like a TV show.”
Maybe Streep’s kindness can be traced to her maternal streak. She has four kids, two following in her show business steps, and still no sign of any of them experiencing second-generation-Hollywood crackups. And for 31 years, she has been happily, and privately, wed.
Really, we should hate her. But who could? Streep is “the fattest movie star you’ll ever see”…and the woman we’d all like to be.
Susan Toepfer blogs at The Bumpy Ride, http://trueslant.com/susantoepfer/r/