HBO recently dropped a teaser trailer for the network's upcoming television movie, Game Change, based on the bestselling book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin that goes behind the scenes of the 2008 presidential election.
Ed Harris plays a pretty convincing John McCain, and Woody Harrelson a decent Steve Schmidt.
But Julianne Moore — the same one who blew away audiences in The Hours, The Kids Are All Right, Far from Heaven and countless others — makes a perfect Sarah Palin.
As the New York Post put it, "Moore is virtually indistinguishable from the former governor of Alaska. In fact, Moore makes Tina Fey's impersonation of Palin seem like child's play."
It's true. The hair, the gestures, the acrylic nails, the rimless glasses: All spot-on. But even the accent is uncannily correct, as is the cadence, and even the way her mouth moves when she speaks. The movie is set to be broadcast in March 2012, but you can watch the trailer here.
Moore isn't the only talented female actress depicting a strong female politician: Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, a biopic opening in theaters mid-January.
The film is to be a surprising portrait of the first female Prime Minister of England, and film critic David Edelstein called Streep's performance "riveting":
It's really interesting because there's mimicry and then there's a kind of mimicry that, by perfectly replicating the voice and the rhythm of the speech, a really great actor can almost get into the mind of the character. . . It's almost that [Streep] is a medium for [her characters] rather than she's doing an imitation."
Streep is already being talked about as a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination and a favorite to take home her third Oscar in ceremonies on Feb. 26. If that happens, she will be following in the footsteps of a slew of other actors who won Oscars for portraying public figures. Over the last decade, five Best Actor Oscar wins and six Best Actress Oscar wins have gone to thespians playing real people.
Among the women, Sandra Bullock portrayed Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side (2009), Marion Cotillard was Edith Piaf in Piaf (2007), Helen Mirren portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006), Reese Witherspoon channeled country singer June Carter Cash in Walk the Line (2005), Charlize Theron was serial killer Aileen Wuornosin in Monster (2003) and Nicole Kidman was Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002). (And who can forget Julia Roberts as Erin Brocovitch (2000)?)
Among the men, Colin Firth as King George VI in The King's Speech (2010), Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Milk (2008), Forest Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (2006), Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in Capote (2005) and Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (2004) all won Oscars.