New Delhi: Meryl Streep is unarguably one of the the greatest living actors, known for her versatility and accent adaptation.
She was nominated for 21 Academy Awards, and won three. She is the wonderful actress who has continuously delivered great performances year after year. When you watch a Meryl Streep film, you know that you are at least going to witness a special performance from a special actress.
There are strata of acting talent—there’s the good, the very good, and the great. And somewhere up above all that, there’s Meryl Streep. She turned 69 on Friday, we celebrate her birthday by listing some of her best films.
1. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
A tearjerker, Sophie’s Choice sees Streep playing a Holocaust survivour forced to choose between two lovers. Streep’s mournful, powerful performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress. “I can’t choose! I can’t choose!” The barbarism, depravity, and simple dehumanising evil of that climactic scene in Sophie’s Choice is so indelible that the title itself has become a byword for an impossible and grotesquely unfair dilemma. Streep’s performance in that scene alone would be enough to establish a career: it brought her the second Oscar in her career.
2. Out of Africa (1985)
Sydney Pollack‘s “Out of Africa” is too long for the frail dimensions of the story, and seems to somehow get slower on every viewing. But as something of a controversial Best Picture winner, with lacklustre direction and eye-rolling dialogue, it’s rescued, however, by John Barry‘s translucent score, David Watkin’s cinematography, and of course, Meryl Streep’s stoic and robust portrayal. She reportedly wore a low-cut blouse with a push-up bra for her first meeting with director Sydney Pollack, who initially felt that Meryl lacked sex appeal for the role. However, her chemistry with Robert Redford was much appreciated in the film. The film won 28 awards and is still talked about for its cinematography and performance of the lead actors.
3. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Based upon the novel by Lauren Weisberger, The Devil Wears Prada follows aspiring reporter Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) who is hired to work as an assistant to Streep’s Miranda Priestly, the imperious and pitiless editor of the fashion magazine Runway. Like most of its characters, the film can be shallow and occasionally trying, but Streep’s ingeniously controlled comic performance as the acid-tongued villainess steals the show.
4. Mamma Mia (2008)
Though Meryl has excelled in serious roles, the actress revels in showing off her lighter side as well. This 2008 film adaptation of the musical with the same name, based on the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA, was a huge hit. She played a single mother and a former girl band member, whose daughter invites three likely paternal candidates to her wedding. Meryl had fun and so did the audience.
5. Julie and Julia (2009)
A biographical adaptation dates viewers back to 1949 when Julia (Meryl Streep) is in Paris, the wife of a diplomat, wondering how to spend her days and finding passion in food and cooking. The movie draws parallels with the life of a writer Julie Powell who tries recipes of Julia’s book by taking up a challenge to cook 534 recipes in 365 days. The movie keeps switching in timelines as these two women narrate their struggles and love for their passion that keep them going.
6. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Kramer vs. Kramer handles the topic of divorce in a way no film had before. In a part that
highlighted Streep’s status as a talent not to be overlooked, her portrayal of Joanna Kramer received glowing reviews, as the emotionally worn mother and wife who abandons her husband (Dustin Hoffman) and son, returning 18 months later to demand custody in a chaotic divorce case. Given her relatively brief screen time, Streep’s deeply touching performance, helped her win her first Oscar (Best Supporting Actress). The film that raised pressing questions about gender relations and the changing roles of women in society.
7. Silkwood (1983)
Streep stars as Karen Silkwood, a woman who works at a processing plant in Oklahoma and draws attention to the fact that she and her co-workers are being exposed to high levels of radiation. In a role that deviates from her typically sensitive characters, Streep’s performance is both hilarious and haunting.
8. Into the Woods (2014)
In Rob Marshall’s multi-starrer musical film Into the Woods, Meryl Streep took on the part of a wicked witch. The gorgeous actress transformed into a disheveled, grey-haired woman with wrinkles. Meryl Streep had also reportedly brushed up her singing skills for the film as well. The film’s cast included Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, James Corden and Chris Pine. Meryl Streep got her 19th Academy Award nomination for Into The Woods making her the most nominated artiste in Oscar history.
9. The Deer Hunter (1978)
With a stunning lead cast of De Niro and Meryl Streep, the film walks us through an in-depth
examination of the ways in which the US-Vietnam war impacted the lives of people of a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. Michael, Steven and Nick are young factory workers from Pennsylvania who enlist into the Army to fight in Vietnam. Before going to the war site, Steven marries the pregnant Angela. On getting there they fall in the hands of the Vietcong and are brought to a prison camp in which they are forced to play Russian roulette against each other. Michael gets them to escape from the camp, but they soon get separated again. ‘The Deer Hunter’ was deemed as worthy to be preserved by the National Film Registry and was also awarded the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director for Michael Cimino.
10. A Cry in the Dark (1988)
Streep adopted a flawless Australian accent for the real-life story of Lindy Chamberlain, who in 1980 was accused of the murder of her nine-week-old daughter despite her insistence that her baby was snatched by a dingo from her tent at Uluru/Ayers Rock. Imbued with a brittle, coiled intensity, Streep’s risk-taking performance as the stoic Chamberlain, who refused to share personal insights throughout the ensuing court case and media circus, is an acting master class.