Meryl Streep was in a playful mood last night when she held court backstage before a crowd of admiring press after winning her Best Actress Oscar for “The Iron Lady.” “I thought I was so old and jaded, but they call your name and you just go into sort of a — I don’t know, a white light, and it was just thrilling,” she told us. “It was like I was a kid again. I was a kid when I won this. It was like, 30 years ago. Two of the nominees were not even conceived,” she pointed out, to laughter.
She was asked about wearing shoes by the designer favored by her film alter ego, Margaret Thatcher. And also, whether she would be drinking a couple whiskeys, as Mrs. Thatcher has been known to do, to celebrate her win.
“I’m going to start with a couple,” she declared. “And then we’ll see if I can walk on the Ferragamos.”
Meryl talked about her response to her mirror image the first time she saw herself in old age Margaret Thatcher makeup: “I saw my father…maybe my father looked like Margaret Thatcher.” She talked about her passion project — the need for a national women’s history museum. And she pretended to pout, a little, when told there was one more question: “Okay…but I’m so thirsty!”
Now a three-time Oscar winner out of 17 nominations, Meryl said, “Frankly, I understand Streep fatigue. I’m shocked it didn’t override tonight…I don’t take anything for granted, that’s for sure.”
Streep fatigue? Not here. Of course, earlier this month, the gracious actress graced us with her presence to accept Best Grownup Love Story honors at our Movies for Grownups Awards. The 84th Academy Awards turned out to be a celebration of superstars who are age 50 and up, too.
With a silent movie — “The Artist” — winning Best Picture, and 63-year-old Billy Crystal back as host, it was also a night of nostalgia, a fact drawing critical fire, along with the show’s laggardly pace and other issues.
No one was complaining, though, when Christopher Plummer reminded the world-wide viewing audience what a debonair old school movie star sounds like. Accepting his “Beginners” Best Supporting Actor Oscar, he spoke to his statuette: “You’re only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life?” It was his third nomination. Backstage, the 82-year-old Plummer disputed his Oldest Oscar Winner title.
“I don’t believe that for a second. I think that Charlie Chaplin, even though his was an honorary Oscar, wasn’t he 83?” Plummer asked. He was right about Chaplin, but still, his win last night makes him the oldest to win a competitive Academy Award. He also said that “Beginners” and the Oscar recharged him, and will keep him going “for another 10 years, at least….I’m going to drop dead…onstage or on a set. We don’t retire in our profession, thank God.”