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For Your Consideration: A History of Meryl Streep at the Oscars

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire November 14, 2011 at 1:18PM

With the full trailer for "The Iron Lady" finally out, the campaign for Meryl Streep's whopping 17th Oscar nomination is officially in full swing. The fact that no one has actually seen the whole film yet is clearly a point of contention, the trailer seems to suggest Streep has impressively nailed her Margaret Thatcher impression.
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The Weinstein Company Nabs U.S. Rights to Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher Vehicle, "The Iron Lady"
Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in Phillida Lloyd's "The Iron Lady." TWC.

With the full trailer for "The Iron Lady" finally out, the campaign for Meryl Streep's whopping 17th Oscar nomination is officially in full swing. The fact that no one has actually seen the whole film yet is clearly a point of contention, the trailer seems to suggest Streep has impressively nailed her Margaret Thatcher impression.

At this point, betting against Streep breaking her own Oscar nom record come January is not in anyone's best interest. As for a third win, she faces some tough competition from Michelle Williams and Viola Davis, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Though until we get a full look at the film, it seemed like a fun exercise to take a trip down Meryl memory lane. Presenting a history of Meryl Streep at the Oscars, 34 years in the making:

Meryl Streep and the Oscars, 1977-1990

  • Universal Pictures
    1 of 10

    The Deer Hunter

    For only her second screen role (after 1977's "Julia"), Streep earned her first Academy Award nomination for her work in Michael Cimino's Vietnam War drama "The Deer Hunter." Streep has said that she took the role primarily to be close to her fiance John Cazale, who also starred in the film and had been diagnosed with bone cancer just before shooting began. He died before the film was complete (though he finished his scenes), and in what was clearly a bittersweet afterthought, Streep ended up being nominated in the supporting actress category. She'd lose to Maggie Smith ( watch Brooke Shields and George Burns announce her loss here), but it kicked off Meryl's road to becoming the most nominated actress in Oscar history.
  • Columbia Pictures
    2 of 10

    Kramer Vs. Kramer

    A year after her "Deer Hunter" nomination, Streep would win her first Oscar (not to mention a Golden Globe, LA Film Critics Award, National Board of Review Award, National Society of Film Critics Award and a New York Film Critics Award) for Robert Benton's divorce drama "Kramer vs. Kramer." This would also mark the second consecutive year Streep starred in the winner of best picture. You can watch her typically classy speech here.
  • United Artists
    3 of 10

    The French Lieutenant's Woman

    Streep's streak continued with a third nomination for Karel Reisz's Harold Pinter adaptation "The French Lieutenant's Woman," this time in the best actress category (where all but one of her remaining nominations would come from). Streep would lose to Katherine Hepburn at the Oscars (though she won at both the BAFTAs and Golden Globes). Hepburn remains the all-time Oscar win champ with 4 statuettes... A record a win for "The Iron Lady" would bring Streep one step closer to tying.
  • Universal
    4 of 10

    Sophie's Choice

    As Polish Holocaust survivor Sophie - who tragically had to choose between her two children at Auschwitz - Streep won essentially every award out there, including her first and only Oscar for best actress. Watch Sylvester Stallone present her with trophy here, which memorably includes Meryl dropping her speech on the way to the stage.
  • 5 of 10

    Silkwood

    Streep nabbed her fifth nomination in just six years for "Silkwood" - her first of four collaborations with Mike Nichols. Streep played opposite Cher and Kurt Russell in the film, which depicted the true-life story of Karen Silkwood, a woman who died in a suspicious car accident while investigating alleged wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant where she worked. Streep lost the Oscar to Shirley MacLaine, who oddly enough would play her mother in another Mike Nichols film that earned Streep a nomination, "Postcards From The Edge."
  • Universal
    6 of 10

    Out of Africa

    Surprisingly the last time Streep has starred in a best picture Oscar winner, Sydney Pollack's "Out of Africa" earned Streep her sixth nomination. In the film, Streep played yet another real-life person in Karen Blixen (roughly half her nominations would end up coming from such roles), who wrote a memoir about her experiences living in Africa in the early 20th century.
  • TriStar
    7 of 10

    Ironweed

    Opposite Jack Nicholson, Streep played half of a homeless, alcoholic couple during the Great Depression in Héctor Babenco's "Ironweed." It earned her a seventh nomination, and a fifth loss -- this time to her "Silkwood" co-star Cher. Streep would jump to a standing ovation when Cher's named was called, and Cher would end off her speech by thanking Streep.
  • Warner Brothers
    8 of 10

    A Cry In The Dark

    A role that acted as a greatest-hits of Streep's Oscar bait (accent, dead child, real-life person torn from headlines), her performance as an Australian woman accused of killing her child in "A Cry in the Dark" brought Meryl her first ever best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival. She'd get an Oscar nomination as well, but lost to Jodie Foster's work in "The Accused."
  • Columbia Pictures
    9 of 10

    Postcards From The Edge

    For her portrayal of a character loosely based on Carrie Fisher, Streep got her second nomination care of a Mike Nichols film with "Postcards From The Edge." As Suzanne Vale, Streep played a recovering drug addict trying to pick up the pieces of her career. It memorably included Streep singing the Oscar-nominated song "I'm Checking Out".
  • 10 of 10

    Dawn Premiere Event

    Indiewire invitation to LA premiere of short film 'Dawn'

Meryl Streep and the Oscars, 1990-2011

  • Warner Brothers
    1 of 7

    The Bridges of Madison County

    After a five-year absence from Oscar nominations (the longest she's ever gone), Streep nabbed nomination #10 for Clint Eastwood's "The Bridges of Madison County." Based on the best selling book, the film saw Streep portray an Italian war bride who had a four-day affair with a photographer played by Eastwood.
  • Universal
    2 of 7

    One True Thing

    This adaptation of Anna Quindlen's best-selling novel saw Streep portray a cancer patient opposite fictional husband William Hurt and daughter Renee Zellweger. It was enough for another best actress nod, but was the second consecutive film in which Meryl received the film's sole nomination.
  • Miramax Films
    3 of 7

    Music of the Heart

    Perhaps the most notable things about Streep's 12th nomination was (a) the role was intended for Madonna; (b) the film was directed by Wes Craven; and (c) it tied Katharine Hepburn's record for the most nominations. In "Music of the Heart" -- Craven's only feature film foray outside of the horror/thriller genre -- Streep portrayed real life violinist Roberta Guaspari.
  • Columbia Pictures
    4 of 7

    Adaptation

    In the early 2000s, Streep began a streak of nominations in which she seemed to almost win, and talk of her being due for Oscar #3 started heating up. The first came care of Spike Jonze's "Adaptation," which earned her first supporting actress nomination in over two decades (and she broke Hepburn's record in the process). As a semi-fictional version of author Susan Orlean, Streep would win a Golden Globe and begin an endless parade of killer acceptance speeches, but lost the Oscar to Catherine Zeta-Jones.
  • 20th Century Fox
    5 of 7

    The Devil Wears Prada

    For "The Devil Wears Prada," arguably her first genuine box office blockbuster, Streep won her second consecutive Golden Globe and her 12th consecutive Oscar loss. In the film, Streep played villainous fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (based on Vogue editor Anna Wintour). It grossed $326,551,094 worldwide, only to be eclipsed two years later by the staggering $609,841,637 earned by "Mamma Mia!" (though she wouldn't get an Oscar nomination).
  • Miramax
    6 of 7

    Doubt

    Meryl seemed all set for her third win with her role as a nun in John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt." But then Kate Winslet surprised everyone by being nominated in the best actress category for "The Reader" (despite a campaign in supporting). And the rest is history, with Kate winning Oscar #1 and Streep losing Oscar #13.
  • Columbia
    7 of 7

    Julie & Julia

    Meryl's most recent Oscar loss came care of Nora Ephron's "Julie & Julia," in which she portrayed chef Julia Child. She had been seen as a favorite to win for much of the leadup to Oscar night, but then "The Blind Side" became an unexpected sensation. The battle for the win was an affectionate one, with Streep and Bullock kissing onstage when they tied for best actress at the Critics Choice Awards (sorry, that video is nowhere to be found).

This article is related to: Meryl Streep, Academy Awards, The Iron Lady






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