With 16 acting Academy Award nominations, the Best Oscar roles for Meryl Streep have the trademark brilliance of her skill with a film that is worthy of her talents.  Starting in 1978, the luminous Ms. Streep has been a fixture on the red carpet. Most notably, she holds the record for more nominations that any other actor, male or female (both Katherine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson have 12 noms). Yet, for all the respect, Meryl has lost more than any other thespian (14 losses). Putting her statistics in baseball terms, she is batting .125. (For the trivia hounds, Streep also holds the Golden Globes record (23) for acting nominations).

Her long career encompasses drama, comedy, classics, and surreal stories about orchids (“Adaptation”). Take a review of the Streep Oscar resume, and ask yourself, “Two? Just two in all these years?”

  1. “The Deer Hunter” (1978)  Meryl’s first nomination, in the Best Supporting Actress category, came with only her second film role, as Robert DeNiro’s love interest in this tragic Vietnam story of childhood friends from a small steel town.

  2. “Kramer vs. Kramer”(1979) Streep returned to the next year’s Academy ceremony and took home the gold (statuette) for her multilayered portrait of the troubled ex-wife battling for child custody against Dustin Hoffman, who also won Best Actor for the movie.

  3. “The French Lieutenant's Woman”(1981) marked Meryl’s first Best Actress nod (and loss) for the dual role of a 19th century tragic heroine, and the actress playing her in a film within the film.

  4. “Sophie’s Choice”(1982) The very next year, Streep had her Best Actress trophy for an astounding and heartbreaking performance as a Polish survivor of the Holocaust. Demonstrating her facility for accents and unusual beauty to best effect, Streep encapsulated the devastatingly personal costs of war.

  5. “Silkwood”(1983) As activist Karen Silkwood, Meryl showed her modern side, with a fun and sexy factory worker turned whistleblower, who risked everything to warn the world about the dangers of nuclear plants. During the 1980’s, she would also be nominated for her historical portraits of writer Isak Dineson in “Out of Africa” and accused child murderer Lindy Chamberlain, “A Cry in the Dark” but "Silkwood" remains one of her most unusual turns.

  6. “Postcards from the Edge”(1990) Streep originally planned on being an opera singer, and she showed off that glorious singing voice in this semi-memoir by Carrie Fisher about growing up with a movie star mom (Shirley MacLaine). Streep surprised as a drug addicted, (gasp) bad actress, trying to be real in the fantasy world of Hollywood. Although she would receive 3 Best Actress nods in the 90’s, the films (“The Bridges of Madison County,” “One True Thing,” and “Music of the Heart”) were all too ordinary.

  7. “Adaptation”(2002) A quarter of a century passed before Meryl returned to the supporting actress category, as the straight-laced, then goofy writer on a wild ride with a toothless orchid thief (Supporting Actor winner), Chris Cooper.

  8. “Th Devil Wears Prada”(2006) The millennium brought Streep back to fun and glory in a scene-chewing triumph as the meanest glamour editor this side of Anna Wintour. As always, Meryl brought heart and depth to what could have been a one-note performance.

  9. “Doubt”(2008) From the flamboyant world of fashionistas, she next transformed into a severe Catholic nun crusading against the changes of the early 60’s starting to enter the church.

  10. “Julie & Julia”(2009) Icon meets icon, as Streep fully realize the spirit and verve of the legendary Julia Child. Streep credited her own mother for inspiring her interpretation of the woman who changed America’s kitchens.  

Long may Meryl reign over our silver screen and, would those Academy voters please put a few more Oscars on the Streep mantle!