Hannah Arendt (as portrayed by Meryl Streep).(Ye Olde Tablet Photoshoppe)
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The Jewish Roles of Meryl Streep

Some modest proposals for the lady who can turn herself into anyone

Liel Leibovitz
February 23, 2012
Hannah Arendt (as portrayed by Meryl Streep).(Ye Olde Tablet Photoshoppe)

The Academy Awards are this Sunday night. Meryl Streep, the talented, mercurial grande dame of movie acting, is likely going to win her second Oscar (on her 17th nomination) for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. So let’s get ahead of the game and think of some other award-winning roles for her to play in order to sweep up next year’s statuette. Here, straight from Jewish history, are some parts Streep should seriously consider:

The Irony Lady A sweeping biopic of Hannah Arendt, who, despite writing eloquently and fiercely about fascism, had an affair with Martin Heidegger, a member of the Nazi Party between 1933 and 1945. Co-starring Bill Murray as Heidegger and Nicholas Cage as Arendt’s tortured Jewish friend, the brilliant and mercurial Walter Benjamin.

The I Ran Lady In this sure-fire crowd-pleaser, Meryl plays Tzipi Livni, the Israeli politician who won the popular vote yet proved unable to build a coalition, took a backseat to Benjamin Netanyahu, and spent the past few years watching her own party doing its best to unseat her. Gary Oldman is Netanyahu (it’ll be one of his easier accents) and James Gandolfini is Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The Iron Man Lady Meryl as Scarlett Johansson! In this nuanced performance in a highly avant-garde movie-within-a-movie directed by original movie director Jon Favreau, Streep brings out the deeper sides of the popular superhero movie franchise startlet, giving us a ScarJo coming to grips with fame, love, and being a Jewish woman. Mandy Patinkin co-stars as Robert Downey, Jr.

The Iran Lady Streep as Queen Esther, whose ancient kingdom covered all of those alleged Iranian nuclear sites that may or may not be bombed soon. Alan Rickman as Haman, Amar’e Stoudemire as King Ahasuerus, and Jennifer Aniston as ex-Queen Vashti.

The IRA Lady Isn’t it time Suze Orman had her own biopic? Obviously with Paul Giamatti as Jim Cramer?

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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