“I didn’t know it’d happen to me."
Meryl Streep won the first of her three Oscars for her supporting role in Robert Benton’s 1979 film “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Of course, as of this episode, it’s the second nomination for her out of nineteen nominations — more nominations than any other actor. And when you watch “Kramer vs. Kramer,” it’s hard not to wonder why she won for supporting actress rather than actress. Sure, her screen time is much less than Dustin Hoffman, her co-star, but her role has an equal importance in the film (and if we’re using the Hannibal Lecter argument, she clearly should have been nominated for Best Actress). Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Meryl Streep series, looking at some early films for which she received Oscar nominations, and this week talking about Benton’s film. We chat about how this film hit us when we last saw it in college compared to how it hit us this go-around. Hint: much stronger now. We talk about the brilliant and honest performance from all of the actors, notably Streep, Hoffman, Justin Henry, Jane Alexander, Howard Duff and just a hint of JoBeth Williams. We discuss why this story works so well and what interesting topics it hits on. We chat about Benton and his career, and we touch on Néstor Almendros’ beautiful cinematography. And we talk about how the film did at a time when big blockbuster films were all the rage. It’s a film we love that also broke both of us. Watch it — everyone should see it — then tune in to this week’s show.
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