Just three years after winning an Academy Award as a supporting actress, Meryl Streep took another Oscar home as Best Actress. Watch the video above as Sylvester Stallone announces her name for the 1982 film “Sophie’s Choice,” and the pregnant Streep drops her speech at the podium before she receives the trophy. Sly refers her to as the “marvelous” Meryl Streep when opening the envelope.
When Streep first heard that William Styron’s novel about a Holocaust survivor who befriends two eccentric young men in New York City was being turned into a film, she knew she had to play the part. She reportedly begged writer/director Alan J. Pakula for the part on bended knee. Only after Ursula Andress, Magdalena Vasaryova and Liv Ullman proved unavailable, was Streep granted the role of Sophie Zawistowski.
For her role, Streep lost weight, mastered a perfect Polish accent, and even spoke all of her own Polish and German dialogue. In addition to her Oscar, Streep won the Golden Globe and National Board of Review awards for her performance.
In addition to Streep’s win, the film received four additional nominations:
Best Adapted Screenplay – Alan J. Pakula (lost to Costa Gavras and Donald E. Stewart, “Missing”)
Best Cinematography – Nestor Almendros (lost to Billy Williams and Ronnie Taylor, “Gandhi”)
Best Costume Design – Albert Wolsky (lost to John Mollo and Bhanu Athaiya, “Gandhi”)
Best Original Score – Marvin Hamlisch (lost to John Williams, “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial”
Streep was joined by a strong group of fellow nominees, two of whom had prevailed before and another who won earlier that evening:
Julie Andrews (“Victor/Victoria”) — Andrews also received a Golden Globe for her gender bending performance as a girl singer pretending to be a man, pretending to be a woman in 1930s Paris. The film was written and directed by Andrews’ husband, Blake Edwards.
Jessica Lange (“Frances”) — Lange delivered a going-for-broke performance as troubled movie actress Frances Farmer. Though she lost this category to Streep, Lange won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress that night for her performance in “Tootsie.”
Sissy Spacek (“Missing”) — Spacek received a nomination for this Best Picture nominee about a woman who goes in search of her missing husband during the 1973 Chilean coup d’etat with the help of her father-in-law (played by Jack Lemmon in an Oscar-ominated performance).
Debra Winger (“An Officer and a Gentleman”) — Winger won the coveted role of Paula, the girlfriend of Richard Gere’s Navy Officer in training, only after Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston, and Jennifer Jason Leigh passed on the part. The film was the third biggest money maker of the year, behind “E.T.” and “Tootsie.”
It took almost three decades for Streep to win a third Academy Award, for 2011 “The Iron Lady.” She now has her 21st career nomination for “The Post” at the upcoming Oscars next week.
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