So I said to my roommate, “I’m not going to write about the Oscars. It happened, it’s over, nobody cares anymore, and everyone wrote about it this week and the weeks leading up to it.” “Makes sense,” said she. And I know it. That being said, the perfect throwback was handed to me when the illustrious and beautiful Meryl Streep accepted her award for Best Performance from an Actress in a Leading Role in The Iron Lady.
“When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going ‘oh no, oh come o-, why? Her? Again?’… but whatever.”
One of my all time heroes, a true gem of artists, and a lovely lady; ladies and gentlemen, this week I present to you Meryl Streep and her Oscar history!
Ms. Streep has been nominated for no fewer than 17 Oscars! 17! And she has only won three of them, the third being this year’s win. Seventeen! My goodness if someone had that many children they’d have a reality show! You’d think she’d been doing this since she was very little. In truth she grew up wanting to be an opera singer and got a degree in costume design from Vassar. Her graduate level work however was done at the YaleschoolofDramafor acting and she came toNew York Cityat the age of 27, late by most standards.
Her first nomination came in 1979 for her role in Deer Hunter. She was nimonated for Best Supporting Actress. Her second nomination was also for Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer in 1980 which she won! The 3rd nomination came two years later for her role in The French Lieutenant’s Woman and was her first nomination for Best Actress. The 4th Oscar nomination and second for Best Actress was Sophie’s Choice in 1983. This she also won.
Streep was nominated for an Oscar four more times in the 80s, all for Best Actress, Silkwood (‘84), Out of Africa (‘86), Ironweed (‘88), and A Cry in the Dark (‘89). She was nominated for three Oscars in the 90s, also for Best Actress, Postcards from the Edge (‘91), The Bridges of Madison County (’96), and One True Thing (’99). In 2000 she received her 12th nomination for Music of the Heart. 2003 saw her once again nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Adaptation, her first Supporting nomination in 23 years. In 2007 she was nominated for Best Actress for her role in The Devil Wears Prada and again in 2009 for her work in Doubt. In 2010 Streep was nominated for the 16th time for Julie & Julia for Best Actress. Finally this year, 2012, she managed to come away with the Oscar for Best Actress for her work as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady.
So, that’s a grand total of 17 nominations, three of them supporting roles, 14 for best actress, three wins (one supporting, two leading). And this is just her Oscar track record, this doesn’t take into account her other nominations and awards other than the Oscars. Safely said, Meryl Streep is clearly one of the greatest actresses in our culture. She plays a huge range of different kinds of characters, each one different and yet all Meryl. She has done several movies that she didn’t even get Oscar recognition for, one of them Mama Mia in which she sings and dances! Her stage presence and work ethic are both of the highest caliber giving movie and theatre goers complete confidence that it’s going to be a good experience if for no other reason than because Meryl is in it.
One of my all time favorite roles she has played is Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. Her elegant fascism and soul sucking grace is so funny and terrifying! I always get on an overly productive streak after watching that movie. Perhaps one of the most heart wrenching roles she ever played was in Sophie’s Choice, a mother’s worst nightmare, one so horrid no mother dreams it. In this role especially one can experience the very iconic Meryl in which the simplest choices are the most moving ones.
This woman is so powerful she needs only open her mouth mutely to scream and our hearts break. As an actor myself I know the amount of work and energy that goes into building a character from off a page. Anyone can memorize lines, go out there, and at the very least keep an audience entertained, but few are good enough to get paid for it, and even fewer who truly make you believe that there is a new person standing there; Meryl does this.
“Meryl” disappears and there stands Mrs. Kramer, a young emotionally insecure mother trying to find herself in the world. “Meryl” disappears and Sister Aloysius is there staring sternly over her glasses and down her nose from under her habit at you, like she can see right through you to the ballpoint pen in your pocket that you aren’t permitted to use in class. “Meryl” disappears and there is room for all kinds of people; funny, unstable, clever, playful, aloof, seductive, warm and cold with all those little tragedies and paramount oddities that make up a real person. Meryl Streep is a private person but what she shares with us through her art is exactly what she puts into every aspect of her life; her heart.
She has an off beat and intelligently naughty sense of humor with a great laugh to accompany it. She has a family to whom she is devoted and has always felt she was meant to give her all too. She has a career to die for and years ahead of her to enjoy doing it. And she has a gift for her art that, along with giving our culture some of the most exquisite acting ever to grace the American industry, has earned her SEVENTEEN Oscar nominations with three wins to boot! She’s a legand in her time, a role model for artists and civilians alike, a lovely elegant person, and a snappy dresser (Loved her dress this year!)
But hey, whatever. 😉
Logo photo by Justine Impressions http://www.justineimpressions.com/