Revered U.S. thespian Cherry Jones has given Meryl Streep a huge Oscar boost - by heaping praise on the movie great for playing a film role she won a Tony Award for.
Jones was stunned when respected Daily Variety film critic Todd MCCarthy questioned Streep's performance in Doubt, and now she's championing the Out Of Africa star for a Best Actress Oscar.
MCCarthy stated that Streep "takes the vocal low road here as opposed to the more forceful approach of Cherry Jones in her riveting Broadway turn" in his recent review of Doubt, in which the Oscar winner plays Sister Aloysius.
But Jones, who played the role to critical acclaim on Broadway, insists the film critic has got it wrong.
She tells GoldDerby.com she was particularly impressed by one scene, where Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) confronts the nun after she accuses him of molesting a schoolboy.
Jones says, "On stage, I stood my ground. I held my resolve and I fought Father Flynn right back. I didn't let him break her. This is the play's big confrontation scene and we played it for maximum dramatic conflict.
"I was fascinated to see that's not what Meryl Streep does. She lets Sister Aloysius crack. She decides to break with the moment. Suddenly, she caves, she's vulnerable. You think these two might actually come together, that all will be understood and forgiven, but, no. They go right back to fighting. On stage we decided to drive the scene right through.
"There is no question that this nun is intense and doing her duty to protect people she loves."
And Jones isn't the only actress impressed by Streep - Anne Hathaway, who is also receiving Oscar buzz for her role in Rachel Getting Married, fears she has already lost any chance she might have of taking home an Oscar, because her The Devil Wears Prada co-star is in the race.
She says, "Whenever Meryl Streep has a movie like Doubt, she is the sole front-runner. I haven't even seen it (film) and I know I'm not going to beat that."