Nominee Q&A

Oscars: Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman Profess Their Love of Meryl Streep

Paramount Pictures/Photofest
Meryl Streep in 'Florence Foster Jenkins'

"The woman can do anything," says Kidman of her fellow nominee as Viggo Mortensen reveals that "she's one of the reasons I got into the business."

Although she garnered a record 20th Oscar acting nomination for playing an eccentric socialite dubbed "the world's worst opera singer" in Florence Foster Jenkins, the 67-year-old actress proved her voice was as clear and forceful as ever at the Golden Globes. Her impassioned acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award excoriated then President-elect Donald Trump and eloquently championed diversity and the arts. THR asked a few of her peers to describe their favorite Meryl Streep performance.

NICOLE KIDMAN: "“I love her. Come on! You’ve gotta be kidding. Sophie’s Choice that’s probably for me…exquisite. That’s a flawless performance. Did she win for that? Look, see? I don’t even know. I feel like she should win all the time. With Sophie’s Choice… she can do anything. The woman can do anything.”

DENZEL WASHINGTON: "First thing that came to my mind was Out of Africa. Kramer vs. Kramer as well. I loved Sophie's Choice. Let me tell you: I sat next to her in the read-through on Manchurian Candidate, and I'm going, 'Man, she's killing it. She's brilliant just sitting around a table and reading!' "

OCTAVIA SPENCER: "I’m torn between A Cry in the Dark because I know it was based on true events and Sophie’s Choice but I've got to say, Florence Foster Jenkins ranks up there because it is so heartbreaking and funny at the same time because the character is so delusional. It is literally the funniest, most heartbreaking performance.”

VIGGO MORTENSEN: “There are so many and it's such a high level of excellence. She is so good that when a movie like this one that she's nominated for comes out, people go, 'Well, that's just cause she's Meryl Streep and yeah, she's good but, I mean, is it her best work?' It's like, wait a minute. Look at that performance by itself because it's amazing. It's funny, it's heartbreaking, it's fragile. It's a woman who is dying but your heart goes out to her cause she's in a bubble and she doesn't know. One of the moments that's really beautiful in that movie is that wide shot of her when she reads that newspaper and finds out what people really think about her in this review that Hugh Grant's character is trying to keep her from reading. She reads it and stops in the middle of the street and cars are going by and it's just in her body language. It's incredible acting — and all the way through. I have to say, she's one of the reasons I got into the business. I remember seeing Meryl Streep in The Deer Hunter and then Sophie's Choice and it's just like, wow. There was something about her. I was like, 'What is it the trick? How do they do it?' That's what got me curious. She really inspired me from the start.”

MICHAEL SHANNON: “There’s so many, that’s pretty tough. She’s always doing her thing. I liked her in Into the Woods. I was impressed with her [singing].”

A version of this story first appeared in a February standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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