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If you're already looking to solidify the 2011 Oscar contest lineup-- and even I, the writer of Cinema Blend's Oscar column, am not that insane-- you don't need to look much further than The Iron Lady, the Margaret Thatcher biopic that will star guaranteed Oscar catnip Meryl Streep. Sure, it's directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who directed Meryl Streep to general mockery in Mamma Mia!, but it's subject matter you can't really go wrong with so far as the Oscars are concerned, especially with Jim Broadbent also on board to play her husband.
Now a few more reputable names have joined up to round out the cast, as reported by The Daily Mail. The list includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Head (as the long-serving Cabinet minister Geoffrey Howe) and Roger Allam, last seen in Stephen Frears's Tamara Drewe. The article also describes the preparation Streep has been doing for the film, which is currently in rehearsals and starts shooting in February; she's been meeting with people who knew Thatcher, including some notable politicians, and visiting London frequently to do research. Here's how the planned performance is described by an anonymous source:
‘It’s going to be a portrait, not an impersonation, although Meryl has worked tirelessly on the prime minister’s speech pattern and delivery."
There's still something that seems a little on-the-nose to me about Streep playing Thatcher, as if they were playing "Notable Historical Figure" bingo for the next Oscar-baity Streep role. But then, she's established herself to the point that there's no chance we won't want to see whatever she does, so there's almost no point in complaining. The Iron Lady could easily show up in theaters later this year depending on how fast they wrap it up, but whenever it happens, you may as well save Streep a front-row seat at the Oscars.