- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2003

LOS ANGELES
Hollywood was a bit stunned when Meryl Streep was left off the list of Screen Actors Guild Award nominees, but she may have been a victim of her own success.
Miss Streep has been getting terrific acclaim for two performances during this awards season. She won the Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her portrayal of writer Susan Orlean in "Adaptation," and was nominated for best actress for "The Hours" as a woman coping with the fatal illness of her gay former husband.
Apparently, Miss Streep lost her shot at an Actor that's what SAG calls its statuette because a movie studio assistant bungled the submission of her name. Instead of submitting her for outstanding female actor in a supporting role for "Adaptation," somebody at Sony Pictures put Miss Streep in for female actor in a lead role.
However, since Miramax also submitted Miss Streep in the lead role category, the result was that she competed against herself in the category. The conventional wisdom in Hollywood is that the dueling Streep submissions canceled one another out.

The Sony snafu may actually have cost Miss Streep a shot at two SAG nominations. Besides forcing her into competition with herself for female actor in a lead role, the mistake also left her out of the running entirely for the supporting nomination.
Miss Streep, of course, is already one of the most decorated actresses in Hollywood history.
She has two Oscars: for best actress in "Sophie's Choice" (1982) and supporting actress in "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979). She has been nominated for the Academy Award 12 times, which ties her with screen legend Katharine Hepburn for most nominations for an actress.
Miss Streep also has a record 17 Golden Globes nominations, and has been nominated for the Actor four times in the nine-year history of the SAG Awards.
But do the math and you will see that it's been 20 years since Miss Streep's last Oscar. As she picked up the Golden Globe on Jan. 19, Miss Streep acknowledged it's been a while since she had won an acting award of any kind.
"I didn't have anything prepared because it's been, like, since the Pleistocene Era that I won anything," she ad-libbed in her acceptance speech.
Speaking with reporters backstage, Miss Streep continued to play the same theme.
"I didn't expect the Golden Globe," she said, "because the rug's been pulled out from under me so many times before. "I've lost more awards than any human being in that room."
Someone asked her if the Golden Globe win got her excited about her Oscar prospects.
"I don't know if I'm prepared for that," she said. "We'll cross that Rubicon when we come to it."

Sure enough, 10 days after the Golden Globes, the Streep Oscar bandwagon hit a bump in the road to Oscar gold.
Historically, the SAG Award has been a fairly reliable indicator of Oscar gold. Six of the eight SAG winners for female actor in a lead role have gone on to take the best actress Oscar.
This year's SAG nominees are Salma Hayek ("Frida"), Nicole Kidman ("The Hours"), Diane Lane ("Unfaithful"), Julianne Moore ("Far from Heaven") and Rene Zellweger ("Chicago"). The nominees for female actor in a supporting role are Kathy Bates ("About Schmidt"), Queen Latifah ("Chicago"), Julianne Moore ("The Hours"), Michelle Pfeiffer ("White Oleander") and Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Chicago").
Just because Miss Streep is not a finalist in either category is no reason to count her out for an Oscar nomination.
Under Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules, members of the acting branch vote exclusively on choosing acting nominees so there is no risk that a studio hand will compromise Miss Streep's chances for the Oscar. The nomination ballots are already in hand at the academy.
Miss Streep's work in both "Adaptation" and "The Hours" offers everything that academy voters look for in an Oscar-worthy performance smart, funny and exemplary of her commitment to her craft. Although she won the Golden Globe for "Adaptation," her performance in "The Hours" has those elements in greater abundance.
"Well, I had a nervous breakdown in every scene," she said. "I had to keep myself tightly coiled all the time, which was rough."
The SAG nominees are probably reconciled already to the strong likelihood that at least one of them will not hear her name called when the academy announces this year's Oscar nominees on Feb. 11.

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