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Oscars 2000 Friday, 17 March, 2000, 10:17 GMT
Meryl's still on song
Music of the Heart
Streep has won praise for her role as Roberta Guaspari
By the BBC's Caroline Frost

On the face of it, it may seem nostalgic, if not unimaginative, for the Academy to have added Meryl Streep's name to this year's list of Oscar nominees.

In fact, this year's nomination for her role of violin teacher Roberta Guaspari in Music of the Heart brings her tally to 12, a feat achieved only by Katharine Hepburn.

For 50-year-old Streep, the recognition marks a career that has gone full circle. For her first significant film role in The Deer Hunter in 1978, she gained worldwide recognition, and her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Meryl Streep, Gloria Estefan and Angela Bassett
Streep with co-stars Gloria Estefan and Angela Bassett
The following year she collected the prized statuette for her role in Kramer vs Kramer.

The next decade saw Streep prove herself a dominant talent in American film and a top box office draw.

Films such as The French Lieutenant's Woman, Plenty and Out of Africa demonstrated her versatility, attention to detail and her mastery of foreign accents.
Streep's Oscar nods
Music of the Heart (BA)
One True Thing (BA)
Bridges of Madison County (BA)
Postcards From the Edge (BA)
Cry in the Dark (BA)
Ironweed (BA)
Out of Africa (BA) Best Actress
Sikwood (BA)
Sophie's Choice (BA) (WON)
French Lieutenant's Woman (BA)
Kramer vs Kramer (BSA) (WON)
The Deerhunter (BSA)
She gave strong performances in a range of roles, including the working-class rebel Karen Silkwood to the tragic Polish refugee of Sophie's Choice, for which she earned her second Oscar in 1984.

The director Mike Nichols likened working with her to "falling in love: magical and creative, but shrouded in mystery".

But by the end of the 1980s, she was becoming unfashionable. A convincing Danish accent was more likely to be parodied than applauded, and Streep herself confessed to feeling "out of sync with what people like in the movies".

Always vocal about the lack of good roles for mature leading ladies, Streep made a valiant attempt to reinvent herself, turned her sights to comedy, but with limited success.

Comic turn

Roles in films such as She-Devil and Death Becomes Her earned her no new fans and disappointed old ones.
Meryl Streep with Robert Redford in Out of Africa
With Robert Redford in Out of Africa
She demonstrated her singing ability in 1990's Postcards from the Edge but an overbearing depiction of failure was thought by many critics to unbalance the film.

Transforming herself again in 1994, she took on the part of the assertive heroine in The River Wild. Preparing for her first action film, Streep compared her task to a competitive bodybuilder and learned to navigate treacherous rapids.

The movie enjoyed success at the box office but the unusual role further alienated Streep devotees. More recently, however, she has enjoyed a return to the strong characterisation for which she is celebrated.
Dancing at Lughnasa
Streep returns to form in Dancing at Lughnasa
The Bridges of Madison County and Marvin's Room brought her fresh recognition, and she recently appeared, complete with strong Irish accent, in Dancing at Lughnasa.

Through the highs and lows of her career, acting remains, for Streep, "just a job", and she prefers life on a Connecticut farm with her sculptor husband and four children, to the claustrophobia of Hollywood.

See also:

24 Jan 00 | Entertainment
04 Nov 99 | Entertainment
15 Feb 99 | Entertainment
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