Oscars 2012: Winning Streep – Meryl Streep’s glittering career

A look back at the career of the actress who has won three Oscars and been nominated for a record-breaking 17

It’s 30 years since Meryl Streep last won an Oscar. But her win for The Iron Lady is just the latest acknowledgement of a genuinely remarkable career: not only has Streep won three Oscars, she’s been nominated more times than anyone else.


Few actors have careers lasting over three decades but even fewer get to keep playing high-profile leading roles throughout. And Meryl Streep is the only one who has been producing Oscar-worthy work throughout. Including the three times she’s won, Streep has been nominated for 17 acting Oscars.

“Holy mackerel”

Her first nomination was in 1978 for The Deer Hunter but her first win came immediately after, with best supporting actress for 1979’s Kramer vs Kramer. Watch her winning and her first Oscar speech.

It was a film about divorce, co-starring Dustin Hoffman and written and directed by Robert Benton. Kramer vs Kramer dominated those Oscars with five wins, including best picture. Read the Radio Times review and watch the original trailer.

“So thrilling”

Two years later she won best actress for 1981’s Sophie’s Choice, the remarkably upsetting drama directed and co-written by Alan J Pakula and based on William Styron’s famous novel.

Watch a slightly confused-sounding Sylvester Stallone announce the award – and Meryl Streep dropping her speech on the way to the stage.

Read the Radio Times review and watch the original trailer.


For the next 30 years, Meryl Streep was a fixture in the Oscar nominations but always beaten to the award. Silkwood, Out of Africa and Ironweed were her key nominated films during the rest of the 1980s.

Then in the 1990s she was up for best actress again for the likes of Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge, The Bridges of Madison County and Music of the Heart.

In the 2000s, she was at the Oscars four times with films including Adaptation and The Devil Wears Prada.

“I’ll never be up here again”

This year, Meryl Streep won the best actress Oscar for The Iron Lady, beating Viola Davis for The Help and Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn.

Both of those films were expected to do well and Streep acknowledged that, plus the fact that she has been at the Oscars so often. On stage she said: “When they called my name I had the feeling I could hear half of America going ‘oh, come on’, ‘oh, her again?’. But, whatever.”

She also said that “I really understand I’ll never be up here again” and took the chance to thank her fans “for this inexplicable wonderful career”. Watch that speech in full.

Read the Radio Times review and watch the original trailer.