If you’re betting on this year’s Tonys, Broadway’s annual cavalcade of champions, keep it right here on the New Yorker Web site. Besides knowing the course—I won one in 2002—I also fancy I know the field. Last year, my first as a Tony tout, I rang up a ninety-per-cent win rate. So bet against me at your peril.
But the real reason I’m in the tank for Streep is simple: I want to see her acceptance speech. The Meryl Streep acceptance speech is an art unto itself: elegant, loopy, cunningly self-aware, and impeccably delivered—in short, everything you expect from a Meryl Streep performance, condensed to three minutes. Where else can you see fake humility, fake gratitude, and fake spontaneity delivered with such aplomb? Take her 2004 Emmy win, for “Angels in America”:
From her trademark breathy sigh (translation: “Gee, they just keep giving me these things”) and her droll opening line—”There are some days when I myself think I’m overrated … but not today”—this speech is a gem: funny, faux-scatterbrained, and self-consciously grand. When the orchestra tries to play her off, not only does she sing along to the music, she uses it as inspirational underscoring as she thanks Tony Kushner.
- Michael Schulman on the history of Meryl Streep acceptance speeches, and why she should win the Oscar for “Iron Lady”: http://nyr.kr/xEteYM