Meryl Streep, the sentimental favorite for Best Actress for her portrayal of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” gave the 84th Academy Awards a sense of history after winning the Oscar, 30 years after her last win.
Streep, 62, became the most nominated actress in Academy Award history with her nod for “The Iron Lady,” and even she seemed shocked by the honor. It was her third Oscar win.
“Oh my god, oh come on!” she bellowed as the audience gave her a rousing standing ovation. “When I heard my name I had these feeling that half of America went ‘Oh, come on, why her, again.’ But … whatever,” she said.
Streep faced a formidable and talented list of competitors for the award, including Viola Davis for “The Help” and Michelle Williams for “My Week With Marilyn.”
Industry veteran Glenn Close was also nominated for playing a man in the movie “Albert Nobbs,” as well as newcomer Rooney Mara for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
Streep won the best actress Oscar for the 1983 film “Sophie’s Choice,” and won a best supporting actress award for “Kramer vs Kramer” in 1980. She’s also won eight Golden Globes, including best actress in a drama for “Iron Lady.”
For her role, Streep had to cover an incredible amount of ground in Thatcher’s life, a seminal figure in world politics during the 1980s. The film follows Thatcher’s rise to power, her term in office from 1979 to 1990, coinciding with the Reagan years, and afterward as she struggled with her legacy.
The film came under fire in Great Britain from conservatives, who claim Streep misinterpreted Thatcher’s personality and her impact on the nation. She was also accused of over-acting and over-dramatizing the controversial political leader.
At the same time, she drew raves for her performance. “Streep has the imbasilisk stare; the tilted, faintly predatory posture. Her delivery, too, is eerily good – a show of demure solicitude, invariably overtaken by steely, wild-eyed stridency,” according to a review in London’s Guardian newspaper.
“This is just a great honor, but the thing that counts the most for me is the friendships,” Streep said.