While Meryl Streep has been nominated a whopping 20 times at the Oscars, she’s only won three times with bids #2 (Best Supporting Actress: “Kramer vs. Kramer,” 1979), #4 (Best Actress: “Sophie’s Choice,” 1982) and #17 (Best Actress: “The Iron Lady,” 2011). She has had to endure a staggering 17 losses. Surely, she was deserving of at least one other win from among these.
After reviewing the roster of her thwarted bids for Oscar glory, be sure to vote in our poll as to which of these was the most egregious loss. And then cast your ballot in this year’s Best Actress race. Streep is sure to contend for her portrayal of Katharine Graham, the society doyenne turned newspaper publisher in Steven Spielberg‘s docudrama “The Post.”
Streep lost her first Best Supporting Actress race for “The Deer Hunter” (1978) to Maggie Smith (“California Suite”; her third, for “Adaptation” (2002) to Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago”); and her fourth (and most recent) for “Into the Woods” (2015) to Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”).
Streep lost the first of her 16 Best Actress bids back in 1981 to Katharine Hepburn. She was up for “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” but Hepburn won her record fourth Best Actress Oscar for “On Golden Pond.” The year after losing to Hepburn, Streep won Best Actress for “Sophie’s Choice.”
Her next two lead bids were for those real-life roles in “Silkwood” (1983) — Shirley MacLaine prevailed for “Terms of Endearment” — and “Out of Africa” (1985) — she was edged out by Geraldine Page (“The Trip to Bountiful”). Then came “Ironweed” (1987) and a loss to Cher (“Moonstruck”), followed by the biographical “A Cry in the Dark” (1988), when she was bested by Jodie Foster (“The Accused”). For “Postcards From the Edge” (1990), she was beaten by Kathy Bates (“Misery”).
With “The Bridges of Madison County” (1995), it was Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”) who won, and for “One True Thing” (1998), it was Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love”) who was victorious. Streep’s work in the bipoic “Music of the Heart” (1999) lost to the work of Hilary Swank, who portrayed a real-life murder victim in “Boys Don’t Cry,” and her comic turn in “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) was overruled by Helen Mirren (“The Queen”). Her dramatic demeanor in “Doubt” (2008) was defeated by Kate Winslet (“The Reader”).
She earned a record 13th Best Actress nomination in 2009, eclipsing the benchmark set by Hepburn, for portraying celebrated chef Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” only to lose to Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”). In 2013, Streep contended in this category for her star turn in “August: Osage County” but lost to Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) who had won the Supporting Actress Oscar in 2004 for playing Hepburn in “The Aviator.” And last year she was again in contention for “Florence Foster Jenkins” but lost this race to Emma Stone (“La La Land”).
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.