In a perfect world Meryl Streep would win her fourth Academy Award for "August: Osage County." If the Oscars were awarded for pure performance, I don't see how she could not win. If the fact that she is the most Oscar nominated actor in history (18 times) were not taken into consideration (in a perfect world that would be an asset not a liability), or if Best Actress were not voted on based upon the most popular film of the year or most likable celebrity or sentimental favorite, Streep would be a shoo-in.
Don't get me wrong. Judi Dench gave a gut wrenching performance in "Philomena", Cate Blanchett was outstanding in "Blue Jasmine", Amy Adams showed us a new sassy side of her persona in "American Hustle", and Sandra Bullock was out of this world in "Gravity", especially considering that she acted in a spacesuit and was the only character in the movie with occasional comings and goings from George Clooney.
All are great actresses, yet none to me reached the depths of pathos and conflicting emotions that Streep displayed in "August: Osage County." Being the most celebrated actor of our time, Meryl has no one to compete with but herself. And having seen most of her 18 nominated films, I can say that she has really outdone herself this time.
A few months ago, I had a strange dream in which Judy Garland and Meryl Streep were lovers. At one point in the dream they invited me into bed with them to which I gladly obliged. When I woke up it all made sense to me.
Judy is considered by many to be the "Entertainer of the Century". Few could match her charisma and combination of exceptional singing, dancing, and acting. She was a supernova at MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) where there were "more stars than in the heavens. " I can think of no one of that generation that comes close to her level of talent and energy.
The same can be said of Meryl Streep's acting ability with today's generation. Streep was born in 1949 at the height of Garland's career at MGM. Meryl's acting journey began in 1971, two years after Judy's death but I would guess that Streep was inspired by Garland as most thespians her age are.
There is no entertainer alive or deceased who could match Judy's appeal and talent except for Meryl Streep. Seeing Meryl on TV talk shows, I also think her centered, calm demeanor would have a positive effect on the restless Judy. I'm sure they would have a mutual respect for each other's talents too.
What is interesting is that while Judy's incredible voice tended to overshadow her fine acting abilities, Meryl's acting outshines her own singing talents with which she surprised us at the end of 1990's "Postcards From The Edge" and in 2008 in "Mamma Mia."
At the beginning of Judy's film career at MGM she felt awkward because acting was new to her as she had been primarily a singer/dancer touring with her sisters. Mickey Rooney, her co-star, gave Judy great advice and told her to act the same way she sings, expressing the lines as she would her song lyrics. That seemed to work and I believe she developed into a great actress whose work was underappreciated even though she received two Academy Award nominations and a special juvenile Oscar for 1939's "The Wizard of Oz."
Meryl Streep, on the other hand, is a phenomenal actress who has extended her acting skills into singing, expressing great emotion in her songs in "Mamma Mia" as though she were acting the lyrics. I heard Judy once being asked in an interview about how she delivers a concert and whether she picks out one person in the audience and sings to them. She replied that as a singer she is like an actress who makes the lyrics come to life so that they can be felt by all in the audience. The delirious applause she received at the end of her concerts confirms that this approach worked.
And if you follow Streep and Garland's films you will find that each role they portray is unique and different. Many movie stars seem to play the same character over and over. But with Judy and Meryl, no two people they play look, or act, or sound exactly alike. Each has their own distinct personality. This is especially remarkable for Judy considering that MGM was constantly casting her as the girl next door and had a certain image they wanted her to maintain. But think about it, Dorothy Gale never shows up again in any of Garland's portrayals.
Meryl, not being part of a studio system, has more freedom in the roles she can choose. And her latest is her greatest in my opinion. The depth she brings to Violet Weston as a dying, manipulative, bitter, controlling, selfish, racist, homophobic, greedy, addicted and cruel mother is incredible. Even more remarkable are the glimpses of vulnerability, loneliness, and human-ness she allows us to see in rare moments of weakness. It takes courage as an actor to show an aging, unattractive, and dark soul.
So basically, Meryl and Judy are great artists where art does not just imitate life, art is life. They both are geniuses that know how to connect with the audience and make us feel what they are experiencing. They are also both team players in that as masters of their crafts, they inspire other actors around them to raise their games and bring out their best work.
I can honestly say that in all the films I've seen of both Meryl Streep and Judy Garland I have never seen a bad performance from either one. So in a perfect world, they might be lovers. And in a perfect world where Oscars are presented on merit, Judy would have won one for 1954's "A Star Is Born" and Meryl will win her fourth this year for "August: Osage County." God and Judy know she deserves it.