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In Tribute: Meryl Streep – Favorite Performance?

Meryl Streep 6In honor of International Women’s Day I would like to pay tribute to the one of the best ever.  It is nearly impossible, by now, to say anything more about Meryl Streep that hasn’t been said. Considering she’s probably the best actress who ever worked in Hollywood it’s a wonder she’s only won three Oscars.

Two of them for lead. She could have tied Katharine Hepburn, who has four, but it never worked out that way. Part of it is that Streep is always the best thing about the movies she chooses. Rarely is a movie she starred in a Best Picture contender for the win (Kramer vs. Kramer and The Deer Hunter the two exceptions). Maybe that’s because when Meryl Streep is in your movie, she IS the movie.

On a more personal note, I can’t really talk about Meryl Streep without talking about growing up with her. Sophie’s Choice came out in 1982, a year before I graduated high school and back then actresses were more substantial than they are today. A performance like that, for Streep to finally win in lead, it caused an impact that really still resonates today; how could Streep, or any actress, ever top it? As a young theater student out of high school, there was one role model and only one. Streep broke many of the rules at the outset, much like Dustin Hoffman did — unconventional looks, odd features but spilling over with versatility and talent.

Most people remember the first time they ever saw Streep act. I think for me it was in Kramer vs. Kramer and it was immediately apparent that this actress was doing something no other could do – with her face, with her mannerisms, with her reluctant tears. It was such a complex performance, Streep’s Joanna. True, the sympathy was with Dustin Hoffman and the kid, but if you go back and really study this film, and specifically Streep’s take, you will see a woman truly destructing from the inside. That role and others like it were symbolic of what would eventually do in the feminist movement: selfish mothers abandoning their children and thus, ruining society. When Streep says she went to “find herself,” it could have been just a cold statement but when she says it in the movie you see exactly what she means.

She would win her first Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer, deservedly. One thing the Oscars have always been about, and continue to be about, are the actors. The film must be an acting showcase, actor-driven. The difference between the films that won Best Picture in the 1970s and films that won from then on was that the films in the 1970s were more director driven. The actors were great too but the films were notable for who was behind the camera. Not so with a film like Kramer vs. Kramer — it was all about the acting.

Streep is an actress built from the ground up. They rarely build them that way anymore because there isn’t a need to invest in them for the long haul. Sure, actors continue to study their craft, to go to Yale Drama and study theater, to do Shakespeare in the Park and study The Method and all of that. But by the time they’re done they’re in their 20s and isn’t that almost too old by now? No, the new breed has to start young and mostly skip the training. Natural talent, popularity, box office matters more. Streep is one of the few, maybe the only one, who has mastered all of the above.

She famously started at Yale (after transforming herself into a blonde cheerleader, what she calls her first successful role), then performed Shakespeare. Her first movie roles were small parts in Julia and Manhattan. But even as a young supporting player there was never anything sloppy or accidental about Streep’s work. She was exacting and deliberate, every gesture, every character choice. She is one of the few who know that when you cry on screen you don’t really cry; you try not to cry. What Streep has always done is use her breath, language and expressions to act in conflicting ways so you find yourself studying her face to figure out what she’s really saying. But there is never nothing going on.

Streep would win her first Oscar around the age of 30. Here are the records of actresses who’ve won two Oscars before the age of 30:

Stars to Win Two Best Actress Oscars Before the Age of 30:

  • Luise Rainer (at age 28) for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937) – back-to-back wins, the first to accomplish this feat
  • Bette Davis (at age 29) for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938)
  • Jodie Foster (at age 29) for The Accused (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • Hilary Swank (at age 29) for Boys Don’t Cry (1999) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)

I think it’s very telling of our time that Jennifer Lawrence holds the records for the youngest double for Lead Actress nominations. It’s not a sleight against Lawrence as much as it is a comment on the lack of great roles for women in general. Streep came from a different time and even she will tell you that things have gotten steadily worse since the 1980s.

Why I think Streep has carved out her own career path that seems teflon to the usual problems actresses have, like aging out or not being able to draw in adequate box office or get great reviews — whatever forces appear to work against women — is a combination of factors. 1) Streep’s face is timeless and ageless. She did The River Wild at 45 and you can barely tell at all. She’s got those cheekbones and that jawline – age has barely touched her.

But beyond that, she is an extremely intelligent, curious person. She has never done, nor needed, plastic surgery and she’s smart enough to know the value in keeping roles open for older actresses because even though Hollywood wants us to be done with them, we women know the value of women at every age in our culture. Streep has found brilliance in the women she plays turning each of them into a cinematic legend. Bridges of Madison County could have been a throw-away sex romp but Streep turned that whole movie around from the potential to be a male sex fantasy to it really being a woman’s sex fantasy. She shows us the internal transformation that impacts the external. We see her burn with passion and craving nothing so much as a man to look her in the eye and have a conversation with her.

The Devil Wears Prada is one of Streep’s best — an icon. So maybe in that case the material was great but how about One True Thing? Streep’s mother character turns miraculously into the most interesting person you’ve ever “met.” Ditto with last year’s Hope Springs. Streep doesn’t approach these roles as throwaways — she isn’t hiding her middle age, nor trying to play younger. She finds the worth, the authenticity in these women and in so doing has mostly and singularly kept alive the evolution of women on the big screen.

So here’s to you, Ms. Streep, for the decades of brilliance, the political activism, the silliness and every other grand and tiny thing that makes you such a bright star in a crowded, mostly inconsequential sky.

What is your favorite Streep performance? This might be mine:

Or this:

I can’t choose. Don’t make me choose!

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105 Comments

  1. March 8, 2013

    One of the best performance of Meryl Streep is in The Hours to me.

  2. Christophe
    March 8, 2013

    wow, you scared me! when i read “in tribute: meryl streep”, for a quick while I thought she’d passed away… hopefully, she’ll live as long as katharine hepburn.

  3. March 8, 2013

    LOVE the article Sasha! Fantastic read. Out of Africa also won BP, so she had 3 films in BP contention. I would say The Hours is my favorite performance, but I think Sophie’s Choice is the best ever, male or female. Adaptation, Death Becomes Her, Julie & Julia, and Out of Africa would round out the top 5.

  4. Luke
    March 8, 2013

    Can’t read this without remembering how much you campaigned against her recently.

  5. keifer
    March 8, 2013

    While she is best known and rewarded for her dramatic work, I think she’s a terrific comedienne.

    I’m in the minority here, but her performance in “She-Devil” is the funniest and my favorite performance of Streep’s career.

    Watch this movie sometime and pay special attention to her timing, delivery and nuanced facial expressions in particular scenes. PERFECTION!

  6. Jade Fox
    March 8, 2013

    When I first saw this article I thought: OH MY GOD IS SHE DEAD!?!?! I just usually see tribute articles to someone who just passed away.

    I can breathe now. I actually like her in “Death Becomes Her.” She doesn’t get enough credit for her comedic timing IMO.

  7. Valerie
    March 8, 2013

    I almost started tearing up as I read through and watched the clips. Like you, I feel like I’ve grown up alongside Streep, even if I am younger. She, while technically a better actress, and Hepburn to me share a lot of the same qualities, intelligence, wit, charm, unclassic beauty, curiosity, and timelessness that just shines though on screen.

    Its probably hard for younger fans to get that once upon a time she was labeled as the ” actress who can only do accents” or “box office poison” over her career.its wonderful how Prada exposed her to an entire new generation of filmgoers and finally led her to be able to , by box office standards, carry a film.

    While I adore all her performances, I think I prefer her more natural characterizations. Kramer vs Kramer, Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge, and Hope Spings being my top 4.

  8. Sasha Stone
    March 8, 2013

    Can’t read this without remembering how much you campaigned against her recently.

    Of course you would bring that up – I was going to address that in the piece JUST to avoid lame comments like this one. Never once did I say that I didn’t love and appreciate Streep, who is among my favorite – maybe my favorite – of all time. I tried to say that last year but people like you only see things in black and white. Of course. Just like now you’ll all say I hated Argo. Viola Davis deserved to win last year. Streep for nearly every performance she’s ever given. I did not think Iron Lady was anywhere near her best. It would be a joke of a win if it wasn’t such a joke that she’d not been rewarded so long before that.

    But as I said at the time I don’t begrudge her her win because she asked for it. All the lady had to do was ask and the Oscar was hers. My problem with Iron Lady was how contrived of a win it was and how hard she had to campaign for it. But it was more about Viola Davis and less about Streep. Davis had the one shot. No one seemed to understand how near-impossible it is for a black woman to get that close to winning — the LEAD ACTRESS OSCAR — Davis is now back to playing the typical supporting parts she’s always played and she will NEVER get close to Oscar again. Do I need to even start explaining why Streep has another shot at Oscar this year and Davis doesn’t? Do we need to have that conversation? No, didn’t think so. This was about honoring Streep. I’m sorry you can’t see it for what it is and have to play these petty games.

    If I had that year to live over I would do exactly the same thing and every time I watch The Help I think – Viola Davis deserved to win.

  9. March 8, 2013

    Can’t read this without remembering how much you campaigned against her recently.

    The way I remember it, Sasha wasn’t too wild about the Thatcher movie or the performances in it. I’m confident Sasha is able to separate a prosthetic Margaret Thatcher mask from Meryl Streep herself.

    Another way I remember it is that Sasha was advocating for Viola Davis. Does that seem to you that Sasha was campaigning AGAINST every other actress who wasn’t Viola Davis? Interesting interpretation.

    If you think you can find a bunch of examples of Sasha talking shit about Meryl Streep that year, good luck on your fruitless quest.

  10. Sasha Stone
    March 8, 2013

    wow, you scared me! when i read “in tribute: meryl streep”, for a quick while I thought she’d passed away… hopefully, she’ll live as long as katharine hepburn.

    A terrifying thought. No, I believe Streep has many more years ahead of her.

  11. JamesinToronto
    March 8, 2013

    I entered your poll and chose The Devil Wears Prada and then instantly regretted my choice. Not because it wasn’t her best performance but because I can’t think how you even begin to choose which is the best performance. Postcards From The Edge, Kramer vs. Kramer, Julie & Julia, The Deer Hunter, Silkwood, etc are all brilliant performances and I’d be hard pressed to say which one was best. But I have to say, what I love about Meryl is when you see her at awards shows and you realize that she is just basically a goof at heart, someone who does her job well but doesn’t take herself that seriously. That’s when I realize what a gift she has given to moviegoers everywhere.

  12. Eric P.
    March 8, 2013

    Top 5 Streep

    -”One True Thing”
    -”Adaptation”
    -”The Hours”
    -”Kramer vs. Kramer”
    -”Postcards from the Edge”

    Honorable mentions: “She-Devil” “Death Becomes Her” “The Devil Wear Prada” “Prime”

  13. Robert A.
    March 8, 2013

    I think you forgot The Deer Hunter on the list?

  14. smoothcriminal
    March 8, 2013

    a tie between The Hours and Adaptation. For some reason of all her roles those two stick with me the most, I don’t know why but those two roles really hit me. I love how she can turn these characters into memorable, 3-dimensional roles without making them flashy or showy. I mean she was up against the Baitiest of Oscar-Baity performances from Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore and Ed Harris, and Nicolas Cage etc, and yet her performances in those movies are what I remember most.

    Also, I thought her recent work in Hope Springs was so fricken joyful.

  15. The J Viewer
    March 8, 2013

    I didn’t click VOTE. Because there are some of her classics I haven’t seen. However, if I need to choose only one […] from my mind out of the blue, Bridges […] is the one!

    She’s great. Even in The River Wild xD That being said, +++for the time being her PR*DA performance, surprisingly, is standing at no. 2, next to *below* Sophie’s Choice only; well, I am just wondering if it is because of the respective readers’ (voters) demographic (age: younger) bracket …. [I mean, even though I haven’t seen all of her films, I believe I have been through enough, speaking for myself, to believe that many “*other*” roles as portrayed by her are far better(?) still….]

    Thanks for the ups, Sasha.

  16. Christopher Lewis
    March 8, 2013

    Sasha, what a lovely piece! Streep is my favorite actress of all time and you highlighted all the things that I love about her–a great pick me up on a day that sorely needed it. I am honestly thankful that this oscar season is over and that I can read great writing like this about the movies and its icons

  17. KT
    March 8, 2013

    You totally scared me too!! I had to check websites to make sure nothing had happened. I love Meryl in so many movies, but you have that exactly right when you say “rarely is a movie she starred in a Best Picture contender for the win.”

    This is going to turn into a huge Meryl fest. Meryl has always been able to reinvent herself, and for this she has stood out from her peers. ADAPTATION and THE HOURS (probably my favorite performance too!!!) marked the beginning of a huge career revival in 2002. Then, she got THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and the studios saw how bankable she still is. It’s absolutely amazing! The musicals, the uncanny “imitations,” the romantic comedies….I’d argue she is more popular now than she has EVER been in her entire career.

    ——————

    Some thoughts:
    - Regarding Meryl and *plastic surgery*: I think it’s pretty clear she HAS gotten surgery. No one her age has a neck like her, or is able to preserve the high cheekbones….lol I don’t think you can really argue against this, and Meryl’s not the type to come out and admit it. However, the work has been done VERY VERY well, and very conservatively, allowing her to age gracefully and still be able to emote. I can’t say the same thing about some of her peers (eeeeeek).

    - Meryl’s Best Performance: SOPHIE’S CHOICE

    - Meryl’s Best Film: THE DEER HUNTER — though a small part

    - What I love her performance in KRAMER VS. KRAMER: Meryl is astonishingly good in that court scene, but everyone knows that. I love hearing the stories of how an actor contributed to the final product, specifically how Meryl wrote her character’s lines (which were accepted over Dustin’s suggestions–he wasn’t too happy about that). Her presence in the film is extremely FELT by the viewer, perhaps in her career only comparable to her role in The Deer Hunter as Linda. For me, these performances more than any others, especially when she goes for makeup and hair and yes accents, shows the power of her face and how it holds the screen. They are the performances, in my opinion, that can put Meryl with the mesmerizing screen legends (the Julie Christies and Elizabeth Taylors and Ingrid Bergmans) who could hold audiences spellbound with just a stare or a simple bat of an eyelash.

    - Her most recent win THE IRON LADY: I found the film disappointing, and that takes away from Meryl’s performance. Instead of actually probing the person it is based on, of course Margaret Thatcher, it only barely scrapes at who she was, just nipping at the surface. That for me made Meryl come across as much more hammy, even a caricature, than she should have. Nothing was really investigated: Margaret’s relationship with her husband, Margaret as mother, or even Margaret as prime minister since the film jumped way too quickly from event to event without exploring her character. I know they got across the impact of aging and Alzheimers, but it wasn’t earned—I wonder if Meryl was embarrassed by the final product. Maybe that’s why she never thanked or drew attention to Margaret in her acceptance speeches? (I hope it wasn’t because she didn’t want to make it seem like she agreed with her politics, that would be sad)

    - And finally, I have always wondered what Meryl’s peers think of her, the one person their age who seems to be getting first-look at the best material. Yes, Streep is hard not to like, but when you’re someone in the industry competing against her to get parts (the Glenn Closes, Michelle Pfeiffers, Sigourney Weavers, Annette Benings, even winners like Susan Sarandon, Sally Field, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange), which in the first place are very scare in that age bracket, hmmmm……

  18. Casey
    March 8, 2013

    Such a great thread. I’m going to have to do my top 25:

    1. The Bridges of Madison County
    2. A Cry in the Dark
    3. Sophie’s Choice
    4. Death Becomes Her
    5. Silkwood
    6. Kramer Vs. Kramer
    7. Angels in America
    8. The Hours
    9. The River Wild
    10. Manhattan
    11. Postcards from the Edge
    12. Julia
    13. Ironweed
    14. French Lieutenants Wife
    15. Adaptation
    16. She Devil
    17. Out of Africa
    18. The Iron Lady
    19. The Manchurian Candidate
    20. The Devil Wears Prada
    21. Hope Springs
    22. Julie & Julia
    23. It’s Complicated
    24. Music of the Heart
    25. One True Thing

  19. keifer
    March 8, 2013

    Here’s a thought,

    Streep may be the only actress to ever appear in 3 Best Picture Oscar winners: The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Out of Africa.

    (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

  20. March 8, 2013

    I love her in the roles where she isn’t putting on any affectations.

    Generally: Adaptation, The Hours, and Postcards from the Edge.

    Love those movies. Love her performances. Just love, love, love.

  21. Casey
    March 8, 2013

    AAh i forgot deer hunter – would be in my top 5 meryl’s for sure

  22. March 8, 2013

    Talia Shire. LOL

  23. KT
    March 8, 2013

    Diane Keaton too: Godfather, Godfather II, Annie Hall

  24. The J Viewer
    March 8, 2013

    (Continued)

    ‘Its probably hard for younger fans to get that once upon a time she was labeled as the ” actress who can only do accents”’

    Valerie speaks the truth. Kudos!

    Though in my prime, I, too, remember such an unfortunate event: It seems people (critics) at that time, for some reason, always tried too hard to get back to the accent issue, dismissing in process that she — themselves to prove their own *invalid* point (in vain) — was as good as an actress who can only do accents.

    I bet, the same people, at least secretly, now are waaay more than ready to jump into her bandwagon anytime anyplace….[I believe the accusation peaked at any time during the Out of Africa period, by the way.] *signed out*

  25. March 8, 2013

    Shirley MacLaine.

  26. Sonja
    March 8, 2013

    Favorite performance?
    For me it means not automatically a “best” performance but a performance I can’t help but love. And there are many of them. I voted for some that were not nominated for an Academy award, but the Golden Globes.
    On top of that it’s definitely Death becomes Her. Such a great movie! And her comedic timing is fantastic. “NOW a warning?!”
    It secretly became a cult-> there’s even a TV show in planning!
    *lol* A movie I can watch over and over again and it never gets boring! Not a minute.

    To me her most underrated performance is in Heartburn. It’s supposed to be drama, but here she showed her comedy talent coming from an actress that was formerly known for heavily dramas.

    And though I doubt it will get any more votes, I voted for Mamma Mia!.
    I understand people hate this movie to death, but I love it, it makes me happy and I love love LOVE Meryl in it.

    And even though of course Angela Lansbury was magnificent in the original The Manchurian Candidate and should have won the Oscar that year, I think Meryl was great in the remake too. The most evil role she’s played so far. So cruel and icy….

  27. SeattleMoviegoer
    March 8, 2013

    even tho they practically had to use smelling salts to revive me after being knocked out by her SOPHIE’S CHOICE performance, the one that sticks to me and amazes me the most is A CRY IN THE DARK. if you can forget Elaine’s impersonation on SEINFELD of “the dingo ate my baybay,” you’ll see Streep at her finest. what a performance! and the risk to play someone so unlikeable and hard and sharp…and yet draw your sympathy. she was brilliant.

  28. Sonja
    March 8, 2013

    Though I still don’t think she gets the “best” roles for actresses her age. (except August:Osage County)
    She gets the most attention for them, that’s all.

  29. Bob in Vegas
    March 8, 2013

    I’ll never forget how blown away I was with her in “Sophie’s Choice.” That scene where she has to make the choice was and is stunning.

    I was also impressed with Kevin Kline and Pater MacNicol.

  30. Bryce Forestieri
    March 8, 2013

    My fave is THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Is it on the poll though?? And anyone who campaigned against THE IRON LADY should be proud of that action.

  31. March 8, 2013

    Out of the Three-BP-Winners-club actresses, Shirley MacLaine starred in The Apartment, Terms of Endearment, and Around the World in 80 Days. Each film released in a different decade.

    Streep, Keaton, and Shire all starred in at least two Best Picture winners that were from the 1970s, had “Godfather” in the title, and/or were all released within seven years of each other. All three of Shire and Keaton’s met these three measures.

  32. Evelyn Garver
    March 8, 2013

    I’m glad several people mentioned THE DEER HUNTER. This was the first time I saw her on the big screen. If you recall, part of the movie takes place in this Pennsylvania town and among working class people. My sister and I thought Streep was so much like our aunts and cousins from towns around Scranton that we sobbed through every scene she was in. If people had used the term “she nailed it” back then, we would have proclaimed it.

    Long may she reign!

  33. Bryce Forestieri
    March 8, 2013

    You guys! How the hell did I miss this?! Probably needs a headline no??

    http://collider.com/wp-content/uploads/the-hunger-games-catching-fire-sam-claflin.jpg

  34. Bryce Forestieri
    March 8, 2013

    And this:

    http://www.deadline.com/2013/03/christopher-nolans-interstellar-to-be-paramount-warner-bros-co-production-and-joint-distribution/

    Not much is known at this point about the project bit it’s said to “depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding.”

    Sounds damn interesting…I’m no Nolan fanboy but this sounds right up my alley.

  35. March 8, 2013

    Bryce, If the headline is, “Latest Flash in the Pan,” then, sure, give it the headline.

  36. March 8, 2013

    “Not much is known at this point about the project”

    An educated guess would infer that there won’t be a female driving the story, and there will be plenty of dense, nonsensical dialogue, with some cool visuals thrown in for good measure.

  37. Geremy
    March 8, 2013

    My personal favorites:

    1. Doubt
    2. Angels in America
    3. Sophie’s Choice
    4. Ironweed
    5. Defending Your Life (I don’t think from a technical acting standpoint it’s one of her best, but her slurping that noodle at the end of the movie is the funniest thing ever to be shot on film)

  38. Bryce Forestieri
    March 8, 2013

    “An educated guess would infer that there won’t be a female driving the story”

    I’d be ecstatic for Nolan/Hathaway reunion in space though. No more Marion Cotillard in Nolan movies please. Every time is like Isabelle Huppert in HEAVEN’S GATE.

  39. Bryce Forestieri
    March 8, 2013

    To AD readers from the UK. Are you guys obsessed over this too???

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattbellassai/ranking-which-two-members-of-one-direction-are-most-likely-i

  40. Manuel
    March 8, 2013

    My first Meryl Streep experience was Silkwood, late in the 80s. She was my mams favourite actress. I really like her, but at the same time disappointed that she has not been cast or is not willing to work with more interesting directors and do more art house movies. Swinton, Kidman and Blanchett could give her some tips. Directors that could push her into the supreme level of acting. Cause we all know, she got it all, I mean Sophie´s Choice must be the best work of a female actress ever.

    I hope she wants to work with Tarantino, Aronfosky, Malick, Liv Ullmann, Lynne Ramsay, Jane Campion, Fincher, Lynch, Wong Kar Wai, Cuaron, Todd Haynes, Steve McQueen….etc

    Top Six :
    01. Sophie´s Choice
    02. The Devil Wears Prada
    03. Angels in America
    04. Silkwood
    05. Bridges over Madison County
    06. The Hours

  41. keifer
    March 8, 2013

    Sorry. Can’t agree with the love for “The Deer Hunter”. I hated that movie.

    I also liked Streep in “One True Thing”. Such an uplifting, likeable character in that movie.

    I wonder why she wasn’t cited for “The Manchurian Candidate”? The mother you love to hate.

  42. Tim
    March 8, 2013

    As someone above wrote, her performance, and specifically her “choice” scene from Sophie’s Choice, is hands down the greatest performance and acting in cinema. I watched the KvK scene prior to reading, and as I did, I noticed the breathing, expressions, the muscles in her face – everything – was put into, like always. She’s phenomenal in everything. I must admit, like Sasha, it is a shame she won for The Iron Lady, but thinking positively, she finally got another Oscar. Also, as Sasha mentioned, I have hope that she will win a few more Oscars, preferably Leading, and tie or surpass Katharine Hepburn. This woman deserves it. Cheers to you, Ms. Streep.

  43. brian
    March 8, 2013

    Older women don’t win Oscars, oh wait … there goes that theory

  44. JulieFe
    March 8, 2013

    I feel that she was campaigning for Viola Davis, not against Streep. There is a difference. I voted for Devil Wears Prada as my favorite performance. I disagree that she is probably the best actress who ever worked in Hollywood, finding Katharine Hepburn and a few others superior.

  45. Tim
    March 8, 2013

    I forgot to mention my pick for her best performance.
    1. Sophie’s Choice (Obviously)
    2. Doubt – I really liked this performance and the movie. I wouldn’t have minded her winning that year over Kate Winslet.
    3. Angels in America – I recently re-watched the mini-series, and afterward, I was amazed at her versatility. She played a conservative, Morman woman, a Jewish rabbi, and Ethel Rosenberg convincingly. All of them she could have won separate Emmys for.
    4. The Hours – I think she was robbed of an Oscar nomination here. It was definitely worthy.
    5. The Devil Wears Prada – Again, her expressions, as well as her eyes, say as much as the words she’s speaking.
    6. Death Becomes Her – Again, her versatility into comedy is astounding.

  46. March 8, 2013

    I think that what’s special about Meryl Streep is that she plays *real people*. That is, all too often, on TV and in movies, neither the actors nor the actresses can shake the perception that they’re playing themselves, or worse, playing nobody. They seem interchangeable like Barbie and Ken dolls. You don’t get personalities of any depth, or the endearing and sometimes infuriating “ticks” that make real people real, physically and socially. Meryl Streep is one of the few whom you can rely on to give you a real person, with all the back story and physical and mental “blemishes” that real people have. And that’s why she’s such a joy to watch!

  47. March 8, 2013

    The Deer Hunter !!

  48. Manuel
    March 8, 2013

    Kiefer:
    3
    Diane Keaton: Annie Hall, The Godfather, The Godfather II

    Talia Shire: Rocky, The Godfather, The Godfather II

  49. Astarisborn
    March 8, 2013

    Sophie’s Choice has always chilled me with Streep’s performance. When the choice is given and they take away her daughter, the little girl’s screams of terror are directly evoking from Streep’s silent shocking open mouth of horror.
    Heart wrenching performance.

  50. Marlen
    March 8, 2013

    What a great read Sasha, and I have to say I agree I think, with everything you say about Streep, she is without a doubt my favorite actress and celebrity in general, and it’s really hard to chose a favorite performance of her since I honestly love all of them, but I remember the first time I watched Sophie’s choice and how blown away I was with her performance, that is for sure in my top 5.

    Overall I think Streep is not only the greatest actress, but also a beautiful, intelligent, strong woman who deserves every success she has, she really is an inspiration.

    And to KT I’m 99.9999% sure she hasn’t gotten plastic surgery, she has said so herself and she has always taken good care of herself and has good genes, maybe you need to see some hd pictures or put more attention in her movies, I mean she looks amazing, but if you concentrate on looking for her having plastic surgery you will see she has aged naturally and pretty well.

  51. daveinprogress
    March 8, 2013

    Lovely tribute Sasha to the best actress of all time! Thamk you.

    I simply can’t choose. I just can’t. The filmography is just so gargantuan.

    Spookily i just rewatched Kramer v Kramer last night (i seem to know all the dialogue which is spooky too).

    This was my first experience of Mary Louise Streep – I was 15 and whispered to my school buddy next to me, that she was going to win an Oscar and what an amazing new talent she was. What did i know at 15? – Freaky Friday and The Battle of Midway had been my cinematic journeys up until then. That movie changed my movie going experience forever. I was clearly ready for change.

    Thanks to this site and recent threads where people listed their favorite films, i decided to go back and revisit all my listed best pictures of the last 35 years (since i began comparing them). I am up to 1979 (having just been haunted once again by Geraldine Page’s awesome work in Woody Allen’s 1978 ‘Interiors’. 1977 was ‘The Goodbye Girl’ (with Annie Hall a close second)
    I am bracing for one of the most emotionally overwhelming films of all time for me – 1980′s The Elephant Man’.

    Re Kramer – It still amazes me that Meryl was able to turn ‘Joanna’ inside out and be both sympathetic and unsympathetic and endearing all in the same movie. So too Dustin Hoffman. ‘Kramer’ always makes me cry,big time and i have seen it so many times. Justin Henry just gets into my heart and his scenes with Hoffman are sublime. The moment where little ‘Billy’ runs into the waiting arms of ‘Joanna’ and she lets out an emotive cry of joy, is just brilliant. I never tire of the journey that all the characters take in the movie. I always wish that Jane Alexander had received more plum roles in her career.

    Back to Streep – she doesn’t need any more Oscars to maintain the exalted title of the best screen actress of all time. As long as she keeps making movies until she drops! Long live La Streep.

  52. March 8, 2013

    No more Marion Cotillard in Nolan movies please.

    But in Inception Marion was the best of the cast. In fact she was nominated to Satellite Awards

  53. CMG
    March 8, 2013

    How I voted:
    Angels in America- She played an old male rabbi for goodness sakes!!!!!! Among other roles. To me, everything about that mini-series is perfection. Although Adaptation. and The Hours are considered the comeback vehicles, this was just something that crystallized that this was FOR REAL.

    Other favorites:
    Adaptation.
    Death Becomes Her
    Devil Wears Prada
    Sophie’s Choice
    Postcards from the Edge

    Most Underrated: The Manchurian Candidate- Her turn as the female Dick Cheney (the Hillary comparisons were lazy) on one hand does justice to Angela Lansbury’s original portrayal while also being among the great villains in a Jonathan Demme film (let’s think about that for a moment). Incredibly underrated movie itself and one of the better remakes. Had Scorsese remade this (he was never tied to it, just using the Cape Fear example), it would have had all of the awards thrown at it. I WISH this was her turn as Margaret Thatcher.

    Most Overrated: Julie & Julia/The Iron Lady- In her defense these movies are lousily written and her as a lead piques interest but there is a point where you can see the wheels turning in both cases here. That said, I would have love to see J&J just on Meryl and Stanley Tucci and TIL not done as some twisted feminist iconography but something closer to Oliver Stone’s Nixon.

  54. steve50
    March 8, 2013

    Sophie is obviously Meryl’s greatest performance and remains the benchmark for all other screen actresses who come after. The same can be said for Angels and TV – nobody’s ever going to top those.

    It’s fun watching her tackle those real personae – accents and all – but I’m with others who prefer the fictional creations. They are always complete, living, breathing, thinking personalities into which Streep disappears.

    I guess the best tribute one could pay her is to consider which of those characters I would want to spend time with. There are three that standout for me. Miranda (Prada) is a hoot, but I already know someone exactly like her. Clarissa (Hours), same thing.

    That leaves what I consider her most fascinating non-Sophie role – Susan in Adaptation. I know – real person, but fictionized considerably. Great movie, great script and wonderful performance by Streep.

    We got a very funny, potty-mouthed Meryl we had never seen before:

    John: Darling, I don’t know what’s come over you.
    Susan: You came all over me last time I was here, as I recall.

    We got to see the vulnerable meltdown:

    “It’s over. Everything’s over. I did everything wrong. I want my life back. I want it back before everything got fucked up. I want to be a baby again. I want to be new. I WANT TO BE NEW.”

    Most of all, we got this, my favorite quote from the film:

    “There are too many ideas and things and people. Too many directions to go. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more managable size.”

    Love this character. Kaufman’s words from Streep’s mouth – priceless.

  55. March 8, 2013

    1. Sophie’s Choice (duh)
    2. A Cry in the Dark
    3. Doubt
    4. Adaptation
    5. The Devil Wears Prada

    I wish she would’ve done Thelma & Louise instead of Death Becomes her and that Evita could’ve been pulled together when it was supposed to instead of She-Devil. I get that they’re campy cult classics now, but I prefer Meryl in more subtle comedy.

  56. Houstonrufus
    March 8, 2013

    As you say, everything has been said about Streep. Like almost everyone, I adore her. Really the only thing I can say that is that I can’t imagine American film without her. She is just part of the landscape, one of its great peaks. I remember Tucci’s introduction of her nomination a couple years back. “She is the best.” I’m just thankful we have so many performances to enjoy. Every now and then I get this longing to see, be near, one of her creations like her Karen Silkwood or her Karen Blixen or her Suzanne Vale, etc. I adore Postcards from the Edge. I still don’t think many people know or realize just how truly, bone deep funny this woman can be.

  57. KB
    March 8, 2013

    For me:

    1. “Sophie’s Choice” (My personal best actress performance of all time).
    2. “The Bridges of Madison County” (Should have won her third for this).
    3. “The Devil Wears Prada”
    4. “Kramer vs. Kramer”
    5. “Adaptation”

  58. Watermelons
    March 8, 2013

    I voted for every performance!

  59. Jack
    March 8, 2013

    My favorite Streep performance, in The Deer Hunter, is not on the list!

  60. March 8, 2013

    Sorry didn’t notice the requests to add The Deer Hunter sooner. We’ve added it now. Up to you guys to help it recover from the handicap of being such a late entry.

  61. brandz
    March 8, 2013

    There is Streep and then there is everyone else. She is peerless.

  62. Ellsworth
    March 8, 2013

    Thank you for this tribute Sasha. I would love it if you continued this trend and highlighted the careers of the other living female acting legends – Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith, Jane Fonda, Liv Ullman, Jane Alexander and Vanessa Redgrave (among others). I love the way you write ..

  63. Archie
    March 8, 2013

    When I first saw her on Sophie’s Choice I couldnt believe she was speaking Polish and German fluently and acting on top of that! I said to myself this is the greatest performance of an actor in cinema ever. Then I see her in A Cry in the Dark doing that naturalistic Australian accent I was thinkin to myself how did she do that. It was so fuckin real. Then Plenty and Out of Africa. Then Dancing at Lugnasa ( i for got the spelling) How does she do real accent after another . Unbelievable. She’s incomparable. Some people say here that Katharine Hepburn is a better actress. I completely disagree. Meryl Streep is way better actress than Hepburn with all due respect to Hepburn.

  64. SeattleMoviegoer
    March 9, 2013

    when i read that Scott Rudin had purchased the rights to “I, CLAUDIUS,” and was going to make it into a film, my first thought was, “Streep…Livia! 4th Oscar.” there would be no question.

  65. Thomas
    March 9, 2013

    A performance of unparalleled intensity, beauty and complexity
    1. Sophie’s Choice (one of the best ever … but remember her competition was Jessica Lange in “Frances” – also one of the greatest performances ever)
    2. Bridges of Madison County (should have get her third Oscar for this … because Julianne Moore wasn’t even nominated for “Safe”)

    An excellent performance coming up the complex requirements of the part
    3. Silkwood
    4. Ironweed
    5. A Cry in the Dark
    6. Postcards from the Edge
    7. The Deer Hunter

    An impressive performance
    8. The Hours
    9. The French Lieutenant’s Woman
    10. Adaptation
    11. Manhattan
    12. Plenty
    13. Devil Wears Prada
    14. Hope Springs (I think she is better in this than all the nominees for this year with the exception of Emmanuelle Riva)
    15. Kramer vs. Kramer
    16. One True Thing
    17. Angels in America
    18. Out of Africa
    19. Music of the Heart
    20. The Iron Lady

    A remarkable performance with some weaknesses in shaping the part
    21. It’s Complicated
    22. Doubt
    23. The River Wild
    24. Falling in Love
    25. The Manchurian Candidate
    26. Heartburn
    27. Julia & Julia
    28. She-Devil

    A good performance without complex requirements for playing the part
    29. Mamma Mia
    30. Death Becomes Her

  66. Roel
    March 9, 2013

    Best performance-overall: Sophie’s Choice—obviously (movie); Angels in America (television)

    Best dramatic performance: A Cry in the Dark/Out of Africa/French Lieutenant’s Woman; Bridges of Madison County (4 way-tie)

    Best comedic performance: Julie & Julia/Death Becomes Her (tie)

    Best musical performance: Mamma Mia!—she was nominated for a Grammy for the cast album and should have WON !!! Maybe she’ll record a children’s storybook album or do another musical, so she can increase her chances of winning a Grammy again.

    Best campy performance: Devil Wears Prada/Doubt (tie)

    Best overrated/campy performance: The Iron Lady-hands down!

    Best underrated performance: The Hours—simply magnificent….Meryl was robbed of an Oscar nomination; I have watched this movie over and over and her crying scene in the kitchen itself is worthy of an Oscar….too bad Nicole had been overlooked in previous years and was listed as a lead role for her supporting performance for the same movie.

    Recommendation: DO A BROADWAY PLAY, Meryl—–the Greatest Living Actress and All-Time doesn’t own a TONY aWARD for Acting? Hummm…..Viola Davis has 2 and other great actresses have won before/many multiple times such as Glenn Close, Vivien Leigh, Angela Lansbury,Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Ellen Burstyn,Judy Garland, Mary Martin, Bette Midler, Vanessa Redgrave, Debbie Reynolds, Dame Maggie Smith, Barbra Striesand, and Diana Ross.

  67. Bob Burns
    March 9, 2013

    actually, my favorite is in Altman’s Prairie Home Companion – her acting is so relaxed and happy in this film. not her most seriously accomplished role, clearly, just the one I have most wholeheartedly enjoyed watching.

  68. Radich
    March 9, 2013

    I just love her. Period.

    It’s a lesser work but I love “Falling in Love”, another one with her and Robert De Niro. The simplicity of that movie and how natural they are in it was/is music to my ears. Every time is on TV I watch. Love it.

  69. Nic V
    March 9, 2013

    Well I’m old enough to say that I have watched her grow up. I remember Meryl when she was working with Joseph Papp at the Public Theater in New York City. She was doing Alice at the time I think.

    My first film experience with Meryl of course The Deerhunter and of course the incredible performance in The Holocaust. I’ve seen everything she’s done. With that said my favorite performances are not the ones everyone else rails about. Ironweed is my favorite. A Cry in the Dark I think is truly her best performance. And then to the dismay of many I really liked the House of Spirits. Not a great film but a damn good cast. Unlike so many others I am not a fan of Sophie’s Choice. There is of course the scene where she makes the choice that is probably the scene that got her the Oscar. But the rest of the film to me is one giant bore.

    There’s no question that she is the greatest living actress who continues to work. I’m not sure that I would say she is the greatest actress we’ve seen on film. I think there is one other actress who prevailed in her career much more than Streep has prevailed in hers. The reason I think that is because Streep has the advantage of choosing her work whereas actress’s prior to the seventies were regulated by studios and didn’t have the same opportunities that Streep has had. That’s doesn’t diminish her work or her talent because I believe she’s amazing but I think if we were able to take say Deborah Kerr or Olivia De Havilland into this era and give them the same playing field as Streep they might prove that they would have been just as formidable.

  70. Michael
    March 9, 2013

    I wish I could sit here and say I’ve seen all of Meryl Streep’s performances (even most of them), but I can’t. I’m a 22 year old student and most of Streep’s critical acclaim came before I was even born, though she’s had 9 academy award nominations and 1 win over the course of my life. Taking all of this into consideration, I’m not going to pretend I’ve seen her performances in films like Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie’s Choice (I know, I know, how can I call myself a movie and Oscars fan without seeing those two!) but for what it is worth, my favourite Meryl Streep performance is definitely Adaptation.

    We watched Adaptation as a group in my creative writing class in high school, and as a 16 year old teenager, I was fascinated and transfixed on Streep’s performance as Orlean. Maybe it was because it was my first time really watching the “Greatest Living Actress” (open to interpretation of course) on screen and I didn’t know what to expect, but by the end I was won over by the film and Streep. I’ve read that Streep has been criticized for not being able to completely disappear into a role, or that you can see the gears grinding and moving and calculating her every move and mannerism. But in Adaptation, Streep’s performance crackles with energy and a spark that I think comes across effortlessly. My favourite scene is the one in which she gets high and is on the phone with Laroche.

    I don’t know if my opinion will change on which of Streep’s performances I think is truly greatest once I see more of the films from her career, but I can confidently say for now that Adaptation was an incredible vehicle to let Streep’s talent shine.

  71. Sean
    March 9, 2013

    I’d go for Sophie’s Choice, DWP, The Hours and Death Becomes Her. I actually think DBH is a very underrated Meryl performance (if such a thing as an underrated Meryl performance even exists!) IMO, it’s one of the best comedic performances of the past 20 years.

  72. Diego
    March 9, 2013

    “There’s no question that she is the greatest living actress who continues to work. I’m not sure that I would say she is the greatest actress we’ve seen on film.”

    In my opinion, Hollywood’s greatest actresses are (in ranking order):
    1. Meryl
    2. Bette Davis
    3. Vivien Leigh
    4. Cate Blanchett
    5. Geraldine page
    6. Nicole Kidman
    7. Julianne Moore
    8. Ingrid Bergman

  73. CMG
    March 9, 2013

    Goodness, I cannot believe I did not include A Prairie Home Companion. That she was only in one Altman movie is such a crime. That movie is so nice, polite, and relaxed yet a bittersweet meditation in Altman being very cognizant of that fact it was his last movie. The whole ensemble was great (imagine if Altman was given another 20 years of life and wanted to use Lindsay Lohan in his future projects) and Meryl, as another commenter mentioned, is at her most relaxed and just so enjoyable. Her and Lily Tomlin presenting Altman’s lifetime achievement award at the Oscars was a good prelude to what came from this movie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcp8xjaFfb8

    Greatest Hollywood actresses:
    Barbara Stanwyck
    Vanessa Redgrave
    Jane Fonda
    Ingrid Bergman
    Bette Davis
    Elizabeth Taylor
    Lauren Bacall
    Lillian Gish
    Meryl Streep
    Katharine Hepburn
    Audrey Hepburn
    Judi Dench
    Julie Christie

    Favorite Hollywood actresses:
    Jessica Lange
    Barbara Stanwyck
    Marlene Dietrich
    Carole Lombard
    Bette Davis
    Penelope Cruz
    Elizabeth Taylor
    Jean Arthur
    Frances McDormand
    Viola Davis
    Michelle Pfeiffer
    Jane Fonda
    Laura Dern
    Toni Collette
    Joan Allen
    Kristin Scott Thomas
    Juliette Binoche
    Dianne Weist
    Rachel Weisz
    Julie Christie
    Charlotte Rampling
    Doris Day (this is sort of a guilty pleasure pick but I grew up watching those old musicals she did, ideally Dolly Parton should have had her movie career although her movie career is perfectly adequate)

    It kind of breaks my heart a little that a lot of my favorites have turned to TV to get a steady income but hey, at least I can watch them week-to-week.

    And not-quite Hollywood/indie goddesses/mostly foreign/the industry does not know what to do with her at all/misc. list:
    Tilda Swinton
    Catherine Deneuve
    Isabelle Huppert
    Jessica Chastain
    Isabelle Adjani
    Judy Davis
    Kirsten Dunst (my liking to her is a mystery even to me- I think it is because I grew up with her movies)
    Isabella Rossellini
    Sarah Polley
    Parker Posey
    Maria Bello
    Alfre Woodward
    Salma Hayek
    Elisabeth Moss
    Vera Farmiga
    Kimberly Elise
    Catherine Keener

  74. SeattleMoviegoer
    March 9, 2013

    Greatest LIVING actress? Streep would definitely quality. But there are 3 other actresses that are still kicking (tho one doesn’t act anymore) who could compete for that title: Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, Ellen Burstyn.

  75. knee play
    March 9, 2013

    Her best is probably Sophie’s Choice but since we’re asked to pick a favourite, I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t go with Death Becomes Her. Such an underrated comedic performance.

  76. Eoin Daly
    March 9, 2013

    People may feel sad Meryl lost the Grammy but she will be in another musical worthy of her talent that should get her the grammy. She will be in Into the Woods which calls for vocals, comedy and drama which are three genres she can do so great. I only Marshall was not directing it I would be so sure of how great it would be. I agree she needs to do some theatre and also do what Kidman does and choose the director over the script which could work wonders for Meryl.

  77. Yvette
    March 9, 2013

    Silkwood.
    On the surface, it’s the simplest, but that’s what’s brilliant about it. Its completely stripped down and naked. She becomes this woman from Texas, without an over-the-top dialect or accent…..she FEELS like this person, this type of person.
    I think that’s shows that she isn’t all showy mannerisms.

  78. Tero Heikkinen
    March 9, 2013

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, she’s great…

    …but what’s up with all the Hitler memorabilia? :D

    Death Becomes Her is one of her great performances. The line “NOW a warning!?!” is enough proof of that.

  79. TOM
    March 9, 2013

    Though The Iron Lady movie was hooky, at least Meryl won against the other 3 Lead Actresses in the category. As for ‘Viola Davis is back to playing the typical supporting parts she’s always played..,’ her role in The Help was typical supporting (and she still would’ve lost to the true supporting cast member Octavia Spencer. Put it to rest.

  80. larry
    March 9, 2013

    Heartburn for me. One of the greatest performances ever recorded on the celluloid, right there with Falconetti, heart breaking. Where was the Oscar?

  81. GoOnNow
    March 9, 2013

    How can a person possibly have a favorite Meryl Streep performance?

    Pools like this one always bewilder me, but most especially when they are applied to the work of people like Streep, Blanchett and Kidman.

  82. MWeyer
    March 10, 2013

    The one really great moment of Seth McFarlane at the Oscars was bringing her out and saying “this next presenter needs no introduction” and then walks off. With anyone else, it might seem insulting but with Streep, it’s more than worthy of her.

    And you need more proof, read how she opened the envelope with Day-Lewis’ name backstage, which isn’t allowed but the Price/Waterhouse guy said “I wasn’t going to stop her.”

  83. Linda
    March 10, 2013

    I LOVE Meryl Streep; “Sophie’s Choice” would probably be my favorite, but I thought “Mama Mia” was great fun as was “It’s Complicated” and “Devil Wears Prada”, but “Out of Africa” and “Bridges of Madison County” were outstanding for me. I can’t find much to criticize about anything she’s done.

    I do have to remind you, though, that Barbra Streisand won the Best Actress for “Funny Girl” before she was 30. Seems she was around 28 or 29 years old.

  84. Name *
    March 10, 2013

    missing Meryl so much,xo

  85. belle
    March 10, 2013

    missing meryl so much. xo

  86. Bede
    March 11, 2013

    The question that needs to be asked is: How many actors / actresses have appeared in 3 Oscar Best Picture winners and been nominated for their work in those films? Meryl is the one and only actress so honored (78, 79 and 85). She was the second actor ever, after Clark Gable in 34, 35 and 39. She has since been joined by Dustin Hoffmann 69,79 and 88 and Jack Nicholson in 75, 83 and 97. (NB. If one accepts a lead win as better than a support turn – well yes she is weakest of the four but I think that has more to do with how male-centric films have become). It stands as a great achievement.

  87. Jason
    March 11, 2013

    Hands down (for me): Postcards from The Edge!!!! I love that movie and I sure wish she had won!! I love Prada, love Bridges, love Silkwood, on and on.. but Postcards was just brilliant :-)

  88. keifer
    March 11, 2013

    She’s had such good lines over her career, too.

    “They’re blanks, asshole!” – Postcards from the Edge

    “A dingo killed my baby!” – A Cry in the Dark

    “Would someone open the goddamn door!” – She-Devil

    “Some animals mate for life.” – Out of Africa

    “I’ve fought every day of my life.” – The Iron Lady

    “That’s all.” – The Devil Wears Prada

  89. JudiB
    March 11, 2013

    1) Sophie’s Choice
    2) Out of Africa
    3) French Lieutenants Woman
    4) The Hours
    5) Kramer vs. Kramer

    We saw her in Shakespeare in the Park twice. I remember her performance in Holocaust (which was sensational)

  90. AJ
    March 11, 2013

    “Most people remember the first time they ever saw Streep act. I think for me it was in Kramer vs. Kramer”

    For me as well. “Kramer vs Kramer” was the first movie I ever saw in a theater.
    And I would have to agree with SeattleMoviegoer’s comment. For me, Vanessa Redgrave is the greatest actress alive. I think Meryl’s performances stand out for the fact that she does many different foreign accents and impersonations. But, Redgrave is on a whole other level. Redgrave in “Isadora” remains, for me, the best performance ever by any actress.

  91. Raygo
    March 11, 2013

    I first noticed her in The Holocaust mini-series on TV, which started the buzz leading up to The Dear Hunter. The stars aligned in just the right way for her to forge her path. My personal favorite is Prada, just because it was such a different kind of role, she pulled off sexy and iconic with ease. Also a big fan of One True Thing, especially playing off Renee Zellweger (who doesn’t get enough props for that performance).

  92. steve50
    March 11, 2013

    “Redgrave in “Isadora” remains, for me, the best performance ever by any actress.”

    I’m with you, AJ. Sophie is the standard benchmark, but to me, Redgrave is my favorite, with Isadora being her best. Starting with her British accent, nobody else could pull off playing a character 20 yrs her senior, booze-addled, grief-stricken and speaking French with a Milwaukee accent. She never disappoints.

  93. Ryan B
    March 11, 2013

    My favorites:

    Silkwood
    Adaptation
    The Hours
    Doubt
    Postcards From The Edge

  94. Pablo
    March 12, 2013

    I couldn’t even begin to name my favourite Meryl Streep performance.

    She definitely should have more than 3 Oscars to her name. Silkwood, Julie and Julia, Adaptation and The French Lieutenant’s Women are four other wins I would have given her. And yes, I agree with the consensus here that she should have been nominated for “The Hours”.

  95. Robert
    March 12, 2013

    No one has memntioned “Marvin’s Room” (1996) a great little movie with Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Hume Cronyn, Gwen Verdon. One of my favorites. I absolutely love Meryl Street….my favorite actress as well but the movie was great with all the stars.

  96. keifer
    March 12, 2013

    Steve50 and AJ:

    I agree wholeheartedly: Vanessa Redgrave is my favorite actress as well. And I would venture to say that Maggie Smtih and Judy Davis are right up there as well, along with Meryl Streep. But Vanessa Redgrave is . . . simply sublime . . . in a league all of her own. She was robbed of supporting actress nominations recently for her work both in “Coriolanus” and “Anonymous”. Really, just staggering performances.

    While you mentioned her excellent performance in “Isadora”, another Redgrave performance I loved was her Olive in “The Bostonians”. Her repressed lesbian feelings are so palpable, and her confusion so overwrought; she couldn’t explain herself because of the 19th century standards. Redgrave can say so much about her characters by her RESTRAINT. She never overacts . . . ever. And she acts always so truthfully through her eyes and face, a true film acttress. My dream some day is to see her on stage. I tried to see her once in New York in a play a couple years ago (but the tickets were sold out almost immediately).

    Streep is a great great actress, though, there’s no denying it. I can’t imagine what American cinema would be without her contributions.

    Having said that, I feel entitled to say (after just seeing “The Iron Lady” recently for the first time), that her performance is nothing special – and her time on screen isn’t all that much either. I really didn’t like the movie, although I liked her in it. Just not “Oscar” worthy. I agree with Sasha about this Oscar – Viola Davis should have won for “The Help”.

  97. Pierre de Plume
    March 13, 2013

    I’m with Radich on Falling in Love. While it’s not Streep’s best performance, it was a joy to see her and De Niro doing a straightforward romantic story.

    A Cry in the Dark is I feel her best work simply because of the level of difficulty and how she takes a rather unlikeable character and makes us feel empathy for her. She really disappeared into that character.

    But again — nearly impossible to choose just one — and I’m also a fan of her work in Iron Lady and Bridges of Madison County. Who else could make us believe the passion she felt for grizzled Clint Eastwood, who had to be shot in more soft focus than Lucille Ball in Mame!

  98. keifer
    March 13, 2013

    Pierre de Plume,

    Re Streep in A Cry in the Dark.

    I read an interview Streep gave a few years back and I remember her saying that the Australian accent she had to adopt in “A Cry in the Dark” was her most difficult of all the roles she ever played. I would have thought it would be Danish (in “Out of Africa”), so I was surprised by that remark.

  99. austin111
    March 14, 2013

    Out of Africa for me, now that I’ve finally actually watched the whole thing. A revelation for me. This incredible film, while treading ever so lightly on the arrogance of colonialism, captures something utterly remarkable in it’s central romance between Streep and a rarely better Redford. That these two people, both essentially independent in thought and deed, stuggled to find a place where they could be comfortable together. The argument between Streep’s Karen and Redford’s Denys being that she wanted to have him as her partner in life and he wasn’t interested in belonging to anyone, necessarily, even though they clearly were madly in love with each other. It was the tug and pull, brought to life by these special actors, that moved me deeply, an incredible and deeply felt love affair, made even more compelling and tender by the tragedy of his death and Karen’s realization that he could never be “owned” by anyone, not even her. Her final acceptance,that this is what had made him so special, could not have been more moving. I’ve loved her in other films, of course. She was fantastic in Cry in the Dark and The Devil Wears Prada. Occasionally, to me, she’s seemed almost too coldly technical an actress, but in the main, she’s also been capable of great warmth, comical precision, and breathtaking beauty and grace. Lovely woman.

  100. Jorge Espinoza
    March 17, 2013

    Sasha, Out of Africa is another exception of a movie starring Streep that won an Oscar, but you are right, she is the best on her movies. I was very happy of her winning last year, but the movie was one of her worst mvies, even if the performance was fantastic. I think she still has a chance of winning another Oscar, but only if the scipt and the direction are perfect, a movie like Lincoln, for example.

  101. keifer
    April 5, 2013

    Incidentally, I just saw “The Iron Lady”.

    I can’t believe she won an Oscar for this movie

    It was really quite bad.

    MAKEUP Oscars! Grrrrrrrrrr. Hate ‘em.

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