Meryl Streep recently swept our social media feeds via her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, heretofore known as Streep’s 2017 Golden Globes Speech. She had just won the Lifetime Achievement Award. During the speech she was eloquent, she was articulate, she was undeniably Meryl.
Even if you don’t like the roles she plays, the last word anyone respectable would use to describe Streep as overrated. Most critics agree that she is the best actress we have, perhaps the best ever.
It may rub audiences the wrong way when she plays characters like the ruthless fashion industry diva in The Devil Wears Prada characters, but that’s to Streep’s credit. That’s quality acting. She does a good job getting under your skin when the part calls for it. She can also break your heart like she did in Bridges of Madison County.
In addition to her many roles, Streep studied Polish, German, how to play the violin for some of them. No doubt, she’s lived more lives in this one life than many of us combined. It’s hard to define which life is more impressive, the ones she lives on screen or the one she lives off.
Almost as fascinating is the story of Streep’s life before the screen. Add to that, her endless, growing pile of awards are the proof that there is nothing overrated about this woman.
Before The Awards
Her birth certificate reads Mary Louise Streep. Her parents, Harry William and Mary Wolf first held her June 22, 1949, in Summit New Jersey. In some ways, her childhood scans like any other child growing up in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
She, her two brothers and their parents attended the local Presbyterian church. She attended Bernard High, where she was on the cheerleading team. She was even in a few school plays, but mostly for recreation at that point.
Streep did, however, take operatic lessons from age 12 to 16, something she didn’t love, but no doubt came handy later in life. Hello, Mama Mia anyone?
Then, in the late 60s, Streep attended Vassar college. She graduated in 1971 and went on to the Yale drama school. That was after she failed to apply for laws school. She’d missed her law school interview because she overslept that day. Fate had other plans.
At Yale, she trained with a few recognizable talents, Sigourney Weaver, Christine Estabrook and Christopher Lloyd.
The first time the Academy nominated Streep for an Oscar was 1979. It was for Best Supporting Actress for Deer Hunter. She didn’t win, but the next year she took it for her role in Kramer vs. Kramer.
Since that time she has received two other nods for Best Supporting, but did not win for either. Then, from 1982 to 2014 the Academy nominated her fifteen times for Best Actress.
She won in ’83 for Sophia’s Choice and in 2012 for The Iron Lady. In case you lost count, that’s a total of 19 nominations, a record as of this writing. No other actor, male or female, holds more nominations than Streep.
It’s easy to imagine how one could make the leap to overrated from this data alone.
It was fitting that the Golden Globe Awards thrust Meryl into our lives this week. Similar to the Academy Awards, she dominates the award pool of the Golden Globes.
Piled on Streep’s list of overrated accolades is the title of most-nominated performer for a Golden Globe. They nominated her 29 times, besting the last overrated actor on the list, Jack Lemmon. He could only boast 22 nominations.
Streep owns eight total awards from the Golden Globes, five for Best Actress, and three for Best Supporting Actress.
Adding to Meryl’s overrated achievements, she tows a list of awards through history like strung cans behind the car of newlyweds. It would be annoying if there weren’t such joy in all the noise.
She’s enjoyed uncountable nominations and awards from 98 different cinematic award ceremonies around the world. Also, she’s received multiple nominations and awards from five different theater award ceremonies, and a handful of nods from The Grammys.
The American Film Institute (AFI) awarded her their Lifetime achievement award in 2004, which makes two such awards from two respected institutions.
Since she completed her schooling at Yale, several other schools have awarded Streep with honorary degrees: Indiana University Bloom, Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, the University of New Hampshire, Harvard University and Princeton.
In more recent history, President Barack Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom.
In fairness to Streep’s detractors, Katherine Hepburn reportedly shared a distaste for Streep’s talent. Perhaps she felt threatened by the spicy side of Meryl. It happens, even to people in very high positions of power who shouldn’t feel threatened by an actress.