Los Angeles - Meryl Streep joined a very exclusive club on Sunday, winning her third acting Oscar for her role as a strident Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
Streep played the British prime minister as a senile retiree, as well as a hectoring, dominant figure who instilled fear and respect in her own cabinet. At the film's pinnacle, Streep as Thatcher is the backbone of a nation that goes to war over the distant Falkland Islands after Argentina invades in 1982.
Streep, 62, won best actress for her 17th Oscar nomination, the most times any performer has been nominated by the Academy.
Her third win put her in a category with other three-time Oscar winners Jack Nicholson, Walter Brennan and Ingrid Bergman. Only Katharine Hepburn with four wins had more.
'Oh, her again?'
Streep's previous Oscars were for the 1979 film Kramer vs. Kramer and 1982's Sophie's Choice. She had long been considered overdue for another Academy Award.
"When they called my name, I had the feeling I could hear half of America going, 'oh, come on,'" Streep said. "Oh, her again?" "I look out there, and I see my life before my eyes, my old friend, my new friends," she said to the audience that had given her a standing ovation. Streep, 62, is widely regarded as the best living movie actress, and most critics said she turned in her best performance ever as Thatcher.
'You are unreasonably good'Streep first appeared on screen in 1977 in Julia after having honed her craft at the Yale School of Drama and on stage. She quickly became known for the depth and breadth of her characterisations, and for her gift with accents such as the Polish Holocaust survivor she played in Sophie's Choice. Dozens of other movies followed, ranging from romantic fare like Out of Africa and The Bridges of Madison County to biographical movies such as Silkwood, and dramas like Doubt and the HBO television series Angels in America for which Streep won an Emmy. Mamma Mia! joked Colin Firth, her co-star in the 2008 film Mamma Mia! who presented the award. "We were in Greece, I was gay, I probably fathered her daughter. ""You are unreasonably good," Firth added. "Whatever role you play you raise the bar, making it a little more difficult for the rest of us."
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