Always compared to Bette Davis and with 18 Oscar Nominations and 3 wins, believed to be the most awarded and talented actress of her generation, Mary Louise Streep has been making headlines almost from the beginning of her career. “Kramer Vs. Kramer” wasn’t her first film; in 1977 she actually had a supporting role in the revered Fred Zinnemann’s ‘Julia’, followed by ‘Holocaust’ a successful TV miniseries that opened everybody’s eyes to this new actress. Then in 1979, she was cast in several films: Michael Cimino’s Oscar Winner ‘The Deer Hunter’, Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’, Jerry Schatzberg’s ‘The Seduction of Joe Tynan’ and finally her first Oscar as Joanna Kramer, the “bad-bad” mother who dared to leave her little son as she split with her husband, the also Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman was already famous for influencing the scripts and films he worked in and Streep wasn’t going to just let him go without a fight and her own imprint. In the end, Joanna was able to show her side of the story and how nothing is totally white or black in a marriage. This secured Streep her first Oscar nomination and a win as Best Supporting actress.
Streep’s passion towards her character led her to some of the best female characters of the next two decades (and then two decades more).
To list 10-best performances by Streep is a difficult task and it inevitably leaves many of her great work behind; even some of her nominated work would need to be excluded. So in no way my list deems the rest of her impressive resume as lesser performances. Take a look at this list, apart from the before mentioned and the ones I included in my very personal 10-best:
Still of the Night, Falling In Love, Silkwood (1983, Best Actress nomination), Heartburn, Postcards from the Edge (1990 Best Actress nomination), Defending your life, Death Becomes Her, The River Wild (Streep in an action film? That really proves she is capable of doing it all), Marvin’s Room, One True Thing (1998 Best Actress nomination), Music of the Heart (1999 Best Actress nomination), Adaptation (2002 Best Supporting Actress nomination), The Hours, Angels in America, The Manchurian Candidate, A Praire Home Companion, Rendition, Lions for Lambs, Mamma Mia! Julie & Julia (2009 Best Actress nomination), It’s Complicated, Hope Springs and her latest Oscar Nominated role as the complicated Violet Weston in August: Osage County (not even counting the upcoming Into The Woods and other future projects).
Not only does she have an impressive resume, but also she seems to be the hardest working actress in Hollywood.
The 10 films I single out (clicking on the ‘More Photos” section) are just a showcase of her whole career and how she has influenced actors, directors and her audience.
And now that you're at it, check on the other award season nominated actresses: