Hollywood queen and America’s sweetheart Meryl Streep is one of the most nominated actors in Oscar history. Streep has been a part of 21 Academy-nominated movies; this year she’s been nominated for the Steven Spielberg film, The Post, in the Best Actress category. Out of 21, she has won for three Oscars (Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady).
While Streep has given many credible performances in the past, there are five Oscar-nominated performances of the actor that stands out, and best displays her versatility. Here’s a look at them:
The Deer Hunter
Meryl won her first Oscar nomination with the 1978 war movie. Based on the Vietnam War and its aftermath, the movie had received accolades for actors but had also got some bashing, as a section of the audience was unhappy with the way it seemed to justify America’s attack on Vietnam.
The film had an incredible cast, which included names like Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale, and of course Meryl Streep herself. Streep gave a sensitive performance of a woman who, while waiting for her lost-in-action lover (played by Christopher Walken), falls hard for his best friend (Robert De Niro).
Her character’s (Linda) indecision to remain faithful to her partner, and her feelings for another man were movingly portrayed by Streep on screen. Linda longed for a clean break to start afresh with De Niro’s character but felt guilty of wanting that new beginning.
Betrayal, affection, and anxiety move like flashes of a memory across the actor’s face in the scene where she welcomes De Niro’s character home upon his return from Vietnam. Flawless.
Streep had won an Oscar for her portrayal of Sophie in Sophie’s Choice, based on the William Styron novel. Grieving, lovestruck, passionate Sophie is one of Steep’s most memorable performances.
Everyone knows of the one haunting and heartbreaking scene of the movie, where Sophie has to decide which of her children should die. Streep’s piercing cry shattered the screen and marked itself as a wound on everyone who heard it. That one scene alone is worthy of all the accolades.
The Bridges of Madison County
Based on the novel of the same name, the movie starred Streep and Clint Eastwood and was directed by Eastwood. The movie revolved around Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) and a photographer Robert Kincaid (Eastwood), who crosses Francesca’s path one fine day.
They fall in love, but there’s a twist, neither of them is young, and to make matters more complicated, Francesca is married with children. In fact, what really puts Francesca in a dilemma about her passionate affair with Robert is that she is married to a good man, who loves and cares for her.
Streep was convincing as the determined, confident and caring Francesca. It is a mature performance from an actor who knows what she is doing. In the movie, Streep manages to be all-knowing, and subtle in her portrayal of the lovesick woman.
In the 2008 period drama Doubt, Meryl Streep delivers a power-packed performance as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the parish school principal, who is hell-bound (no pun intended) upon throwing Father Brendan Flynn (played by the supremely talented Philip Seymour Hoffman) out of the school after she gets an inkling that he might be making advances on school children.
In the scene when Streep’s character confesses that she has doubts, we know that she was never as certain of her faith and belief as she portrayed herself to be. Streep was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category. The film was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by the writer-director of the movie, John Patrick Shanley.
Julie and Julia
Based on the life of chef Julia Child, and the writer Julie Powell, who challenged herself to cook all the recipes of Child’s book in a year, Julie and Julia is a dramedy that is at once sweet, subtle and full of life. While Amy Adams portrays Julie Powell in the movie, Julia is brought to life on screen by Streep.
Streep’s version of the popular chef attracts and beguiles the viewers simultaneously. Julia says she loves to eat within the first 30 minutes of the movie, and you cannot help but relate to her, because who really doesn’t enjoy a good meal?
Throughout the movie, Streep is believable, lovable and a silly, talented goose. The credit also goes to the writer for the actor’s performance, as Julia is a very character-driven role. Julie and Julia was written and directed by the novelist Nora Ephron.