I’m sitting in this cafe, and there’s a group next to me talking about who will win the Oscar for Best Actress. It’s either Helen Mirren for “The Queen” or Meryl Streep DRA ’75 for “The Devil Wears Prada.” I’m eavesdropping and one of the boys says, “If Meryl Streep wins, the Oscars will officially lose all credibility.”
“Officially lose all credibility?!” I’m so annoyed by this that I think about smothering the boy with my unpublished “Harry Potter” manuscript, Ally McBeal style. Meryl Streep should totally win the Oscar for Best Actress.
In case you haven’t seen it, let me share two of the hottest Miranda Moments from “Prada.” The first is clearly her entrance. After receiving a text from Miranda’s driver announcing that she is early, the entire staff of Runway magazine freaks out. Girls nervously jump out of their clogs and slap on their pointy power pumps. Meanwhile, Miranda steps out of her Mercedes. She struts toward the building, people run away from her in the lobby of the Elias-Clark building, and a girl leaves the elevator Miranda gets in, saying, “Sorry, Miranda.”
The second is when Miranda meets with stylists to put together a possible cover and can’t decide which of two seemingly similar blue belts is best for the look. Andy giggles because she is still learning about “this stuff.” Miranda gets angry at her demeaning use of “this stuff,” and trashes her ugly, poly-blend sweater that she no doubt fished out of a clearance bin, telling her that all of her fashion choices are already pre-decided for her by the people in that room, from a pile of “stuff.”
Let this be a lesson to all you clearance bin dressers out there.
Meryl delivered a solid and emotional performance in “Prada.” Sure, Helen Mirren makes a powerful punch in “The Queen.” But Mirren has already won more than 20 awards for this character. It’s a good role. I get it. Maybe it’s because I love F&F, but what really makes me mad is that folks argue that Meryl shouldn’t win because her role in “Prada” is a comedic and not a “serious” dramatic role.
I’m certainly no actor, and I don’t know how much the Oscars actually matter, but I think any loss of credibility would come from privileging drama over comedy. The Oscars shouldn’t be biased, and the award for Best Actress should not go to the woman who delivered the most dramatic performance, but to the Best Actress.
The first time I saw “Prada,” I was, like, floored. I like it because it has all of my favorite elements: fashion, sarcasm, good music and NYC. After I saw it I said to myself, “Imagine a world where it’s OK to pillage great clothes from a secret, high-fashion closet!”
So I swore — and still swear — on Dior that Meryl would get an Oscar for her role as Miranda Priestly.
MP totally rocks my world. Who else can get away with slamming scandalous fur coats on her assistant’s desk every morning, ending a designer’s career with a single perch of the lips, or with saying things to her assistant like, “By all means. Mooove at a glacial pace; you know how that thrills me.”
Meryl should win for “Prada” is because she acted the hell out of that role. When MP first came onto the screen, I couldn’t believe it was actually Meryl. She looked great! Not once did she over-act, as you might expect from a role about a boss from hell. And her performance was spot on — no other actress could have played that character so convincingly.
And let me say, never has being bitchy looked so easy or so much fun!
If people skip over “Prada” as a “serious” movie, it is probably because it is seemingly about “a pile of stuff” called the fashion industry. And of course, a movie about glitz, glamour, Chanel boots and sharp bangs can’t be for real. But it’s totally close-minded to discredit fashion as an uninteresting or unimportant subject of inquiry. Fashion is one of our best ways of understanding material culture and the everyday. We all get dressed in the morning.
“The Devil Wears Prada” might not be a boo-hoo drama, but it certainly isn’t just about fashion. It’s about New York. It’s about day-to-day relations with a boss from hell. It’s about discovery. Prada is a success story with which we can all identify. Its message is: You’ve got to play the game in this world if you want to make it.
Madison Moore still has PTSD after a brief exposure to Wal-Mart clothing.