Meryl Streep is due to win an Oscar. She's won two Oscars, but the last one was in 1983, just two years after last year's winner (Natalie Portman) was born. In that time, she has been nominated 12 times -- she holds the all-time record with 16 total nominations -- and she has lost to actresses ranging from Sandra Bullock to Kathy Bates to Cher. The woman is due.
Which is why, sight unseen, Streep was already the overwhelming favorite to win the Oscar next year for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." It had everything you'd want in an Oscar contender: Prestige, a beloved real-life figure, a physical transformation and, of course, a patented Streep Accent. It looked to be a runaway.
Only one problem: It appears friends of Thatcher's who caught an early screening of the film over the weekend are furious with how it portrays the former British prime minister. To say the least.
"I didn't come here to see a film about granny going mad," one anonymous viewer said of the movie ... "The Iron Lady" contains scenes of Thatcher suffering nightmares over some of the major victories of her tenure -- including the 1984-85 coal miners' strike that lead to a weakened labor movement in Britain and the 1982 Falklands War -- and sacrificing family for ambition.
Viewers took particular offense at the depiction of the Thatcher marriage, including a scene in which a pink-turbaned Denis appears in a dream sequence to rail at his wife for her selfishness.
Well, we didn't see that coming. It didn't occur to us that the film might make Thatcher look bad. To be fair, these were Thatcher's closest friends saying this, those who of course would be most likely to take offense at anything that made Thatcher look even slightly less than saintly. Audiences might not have the same reaction. But still: It's gonna be hard to wipe that "granny going mad" image out of our brains.