Meryl Streep‘s heart-wrenching performance in “Sophie’s Choice” is your easy choice for the top Best Actress Oscar winner of the 1980s. The legendary actress handily won Gold Derby’s recent poll asking you to vote for your favorite Best Actress winner of the decade, trouncing most of her competition.
Streep won with an astonishing 51% of the vote — very impressive in a field of 10 powerhouse winners. The only other actress to rack up a double-digit percentage is Cher in “Moonstruck” with 15%. Shirley MacLaine (“Terms of Endearment”) and Sissy Spacek (“Coal Miner’s Daughter”) tied for third at 7% apiece, while Jodie Foster (“The Accused”) and Katharine Hepburn (“On Golden Pond”) were next at 6% each. Further down, Jessica Tandy (“Driving Miss Daisy”) earned 3% and Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”) and Geraldine Page (“The Trip to Bountiful”) tied at 2%. Sally Field (“Places in the Heart”) came in last place with just 1%.
Winning just three years after her first Oscar victory for “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), Streep’s performance in “Sophie’s Choice” is considered one of the best in her illustrious career, if not the best. In the film she plays Sophie Zawistowski, a Polish immigrant interned in a Nazi concentration camp forced to make an unspeakably tragic choice. The performance has everything Streep is known for as an actress, sporting a thick Polish accent, gradually revealing vulnerabilities below a tough exterior and delivering heartbreaking monologues.
This is Streep’s second victory in Gold Derby’s “best of the decade” polls, previously winning the Best Actress of the 2010s poll for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” (2011). Streep holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for an actor at 21. Of course, that also means she’s lost the most Oscars.