Meryl Streep is one of the few actors in Hollywood that could be described as ‘peerless’ without hyperbole. And she's been having a hell of a week:
Her career has indeed been a long and varied one, with one of the most diverse portfolios of any working Hollywood star. The nineteen-time (!) Oscar nominee recently accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes. Her speech, while passionate, focused moreso on the raging misogynist who will soon become the President of the United States than on her storied career, so we’ve compiled some of her best performances over the years. Overrated? We don't think so.
Kramer Vs Kramer (1979)
Starring alongside Dustin Hoffman, Streep plays one half of a couple embroiled in a poisonous custody battle over their only son. Only 30 at the time of filming, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role.
Meryl goes blue collar: this gripping biographical drama starred Streep as Karen Silkwood, a worker at a plant in Oklahoma that manufactures plutonium rods. When Karen exposes a cost-saving operation that is causing her co-workers to be exposed to radiation, she must try to clear her name and uncover the truth.
Sophie’s Choice (1982)
Her heart-shattering performance as a troubled woman who escaped Auschwitz earned Streep her first Academy Award win in the Best Actress category. As the severely traumatised Sophie Zawistowski, she delivers an unforgettable and disturbing performance.
Postcards From The Edge (1990)
Based on an autobiographical novel by the late, great Carrie Fisher, Meryl stars as a Hollywood actress with an equally famous (and attention-loving) mother played by Shirley Maclaine. She’s trying to save her career and stay sober after a stint in rehab, but having to move back to her mother’s house drives her demented. One of the best onscreen mother/daughter relationships ever. And boy, can Streep sing!
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Not that well-received by critics, this is a deliciously camp tale of vanity, rivalry, and extreme measures, and a proper cult classic. Streep’s screen rivalry with the equally great Goldie Hawn is scenery-chewing, sure, but in the best way possible.
The Hours (2002)
In this spectacular ensemble piece, knit together by the works of Virginia Woolf, Streep plays Clarissa, a woman struggling to cope with her friend and former partner’s struggle with AIDS.
In this ambitious (and ever-so meta) tale, Meryl plays real-life author Susan Orlean, whose book is being adapted by real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage). An endlessly inventive tale of deception with an unhinged performance by Streep - it's fun to watch her cut loose.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
A perfectly coiffed, ice-cold fashion magazine editor (allegedly based on Vogue’s Anna Wintour), Streep created an iconic character in Miranda Priestley. Her withering stare would strike fear into the heart of any former intern.
Julie and Julia (2009)
Streep’s robust and warm portrayal of iconic chef Julia Child makes this film a cosy and heartwarming tale. Co-starring Amy Adams, this was the last film written and directed by the brilliant Nora Ephron.
Streep plays Sister Aloysius, a nun who is experiencing deep unrest about a priest in her parish played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Another powerful performance in a devastating film.