I have to admit that there’s only one year where I can definitely say, “Yes, Glenn Close should’ve won the Oscar that year instead of the person who did.” And that’s a year where I think literally everyone agrees that the wrong person won, even if they don’t dislike Meryl Streep as much as I do. Even if they don’t like Albert Nobbs and don’t think Close should’ve won for it. In a one-on-one between the roles, I’d be surprised if anyone went for Streep. But I think part of my Meryl Streep issue can be tied to this as well—I genuinely think Close is a better actress, and I genuinely think her career has been harmed by the Streep fixation of Hollywood. All the good roles Close could get are being offered to Meryl Streep first.
I don’t know if she sings, I’ll admit, and I certainly wouldn’t have cast her as the Witch in Into the Woods in any case. However, I do feel as though Close is someone we haven’t done as well by as we could. Yes, the first place I think of her is in Mars Attacks!, but that’s only because I haven’t seen Hamlet in a while. (Yes, because of the Mel Gibson thing. It’s worth noting she’s only nine years older than he is anyway.) And didn’t see Dangerous Liaisons until the Great Library Project. And honestly don’t like Fatal Attraction very much.
Maybe Fatal Attraction was the problem. Yes, she threw herself into that role—as she always does, even as part of the MCU’s Cavalcade of Oscar Nominees in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. In the long run, though, how many male executives still think of her as the woman who boiled Michael Douglas’s bunny because he dared to reject her? Heck, I saw a parody of that bit (a girl boiling a high school boy’s leather jacket) on a sitcom once. She’s brilliant in it. She lost the Oscar to Cher for Moonstruck. As it happens, I’m one of the only people who doesn’t really care for Moonstruck, but my distaste for Fatal Attraction and its sexual politics makes me uncertain I really want it rewarded in that sense.
Here’s where I admit that I haven’t seen The Wife, but it sounds amazing and I really want to. By all accounts, Close gives an intense performance. There’s a story going around about a gay club playing a Lady Gaga song with Glenn Close’s Golden Globes acceptance speech over it, and having watched the speech (I don’t watch the Golden Globes), I think it’s a direct contrast between her message of empowerment and the message of the three versions of A Star is Born that I’ve seen (I haven’t seen the latest), which is basically “ladies, your husband is more important than your dreams.” I don’t think Streep would ever directly say that, especially because she would probably see it as disrespectful to Lady Gaga, but I also don’t think she’d deny the contrast.
All this and I’ve barely even touched on Dangerous Liaisons, a movie full of spectacular performances in which she may give the best. Or her voicework, including as the Mothership on the Netflix 3Below, well worth a watch on its own merits. Or her live action TV work. She has been a working actress, as she says, for nearly forty-five years, and she has given her all for all of it. I don’t think I’ve seen anything she’s done where I thought, “Yeah, she’s phoning it in.” And that in itself is a heck of an accolade.