When it comes to Oscar nominations, actress Meryl Streep is unofficially considered the queen. With a record-breaking 19 nominations and three wins over her nearly 40-year career, Streep has made quite the name for herself by fully embodying the characters she portrays— often so well that it’s hard to believe that she’s acting.
From her interpretation of a snide witch in 2014’s “Into the Woods” that earned her the Best Supporting Actress nom this awards season to her memorable role as Anna Wintour-esque fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Streep’s range and ability to capture audiences has made her a mainstay in Hollywood’s film industry. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable—and Oscar-winning—Meryl Streep performances.
1. Linda in “The Deer Hunter”
In her film debut, Streep proved she had one major thing: presence. Her performance in the 1978 film that depicts the harsh reality of the Vietnam War earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination and showed that she could hold her own in a cast that included Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken.
2. Joanna Kramer in “Kramer vs. Kramer”
Released in 1979, “Kramer vs. Kramer” features Streep as a frustrated wife and mother-turned divorcee opposite Dustin Hoffman, who plays her domestically inept husband. As the two become embroiled in a custody battle over their son, Billy, Streep displays incredible emotion and passion—which managed to win her her first of three Oscars in 1980 for Best Supporting Actress.
3. Sophie in “Sophie’s Choice”
Lauded by critics and fans alike as one of her best performances, Streep won her second Oscar in 1983 for her role as the titular character in a film that centers around the gut-wrenching choice the character must make to send either her son or daughter to death amid Nazi concentration camps. Still considered a fairly new actress at the time, Streep beat out fellow nominees Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, Debra Winger and veteran actress Julie Andrews in the Best Actress category.
4. Karen Silkwood in “Silkwood”
As the title character in this 1984 film, Streep exemplifies the spirit of Karen Silkwood, a worker at an Oklahoma nuclear plant who stood against poor safety protocol and health standards. Based on a true story, “Silkwood” showcases Streep’s ability to transform fully into the protagonist opposite co-stars Cher and Kurt Russell in a film that still holds its own today.
5. Francesca Johnson in “The Bridges of Madison County”
Considered one of the 1990s best “chick flicks” by many, “The Bridges of Madison County” paired Streep with actor and producer Clint Eastwood as lovers during a short-lived affair in 1960s rural America. Streep’s portrayal of the forlorn wife and mother living on a farm who falls for a rugged photographer resonated with women and critics alike, earning Streep her eighth Best Actress nomination.
6. Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada”
Quite possibly the role that made her a household name among millennial fashionistas everywhere, Streep’s portrayal of icy Runway editor Miranda Priestly in 2006’s “The Devil Wears Prada” is incredibly intricate—revealing the Best Actress nominee’s knack for dominating a scene—even in a comedy, whether discussing the serious business of fashion trends or quickly grieving the end of a relationship. Scenes with co-stars Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci and Emily Blount are celluloid examples of timing, wit and actor chemistry in action.
7. Sister Aloysius Beauvier in “Doubt”
Streep is compelling as a hard-as-nails principal of St. Nicholas, a catholic school in the Bronx in 1964—offering a performance so convincing, it’s practically jarring in comparison to Amy Adams’ more inoffensive character, Sister James, and the charismatic glimpses of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn. For her performance, Streep was nominated for the 2009 Best Actress Oscar for the twelfth time, but lost to fellow nominee Kate Winslet that year.
8. Julia Child in “Julie & Julia”
Streep’s uncanny ability to transitorily morph into a character is apparent once again in her role as popular chef Julia Child. Reunited on screen with “Doubt” and “The Devil Wears Prada” co-stars Amy Adams and Stanley Tucci respectively, the 2010 Best Actress nominee shines as the lives of the late kitchen dynamo and a determined food blogger entwine in the 2009 film.
9. Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”
Widely released in 2012, “The Iron Lady” features Streep as notably stern and unyielding former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Owning the character, her mannerisms and her intricacies, Streep took home the Best Actress gold in 2012—her third Oscar win overall.
10. Violet Weston in “August: Osage County”
As the eccentric, chain-smoking matriarch of the dysfunctional Weston family, Streep’s Best Actress nomination was hard-earned. Playing against a stellar cast including Ewan McGregor and Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep consistently taps into raw emotion and its various degrees throughout the 2014 film.
To see if Meryl Streep takes home her fourth Oscar this year for her performance in “Into the Woods,” Be sure to catch The Oscars 2015 airing live with host Neil Patrick Harris tonight at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.