The Iron Lady, the Meryl Streep-starring biopic of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is pure Oscar bait. The Weinstein Company knows Oscar bait better than any other studio, and just proved it again recently by snagging a Best Picture nomination for The King's Speech. There's probably some law of physics that explains how these two must be irreversibly drawn to each other, but even if there's not, it's happened anyway. Deadline reports that The Weinstein Company has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the film after an all-night auction at Cannes; all it took was five minutes of footage to start a bidding war, which also had Fox Searchlight, Summit and Relativity Media in the hunt.

I'd put any amount of money on that 5 minutes including a lot of Streep's performance, since it's her imitation of Thatcher that's going to sell this movie-- yet another perfect Meryl imitation! Really, the movie doesn't even have to be that good to garner Oscar buzz-- Streep came pretty damn close to winning a Best Actress statue for her performance as Julia Child in the merely OK Julie & Julia, and will be at least part of the Oscar conversation for The Iron Lady no matter how good the movie is. The Weinstein Company surely knows this and knows they can sell it based on Streep alone, though the fact that they can advertise it coming from Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd probably helps too.

The Iron Lady was pretty much guaranteed for an Oscar season release from the moment it was announced, but now that the Weinsteins have it you can count on it being a behemoth. Secure the spot for Meryl on your early Oscar predictions and cross your fingers that, unlike Mamma Mia!, the movie is any good at all.

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