She doesn’t age, am I right? 🙂 However, Meryl Streep turns a year older today as she spends her 63rd year of existence. Meryl, Goddes Meryl, Queen Meryl, La Meryl or whatever you want to call her has been gracing our screens since the late 70s, and there’s no signs of stopping. Meryl has already received hundreds and hundreds of tributes already and has probably worked with majority of the most prominent actors and actresses we have today. She has already collected two BAFTAs, Emmys, SAGs, 8 Golden Globes, and just earlier this year, collected her 3rd Oscar. That and Best Actress turns in festivals such as Moscow, Cannes, and Berlin plus the Kenndey Center Honors. With that achievements, it can easily be concurred that Meryl Streep is one of the best (if not the best) actresses we have today.
And in celebration of her 63rd birthday, we’ll go visit memory lane and rank ten of Meryl’s best performances ever. She has already performed roles that of a mother, a singer, a nun, a cook, an author, a lonely housewife, the Prime Minister and even the boss from hell. Here, I think, are Meryl’s ten career best outputs:
10. JULIE & JULIA (2010)
Role: French cooking legend Julia Child
Meryl Streep is probably known for her ability to change her accent and study the mannerisms especially when she’s portraying real life personalities. That is very much evident in her 2010 performance in Julie & Julia that gave her her 16th Oscar nomination. While she managed to do a copy of the real Julia Child, what’s more fascinating beyond the accents and the performance is that she managed to incorporate the charisma of the famous French woman. I still stick by, up to this date, that this should have given her an easy 3rd Oscar win than Sandra Bullock’s The Blind Side.
09. IT’S COMPLICATED (2010)
Role: divorced woman Jane
In the other 2010 Meryl Streep film where she’s not playing a chef, we see the more laid back and fun Meryl that highlighted her more sassy and playful side. In It’s Complicated, Meryl played a divorced woman who rekindled what’s left with her then husband who’s unfortunately married again. Streep was stripped off her usual big on screen transformations and Nancy Meyers’s showed more of ehr leading lady persona that was missed for a long time already.
08. KRAMER VS. KRAMER (1979)
Role: Joanna Kramer, a mother who wants her son back
In her first Oscar winning role, Meryl Streep won a Supporting Actress trophy for her role in the film Kramer vs. Kramer. She played Dustin Hoffman’s wife who’s battling with him to have the custody of their child. This is one of Meryl’s earlier film works and what I love the most about this is that you can already see a plethora of potential for her to excel more. Of course, the trial scene was what stood out for most in the movie in terms of Meryl’s performance and she sure did deliver.
07. ADAPTATION (2002)
Role: The Orchid Thief author Susan Orlean
2002 was good year for Meryl Streep, as she starred in two of the year’s most acclaimed films. Her first one was in the Oscar Best Picture nominee The Hours, as modern day Clarissa Vaughn who befriends Ed Harris’ AIDS stricken character. The other was in her Oscar nominated performance as author Susan Orlean in Spike Jonze’s comedy Adaptation. Here’s another film that showed the fun side of Meryl, and it was pretty much evident throughout the film. After her enthusiastic and memorable Golden Globe speech when she won that year (“It’s been the Pleistocene era since I won anything!”), all the buzz regarding her third Oscar campaign started.
06. THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006)
Role: Miranda Priestly, the boss from hell
The Devil Wears Prada was supposed to be an Anne Hathaway vehicle where in we should all be rooting for her to finally get back and shut her boss off. However, it turned to be the other way around as we were so enamored with Miranda Priestly’s tactics that we wanted to extend more how she humiliate and lambast Andrea. Thanks to Meryl Streep’s devilish delicious performance of Miranda Priestly. The moment she appeared in the film, you know you’re not seeing Meryl but every inch of Miranda’s evil ways. This movie also opened Meryl to a whole lot of new fans especially with the younger generation. That’s all.
05. SILKWOOD (1983)
Role: tragic heroine Karen Silkwood
Following the footsteps of her Oscar winning performance in Sophie’s Choice, Meryl played Karen Silkwood who discovered the expose regarding the contaminated plant where she was working. This, in turn, turned her life upside down as she was framed up to be the carrier of the said contamination. By this time in her career, it is pretty much evident that when you followed up Sophie’s Choice with another acclaimed performance, you’re in for the long run, and that was what sealed the deal for Meryl via her Silkwood performance.
04. SOPHIE’S CHOICE (1982)
Role: confused mother Sophie who was asked the most difficult question a mother could have ever been asked for
Meryl checked in all the right places with this performance of hers. Accent? Check. Speaking another language? Check. Tragedy? Check. This contains all the right ingredients for an award winning role, and while that might have made it easier for any actress to fulfill the role, Meryl raised the bar so high with this performance that many are calling it one of the best performances in the history of film. The thing with Sophie’s Choice though is that with Meryl’s very tough job with what she’s done, all of her next performances have been compared with the difficulties she set in this one, and while that is undeserved, that’s the price she has to pay for turning it one heck of a bravura performance in this Oscar winning role.
03. ANGELS IN AMERICA (2004)
Role: various roles
Mike Nichols 2004 comeback was a Tony Kushner playwright that involved certain individuals being interconnected with each other in the midst of the crisis re:AIDS in the 80s. This project is probably one of the most memorable ones because of the star studded people involved: Mike Nichols directing, Tony Kushner writing, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Mary Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright, Justin Kirk, Patrick Wilson, Ben Shenkman, and of course, Meryl Streep starring in it. Meryl played both man and woman in this provoking masterpiece that garnered 11 Emmys, 5 Golden Globes, and 2 Screen Actors Guild awards among others.
02. THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1995)
Role: lonely housewife Francesca Johnson
Any film fan knows that a collaboration between Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep is definitely necessary; thus, it was very rewarding to see the both of them headline Eastwood’s 1995 love story The Bridges of Madison County. Streep’s Francesca Johnson is a lonely housewife who cherished the four days of her life when she met photographer Robert Kincaid. Based on the novel of the same title, you can clearly imagine Streep playing the title role while reading the novel, and how she managed to translate all of the emotions there in the film. Plus points given to her quiet yet very effective breakdown scene at the near end of the movie.
01. A CRY IN THE DARK (1988)
Role: Lindy Chamberlain, a mother coping up with the loss of her baby while being accused of committing the crime
And the best Meryl Streep performance, in my opinion, is the one she gave in her 1988 film A Cry in the Dark. Based on real events, Meryl play a stressed mother who lost her baby after a visit in the Ayers Rock and was subjected to a public scrutiny of being involved in the case of the missing baby. Meryl was at her best here, with the raw emotions that she greatly displayed throughout the film. Her Lindy Chamberlain was fierce in the eye of those accused them, yet at the same time was vulnerable enough to mourn over the turn of events. How Meryl enveloped all of these emotions in a single film makes this performance her best for me, and I’m pretty sure that Cannes agrees with me as she was rewarded with the Best Actress that festival year.
There you have it folks! What do you think is missing in this list? And what is your favorite Meryl performance? Plus, do you think she can win a 4th Oscar in her career? Pipe them in at the Comments section below! 🙂
Happy 63rd birthday Queen Meryl! 🙂