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17 Reasons Why Meryl Streep is a GREAT actress

Last updated on: February 17, 2012 12:38 IST
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17 Reasons Why Meryl Streep is a GREAT actress

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

Meryl Streep has been Oscar nominated for the 17th time for her work in The Iron Lady. Here's a look at her various nominations.

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loves Meryl Streep.

Actually, that might not be entirely true, but what we can say for sure is that it loves nominating Meryl Streep.

The most frequently nominated performer in the history of the Oscars, she's gotten her 17th nod this year, and might just take home her third golden boy.

Here, then, is a look at the 17 films that gave the incredible actress her nominations.

The Deer Hunter (1978)

In this 1978 Michael Cimino stunner set around the Vietnam War, Streep started off with a small role in the screenplay with the director suggesting she write her own lines.

Playing Christopher Walken's girlfriend Linda, so memorable did Streep make her part that she nabbed a Best Supporting Actress nomination.


Image: Meryl Streep in The Deer Hunter


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Kramer Vs Kramer (1979)

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Streep received her first Oscar for her stellar work in Robert Benton's terrific drama about the effects of divorce.

While awards for both her and Dustin Hoffman -- who played her estranged husband and won a Best Actor award, were very well-deserved indeed -- it's surprising that Streep won hers for Best Supporting Actress even though it was very definitely a leading role.


Image: Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in Kramer Vs Kramer


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The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

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Streep's first Best Actress nomination came with this unique Harold Pinter adaptation of a John Fowles novel, where she and Jeremy Irons played actors playing lovers in a period film within a film.

Enacting the romance begins affecting the actors, leading to a stormy affair.


Image: Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant's Woman


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Sophie's Choice (1982)

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Alan J Pakula's heartrending adaptation of William Styron's novel saw Streep play a Polish immigrant torn by an impossible decision she had to make years ago, in Auschwitz, when she had to choose which of her two children to send to a labour camp and which of them would be gassed to death.

Streep won her Best Actress prize to great acclaim.


Image: Peter MacNicol, Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in Sophie's Choice


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Silkwood (1983)

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In Mike Nichols' underrated Silkwood, Streep played Karen Silkwood, a woman working in a plutonium plant who starts to investigate suspicious activity in order to bring the potentially awful truth to light. When almost ready to blow the whistle, however, Karen is fatally silenced.

Streep was nominated for Best Actress, but lost to Shirley MacLaine for Terms Of Endearment.


Image: Meryl Streep in Silkwood

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Out Of Africa (1985)

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Sydney Pollack's overlong romance starred Streep as a neglected wife falling in love with a big-game hunter in Africa during and after the First World War.

She and Robert Redford were reliably solid in the lead roles, and she won yet another Best Actress nomination.


Image: Robert Redford and Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa

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Ironweed (1987)

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Directed by Hector Babenco, Ironweed starred Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep as a homeless couple and, unsurprising because of the sheer talent in the room, won Best Actor and Best Actress nominations for both of them.

The scenes with the two of them as drinking buddies remain immensely memorable.


Image: Meryl Streep in Ironweed

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Evil Angels (1988)

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Fred Schepisi's recreation of a horrific real-life story of an Australian couple convicted of killing their child feels documentarian in its attention to detail and is made special by Streep's riveting, compelling performance as a mother suffering from the ultimate loss and misunderstood by the world.



Image: Meryl Streep in Evil Angels

Related News: Streep , Schepisi

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Postcards From The Edge (1990)

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In this Mike Nichols dramedy, Streep played an actress and recovering drug addict forced to live with her mother, played by Shirley MacLaine, herself a leading light of 1960s musicals.

Not just does Streep dazzle in the conflicted role as she bags her now-customary Best Actress nomination, she also sings I'm Checking Out, written by Shel Silverstein -- nominated for the Best Original song Oscar.


Image: Meryl Streep and Dennis Quaid in Postcards From The Edge


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The Bridges Of Madison County (1995)

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Clint Eastwood's achingly romantic adaptation of Robert James Waller's novel starred the veteran actor as a photographer who had a fleeting but intense four-day affair with a married woman, played by Streep.

Told in flashback, the potentially maudlin film rings true and justly romantic.

Streep deservedly won another Best Actress Nomination, losing out this time to Susan Sarandon for Dead Man Walking.


Image: Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep in The Bridges Of Madison County


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One True Thing (1998)

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In this Carl Franklin drama, Streep plays a mother suffering from cancer, a revelation that overhauls the family dynamic. Even as she passes away, her husband and daughter (William Hurt and Renee Zellweger) are brought closer by their shared memories and fondness of her.

Nominated again for Best Actress, Streep lost to Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare In Love.


Image: Meryl Streep and Ren e Zellweger in One True Thing


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Music Of The Heart (1999)

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Directed completely unexpectedly by slasher-movie overlord Wes Craven, this film about a real-life music school in Harlem features Streep and Angela Bassett alongside Gloria Estefan.

Streep picked up a Best Actress nod one more time, but this time lost to Hilary Swank for her work in Boys Don't Cry.


Image: Meryl Streep in Music Of The Heart


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Adaptation (2002)

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In Spike Jonze's film written by Charlie Kaufman (and his fictional twin-brother Donald), Streep plays the writer Susan Orlean, writer of The Orchid Thief.

It's all rather brilliantly confusing and while Chris Cooper won a Best Supporting Actor award, Streep lost hers to Catherine Zeta Jones for Chicago.


Image: Meryl Streep in Adaptation


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The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

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David Frankel's 2006 film might have seen Anne Hathaway in the lead role, but Streep played the sartorially satanic being from the title, and thus earned herself yet another Best Actress nomination, albeit contentiously so.

Streep had much fun with the role and it was most entertaining, but was it really Oscar material? The voters didn't think so, and Helen Mirren won for The Queen.


Image: Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada


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Doubt (2008)

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John Patrick Shanley's adaptation of his own Pulitzer-winning play was exceptionally well-acted, with Streep surrounded by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis.

Streep, playing the most rigid of nuns, was immaculately stoic in the lead, but the film didn't win any of the four acting Oscars it was nominated for.


Image: Meryl Streep in Doubt


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Julie & Julia (2009)

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The Academy loves actors and actresses mimicking already iconic celebrities, and it clearly loves nominating Streep. She was up for another Best Actress prize for this incredibly chameleonic portrayal of Julia Child.

In a patently silly decision, the award instead went to Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side.


Image: Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia


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The Iron Lady (2011)

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We haven't watched Phyllida Lloyd's new film yet, but Streep is earning impassioned raves for her performance as Margaret Thatcher.

Reviews say Streep has been able to capture both the superhuman impassion as well as the vulnerabilities of a truly remarkable woman.


Image: Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady


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