The Meryl Magic: Charting the Course of a Hollywood Legend

A cinematic journey through Meryl Streep's 12 best movies

There is hardly a soul unfamiliar with her name. She has graced the silver screen, portraying a myriad of characters that have caught the cinema world’s attention—she is Meryl Streep.

Born as Mary Louise Streep on June 22, 1949, this American actor has become a paragon of versatility in the world of cinema. Over her four-decade career, she has garnered a record 21 Academy Award nominations, winning three, and to date earned 32 Golden Globe nominations, securing eight wins.

Streep made her mark in theatre in 1975 and entered films with "Julia" in 1977. She received early accolades for "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979) and "Sophie's Choice" (1982), winning Oscars for both. Streep sustained success in the 1980s with hits like "Out of Africa" (1985). Her later career resurgence includes roles in "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006) and "The Iron Lady" (2011), winning her third Academy Award. Apart from her film achievements, Streep received various honours, the AFI Life Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honor, and Presidential Medal of Freedom. Streep's early life in Summit, New Jersey, shaped her passion for acting, leading to her journey from high school plays to earning an MFA from Yale in 1975.

We've brought here the cinematic magic she conjured through her 12 best roles on the silver screen.

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) - Joanna Kramer

Streep won her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Joanna Kramer, a mother who leaves her husband and young son but later returns to claim custody.

Sophie's Choice (1982) - Sophie Zawistowski

This performance earned Streep her second Academy Award, this time for Best Actress. She played a Polish woman haunted by her experiences during World War II, particularly a heartbreaking choice she had to make.

The Iron Lady (2011) - Margaret Thatcher

Streep portrayed the iconic British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and won her third Academy Award for Best Actress. The film explores Thatcher's life and political career.

Out of Africa (1985) - Karen Blixen

Streep played the Danish author Karen Blixen in this epic romance film set in colonial Kenya earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) - Miranda Priestly

Streep played the formidable and icy fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly, showcasing her comedic talents in addition to her dramatic skills. The role earned her an Academy Award nomination.

Mamma Mia! (2008) - Donna Sheridan

Streep displayed her singing abilities in this musical romantic comedy, where she played Donna, a single mother whose daughter invites three men to her wedding, suspecting that one of them might be her father.

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) - Sarah/Anna

In this film, Streep portrayed two characters: Sarah, a Victorian-era woman involved in a scandalous affair, and Anna, the actress playing Sarah in a contemporary film. The performance gained an Academy Award nomination.

August: Osage County (2013) - Violet Weston

Streep played the complex and troubled matriarch of a dysfunctional family in this film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play garnering another Academy Award nomination.

Silkwood (1983) - Karen Silkwood

Streep portrayed Karen Silkwood, a real-life worker and whistleblower at a plutonium processing plant. Her powerful performance led to an Academy Award nomination.

The Bridges of Madison County (1995) - Francesca Johnson

Streep starred as Francesca Johnson, an Italian-American housewife who has a brief but intense affair with a National Geographic photographer (played by Clint Eastwood) while her family is away. Streep's performance garnered critical acclaim for its emotional depth and another Academy Award nomination.

Doubt (2008) - Sister Aloysius Beauvier

Streep played a strict and suspicious nun in this film set in a Catholic school in the 1960s. Her performance was rewarded with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Julie & Julia (2009) - Julia Child

In this film, Streep portrayed the legendary chef Julia Child in a delightful performance. The movie contrasts Child's experiences in the early years of her culinary career with the story of a young woman, Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams), who decides to undertake a year-long journey to cook all of Child's recipes. Streep's portrayal of Julia Child got her yet another Academy Award nomination.

These are our nomination for the 12 best of Meryl Streep's remarkable and diverse body of work. She has played numerous other memorable characters throughout her career, showcasing her talent and contributing to her status as one of the greatest actresses in the history of cinema.