Meryl Streep takes third career Oscar

Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:33am EST
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By Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Meryl Streep, who holds the record with 17 for the most Academy Award nominations by any actor, won the Oscar for best lead actress on Sunday for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."

It was Streep's third Academy Award, but her first since winning the Oscar for "Sophie's Choice" in 1982. She was also honored for the 1979 film "Kramer vs. Kramer," and had long been considered overdue for another Academy Award.

Accepting her award, Streep sounded less like a winning actress than a star who had just received a lifetime achievement award.

"I really understand that I'll never be up here again," she said in an emotional speech in which she congratulated Roy Helland, her hair stylist for 37 years and who shared this year's Oscar for makeup with Mark Coulier for "The Iron Lady."

"I look out there and I see my life before my eyes," said Streep, addressing an audience packed with the biggest names in the movie industry .

"When they called my name," said Streep. "I had the feeling I could hear half of America going, 'oh, no. Come on.'"

Streep, 62, is widely regarded as the best living movie actress, and most critics said she turned in her best performance ever as Thatcher.

She won her first Oscar at the age of 30 for "Kramer vs. Kramer," her fourth feature, according to the movie website IMDB.   Continued...

Actress Meryl Streep accepts the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in "The Iron Lady" at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 26, 2012.  REUTERS/Gary Hershorn