The Biggest Loser: Meryl Streep

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Meryl Streep said it herself — Y’all are probably sick of me by now.

Okay. Well, she didn’t say it quite like that, but take away the southern accent and that pretty much sums up what she said after being awarded her third Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

“When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no. C’mon! Her, again?’ You know. But, whatever,” Streep said.

I couldn’t help but wince a little for the other nominees. I mean there was remarkable talent among the bunch — Michelle Williams, Viola Davis, Glenn Close, Rooney Mara.

Don’t you imagine that Glenn Close felt like the bridesmaid once more? She’s been nominated for the Oscar six times and has yet to win. Sure it’s an honor being nominated but let’s face it, sometimes a girl just wants the public accolades for working so dang hard for so darn long.

Boys feel that way, too.

Streep knew that the viewing public would  likely have been more excited if Glenn Close had taken home the Oscar. If Viola Davis had won it, the audience may have all be over the moon about it. Halle Berry is the only black woman in history to have won an Academy Award for Best Actress.

It’s easy enough to look at the number of awards Meryl Streep has earned and think, Sit down already. Give somebody else a chance.

But to focus on Streep’s three wins is to ignore completely that she’s been the nominee on fourteen other occasions.

Another way to look at it is that Meryl Streep is the biggest loser to ever win the Oscar three times.

We are so wired to notice the winners among us that we hardly pay attention to how much losing they do along the way.

What sets the winner apart isn’t the trophy they take home.

It’s their perseverance.

Their determination.

Their passion and discipline to their craft.

Today’s winners are always yesterday’s losers.

They are the people who continue to pursue their passion even when the books don’t sell and the house doesn’t sell out.

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life …So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”  Galatians 6: 4, 5 & 9 The Message.


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  • Debbie

    You are such a ‘see into’ soul…beautiful! I loved The Message too – its what my day has been about…reminding me to keep persevering too….with friends like you it has become even more believable for me…thanks.

  • Peter

    I have a job that I find demanding. I often wonder if I should try something else for a while. One of the sources of stress, I have known for some time, is my tendency to compare myself with others and come up feeling inferior (I work with some very talented and committed folks). Your piece today, punctuated by The Message translation from Galatians 6 has encouraged me to stay the course and continue to pour myself into what is clearly my primary calling in life. Thank you.

    • Peter: I am so thankful these ponderings have encouraged you. I was preaching to myself mostly… Glad you are walking beside me in this, tho.

  • Mike Morehouse

    Karen, thanks for reminding me that the reason we do what we do is that it is our response to God and glorifying Him should be reason enough to do and to keep doing.
    “Well done good and faithful servant” is worth a lot more than “And the Oscar goes to…”

    • Mike: Given your talent for and dedication to the performing arts, I know you understand what it’s like to sink yourself into the thing God has gifted you to do.

  • It’s funny…My husband and I were thinking what she said up there! We were wanting Viola Davis to win, but hey, whatever! I was thinking about that article about Mother Theresa that came out a while back. It was about the personal “dry season” that she had in her relationship with God. Imagine that. Mother Theresa has a “dry season”? The reality is that no one can be the winner all the time unless they struggle all the time for something better than themselves. Maybe her dry season is what drove her to compassion day in and day out. Most of us couldn’t do what she did in giving her whole body to such a cause, in spite of her struggles on a personal level.

  • I reckon I would’ve felt better if that last line read, “Tomorrow’s winners are yesterday’s losers and today’s wannabes-tryingtobes.”



  • Gloria

    Thank you for these words Karen. I was feeling like a loser today and then I read your post! Changed my way of thinking and the scripture was awesome!

  • Lillian Champion

    Thanks Karen for these encouraging words, especially the ‘message’ from the Bible. I am in the midst of writing my story about THE HOME and wondering if I will find an editor to publish my ‘booklet’ before I reach 90 this year. Some of the ladies here at THE HOME have such interesting stories about their past lives. Some are heartbreaking and others are funny and light hearted. You know about the one, that for more than thirty years, had no idea where her 7 children were until you helped me locate one of them. She seems to still be disinterested in them. Another woman lost her husband and both her children. She found both grown sons (at different times) dead in their bed from heart attacks. She was left all alone until her grandson came to live with her. The aftermath of that has not been good for her. It is overwhelming!
    Thanks, again for your encouraging words.