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'Mamma Mia!' — Could Meryl Streep make Golden Globe history?

July 23, 2008 |  7:54 pm

Though "Mamma Mia!" may not have impressed all of the critics, audiences worldwide are flocking to this celebration of the music of ABBA starring Meryl Streep. Last weekend, amid all the hubbub about "The Dark Knight," this frothy film set a record of its own. Its domestic gross of $27.7 million edged out "Hairspray" by $200,000 to become the movie musical with the highest-grossing opening weekend ever. And in its first two weeks of international release, "Mamma Mia!" has made an additional eye-popping $72.6 million.

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Proving she can indeed do it all, star Meryl Streep is the clear favorite to win a record seventh Golden Globe, says Paul Sheehan, my colleague here at The Envelope. A certifiable Broadway and kudos nut, Paul reminds us all that Streep is even more beloved at the Globes than she is at the Oscars. In her three decades of collecting awards hardware, she has won six Globes out of 21 nods for film and TV work versus only two Oscars from her record 14 Academy Award nominations. That impressive track record with the Globes puts her only one nom behind Jack Lemmon and tied for wins with her pal Jack Nicholson. Granted, one of her wins was for a TV appearance ("Angels in America"), but she also has Globes for her Oscar-winning roles in "Kramer vs. Kramer" (supporting) and "Sophie's Choice" (lead drama) as well as "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (lead drama), "Adaptation" (supporting), and "The Devil Wears Prada" (lead musical/comedy).

By rewarding lead performances in both drama and musical/comedy, the Globes need double Oscar's number of nominees. While Meryl Streep got an Oscar nod in addition to that Golden Globe win for her marvelously over-the-top 2006 role in "The Devil Wears Prada," as well as duplicate noms for singing the blues in "Postcards From the Edge" back in 1990, the Globes have also singularly recognized her flair for comedy with nods for "She-Devil" (1989) and "Death Becomes Her" (1992). In "Mamma Mia!" Streep shows she is a triple threat, playing a beleaguered mother, unsure of her daughter's paternity, confronted with the three possible fathers on the eve of the young girl's wedding. She gets to take a pratfall or two, kick up her heels and break our hearts when she sings of her turmoil.

And though she is sure to be a musical/comedy nominee this year, Streep could well be in contention on the drama side too as she stars in the upcoming "Doubt," the film version of the 2005 Tony Award-winning best play. In the role that won Cherry Jones her second Tony Award, Streep is unrecognizable as a nun who accuses a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of molesting a boy.

He's no lock like "Mamma Mia!" costar Meryl Streep, but leading man Pierce Brosnan might get a nomination for best actor in a musical or comedy too. Though his warbling may not always be in tune, Brosnan hit the right notes with Globe voters in 2005 when he got a musical/comedy nod for the little-seen film "The Matador." And Globe voters may well want to reward him again for once more playing with his usual suave image in "Mamma Mia!" The big issue Brosnan faces is category placement. If he goes supporting he has less chance of being nominated because competition is fierce: The supporting acting categories combine dramas and musicals/comedies. Dramas usually dominate. He's probably better off shooting for lead, because the Globes sometimes have trouble filling out those five slots for musical/comedy chaps.

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In the role of Meryl's hapless best friend, Julie Walters could follow in Judy Kaye's Broadway footsteps and get a supporting nod. This English rose won the musical/comedy lead actress Globe a quarter-century ago for her film debut, "Educating Rita," and competed in the catch-all supporting category in 2000 for "Billy Elliot" (she lost to Kate Hudson for "Almost Famous"). And as the cougar on the prowl, two-time TV Globe nominee Christine Baranski ("Cybill") could surprise with her first movie bid.

(L.A. Times)


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