Meryl Streep rarely stars on television. But when does, she wins Emmys.
To date the acclaimed actress has won three Emmy Awards, same as her Oscar tally, but she’s on track to win her fourth next year thanks to “Big Little Lies.” Streep plays Mary Louise in the HBO drama’s second season, a no-nonsense woman who comes Monterey to sniff out clues about her son Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgard) untimely death. She clashes with all of the Monterey 5: Nicole Kidman (as Celeste), Reese Witherspoon (as Madeline), Shailene Woodley (as Jane) and Laura Dern (as Renata).
Streep’s three Emmy wins came for “Holocaust” (Best Mini/Movie Actress in 1978), “Angels in America” (Best Mini/Movie Actress in 2004) and “Five Came Back” (Best Narrator in 2017). In fact, she almost has a perfect track record at the Emmys, losing only one time for “First Do No Harm” (Best Mini/Movie Actress in 1997) to Alfre Woodard (“Miss Evers’ Boys”).
Compare that to the Oscars, where Streep is in the history books for having the most acting nominations (21) and is the only living actress to be in the three-timers club. She prevailed as Best Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), Best Actress for “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and Best Actress for “The Iron Lady” (2011). For those keeping track at home, the late Katharine Hepburn is the all-time Oscar record holder with four acting wins, while Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson are the only living performers with three acting wins.
Why is it so hard to win Oscars but so easy (apparently) to win Emmys? The answer is deceptively simple. The Oscars only give out four trophies a year to performers: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. That’s it. Conversely, at the Emmys there are four trophies each year simply for guest stars. When you factor in all of the lead, supporting, guest, short form, voice over and narrator categories that the TV academy bestows, a whopping 20 performers take home Emmys each year.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. “Big Little Lies” is currently airing this summer, which means it won’t even be eligible until the 2020 Emmys. That’s when Streep will presumably face off in Best Drama Supporting Actress against several worthy contenders from her own show, including Dern, Woodley and Zoe Kravitz, so this will definitely be one of the key Emmy races to watch next year.