The Enduring Impact Of Talent: How Meryl Streep Became A Hollywood Legend
Hailing from New Jersey, Meryl Streep entered the world of theatre and Broadway before she began acting in feature films in the 1970s. During the early years of her career, her small yet memorable roles made a lasting impact on critics and production houses, who then offered her lead roles. With her stellar performance in every movie, she gained the reputation of being the finest actress Hollywood has ever seen. Working in musicals and comedies showed her versatility and vocal range. Streep has many honorable accolades under her name, including being the most Academy Award-nominated actress, a total of 21 times.
From beginning a career in drama in New York to moving to Hollywood to pursue her dreams, Meryl Streep has become an inspiration for many aspiring actresses who want to enter the field of acting.
Finding Stardom Through Small Roles
Starting young, Meryl Streep had already begun voice training at 12 before she took up acting during her high school years. After graduating college with a degree in drama and costume design and a Master’s in Drama from Yale, she moved to New York to pursue acting professionally. She received her breakthrough in Broadway with Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ in 1975. Two years after performing on Broadway, she made her movie screen debut with Julia, as noted by Britannica.
The following year, her small yet powerful role in The Deer Hunter as Linda earned her critics’ circle recognition. Her role as a young, soft woman contrasted Robert De Niro’s and Christopher Walken’s bravado, which deeply impacted everyone and earned her an Oscar nomination. She also worked in a television miniseries called Holocaust, for which she won an Emmy award.
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Over the next decade, Meryl Streep gave era-defining performances, which confirmed her as the best actress of her generation. According to Time, in 1978, she gave a stellar performance in Kramer Vs. As a mother fighting for her child’s custody, Kramer bagged her first Oscar for her Supporting Role. She won her second Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for Sophie’s Choice three years later. In the following years, Streep outshone every actress with her complex emotions on-screen and acting range as a Drama actress.
The Prime Minister, The Editor, And The Chef
During the roaring 80s, she worked in Oscar-caliber roles in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Silkwood, Out Of Africa, and Cry In The Dark. While the movies established her as a technical actress, her name became associated with serious and dramatic roles. To break from the stereotype, she worked in a few comedy films in the 90s, including Postcards From The Edge, Death Becomes Her, and The River Wild. As the movies were not widely beloved, she returned to her Drama roots with The Bridges Of Madison County and One True Thing.
In 2003, she received her 13th Oscar nomination for Adaptation, breaking the 12-nomination record previously held by Katherine Hepburn, as stated by IMDB. One of her most talked-about roles occurred in 2006 when she portrayed the role of Miranda Priestley, an overbearing magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada. Two years later, she showed her musical side playing a mother in the hit movie Mamma Mia! in 2008.
She earned critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Julia Child in Julie And Julia and her sixteenth Oscar nomination. After starring in a romantic comedy opposite Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated, came her third Oscar-winning role in the 2011 Drama movie The Iron Lady, where she played the role of Margaret Thatcher, a former British Prime Minister. She also won her eighth Golden Globe with the role.
A Career That Keeps On Giving
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Meryl Streep continued to work in light-hearted and dramatic movies that earned her many accolades and nominations. She played a woman trying to save her marriage in Hope Springs in 2012, a razor-tongued matriarch in August: Osage County in 2013, and she received her eighteenth Oscar nomination for the latter role. She starred in the 2014 musical Into The Woods as a vengeful witch, which earned her another Oscar nomination.
After working in several drama films, she played a tragicomic character in the title role in Florence Foster Jenkins in 2016, earning her 20th Oscar nomination. Her next movie, The Post, saw her stepping into the shoes of Katharine Graham, the owner of The Washington Post and added another Oscar nomination to her name.
Along with movies, Meryl Streep turned to television and joined the cast of the critically acclaimed HBO series Big Little Lies that stars Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Nicole Kidman. As mentioned by Cheat Sheet, she received the prestigious Cecile B. DeMille Award Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Golden Globes for her contribution to the world of cinema. In 2019, she joined the cast of Little Women and starred as Aunt March, while in 2020, she turned to her comedy performances with The Prom and Let Them All Talk.
From beginning her career in Broadway to slowly becoming the face of Hollywood with jaw-dropping performances, Meryl Streep has created a legacy that will last for generations to come. One of the most celebrated actresses of all time, she actively works in movies with challenging roles. More recently, she played a narcissistic US President in the 2021 dramedy Don’t Look Up, which was written and directed by Adam McKay.
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Sources: Britannica, Time, IMDB, Cheat Sheet
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