Meryl Streep in 'Julie & Julia'It's hard to believe, but Meryl Streep, arguably America's most acclaimed actress, has not won an Academy Award since 1983, when she took home the Best Actress trophy for 'Sophie's Choice.' (Three years earlier she nabbed her first Oscar for her supporting role in 'Kramer vs. Kramer.')

That's a grand total of two wins -- and only one for a leading role -- in her entire 32-year movie career, despite having been nominated 15 times. (For some perspective: Sally Field and Hilary Swank both won the Best Actress award twice.) Streep's current and 16th nomination is for her delicious portrayal of Julia Child in 'Julie & Julia.' Will she lose out yet again?

Judging from past years ... it's a distinct possibility. Winning an Oscar, of course, is all about who else is in the running that particular year. In addition to other disadvantages, which are detailed below, Streep's had the misfortune to be nominated repeatedly alongside actresses who not only gave outstanding performances, but whose "Time Had Come" to win. When the Academy, like God, decides that it's someone's time, there's no getting around it.

Let's break it down by year of nomination (all for Best Actress unless otherwise stipulated; winners are in bold): Meryl Streep in 'Julie & Julia'It's hard to believe, but Meryl Streep, arguably America's most acclaimed actress, has not won an Academy Award since 1983, when she took home the Best Actress trophy for 'Sophie's Choice.' (Three years earlier she nabbed her first Oscar for her supporting role in 'Kramer vs. Kramer.')

That's a grand total of two wins -- and only one for a leading role -- in her entire 32-year movie career, despite having been nominated 15 times. (For some perspective: Sally Field and Hilary Swank both won the Best Actress award twice.) Streep's current and 16th nomination is for her delicious portrayal of Julia Child in 'Julie & Julia.' Will she lose out yet again?

Judging from past years ... it's a distinct possibility. Winning an Oscar, of course, is all about who else is in the running that particular year. In addition to other disadvantages, which are detailed below, Streep has had the misfortune to be nominated repeatedly alongside actresses who not only gave outstanding performances, but whose "Time Had Come" to win. When the Academy, like God, decides that it's someone's time, there's no getting around it.

Let's break it down by year of nomination (all for Best Actress unless otherwise stipulated; winners are in bold):

1979
Was Nominated for: 'The Deer Hunter' (Best Supporting Actress)
Fellow Nominees: Maggie Smith ('California Suite'), Dyan Cannon ('Heaven Can Wait'), Penelope Milford ('Coming Home'), Maureen Stapleton ('Interiors')
Why Streep Lost: Smith's sublime portrayal of a stage actress who is nominated for an Oscar (and loses) in Neil Simon's otherwise undistinguished comedy was practically a shoo-in.

1980
Was Nominated (and Won) for: 'Kramer vs. Kramer' (Best Supporting Actress)
Fellow Nominees: Jane Alexander ('Kramer vs. Kramer'), Barbara Barrie ('Breaking Away'), Candice Bergen ('Starting Over'), Mariel Hemingway ('Manhattan')

1982
Was Nominated for: 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'
Fellow Nominees: Katharine Hepburn ('On Golden Pond'), Diane Keaton ('Reds'), Marsha Mason ('Only When I Laugh'), Susan Sarandon ('Atlantic City')
Why Streep Lost: Screen legend Hepburn, who'd last won an Oscar in 1969, was nearing the end of her career, and this seemed as if it would probably be her last solid film role. (It was.)

1983
Was Nominated (and Won) for: 'Sophie's Choice'
Fellow Nominees: Julie Andrews ('Victor Victoria'), Jessica Lange ('Frances'), Sissy Spacek ('Missing'), Debra Winger ('An Officer and a Gentleman')

1984
Was Nominated for: 'Silkwood'
Fellow Nominees: Shirley MacLaine ('Terms of Endearment'), Jane Alexander ('Testament'), Julie Walters ('Educating Rita'), Debra Winger ("Terms of Endearment')
Why Streep Lost: MacLaine had been nominated four times before and had never won. Her Time Had Come.

Meryl Streep movie posters

1986
Was Nominated for: 'Out of Africa'
Fellow Nominees: Geraldine Page ('The Trip to Bountiful'), Anne Bancroft ('Agnes of God'), Whoopi Goldberg ('The Color Purple'), Jessica Lange ('Sweet Dreams')
Why Streep Lost: Page had been nominated for either best or supporting actress seven times before and had never won. Her Time Had Come.

1988
Was Nominated for: 'Ironweed'
Fellow Nominees: Cher ('Moonstruck'), Glenn Close ('Fatal Attraction'), Holly Hunter ('Broadcast News'), Sally Kirkland ('Anna')
Why Streep lost: 'Moonstruck' was the feel-good favorite that year and, let's face it, Cher seriously rocked the part of Loretta Castorini.

1989
Was Nominated for: 'A Cry in the Dark'
Fellow Nominees: Jodie Foster ('The Accused'), Glenn Close ('Dangerous Liaisons'), Melanie Griffith ('Working Girl'), Sigourney Weaver ('Gorillas in the Mist')
Why Streep Lost: Foster was justifiably rewarded for her fearless performance in the gritty, groundbreaking 'Accused.' It probably didn't help that Streep's most famous utterance in 'A Cry' ("A dingo took my baby!") became a punchline.

1991
Was Nominated for: 'Postcards from the Edge'
Fellow Nominees: Kathy Bates ('Misery'), Angelica Huston ('The Grifters'), Julia Roberts ('Pretty Woman'), Joanne Woodward (Mr. and Mrs. Bridge')
Why Streep Lost: Given the formidable competition that year, Streep's relatively upbeat performance in the Carrie Fisher-penned dramedy didn't stand a chance. And Bates's scary, tour de force performance was a revelation.

1996
Was Nominated for: 'The Bridges of Madison County'
Fellow Nominees: Susan Sarandon ('Dead Man Walking'), Elizabeth Shue ('Leaving Las Vegas'), Sharon Stone ('Casino'), Emma Thompson ('Sense and Sensibility')
Why Streep Lost: Sarandon was marvelous as Helen Prejean, plus, she'd been nominated four times before and had never won. Her Time Had Come.

Streep in 'Adaptation,' 'Prada,' 'Doubt

1999
Was Nominated for: 'One True Thing'
Fellow Nominees: Gwyneth Paltrow ('Shakespeare in Love'), Cate Blanchett ('Elizabeth'), Fernanda Montenegro ('Central Station'), Emily Watson ('Hilary and Jackie')
Why Streep Lost: The Academy was smitten with the fizzy, clever 'Shakespeare' (it won Best Picture and several other Oscars), and America's latest sweetheart Paltrow was its dewy-eyed embodiment. Streep's poor cancer-stricken character couldn't compete.

2000
Was Nominated for: 'Music of the Heart'
Fellow Nominees: Hilary Swank ('Boys Don't Cry'), Annette Bening ('American Beauty'), Janet McTeer ('Tumbleweeds'), Julianne Moore ('The End of the Affair')
Why Streep Lost: Swank was phenomenal in a movie that was the year's biggest sensation. Despite having been directed by Wes Craven (!), 'Music of the Heart' was underwhelming, and Streep's nom seemed almost obligatory.

2003
Was Nominated for: 'Adaptation' (Best Supporting Actress)
Fellow Nominees: Catherine Zeta-Jones ('Chicago'), Kathy Bates ('About Schmidt'), Julianne Moore ('The Hours'), Queen Latifah ('Chicago')
Why Streep Lost: The Academy was dazzled by the musical 'Chicago' and the singin', dancin' Zeta-Jones, but Streep was robbed. Her portrayal of author Susan Orlean in the weird, wonderful 'Adaptation' was fabulous. And she deserved a second nomination for 'The Hours.'

2007
Was Nominated for: 'The Devil Wears Prada'
Fellow Nominees: Helen Mirren ('The Queen'), Penélope Cruz ('Volver'), Judi Dench ('Notes on a Scandal'), Kate Winslet ('Little Children'),
Why Streep Lost: Her relatively lightweight role didn't stand a chance against some very tough competition, especially Mirren's virtual transformation into the Queen of England.

2009
Was Nominated for: 'Doubt'
Fellow Nominees: Kate Winslet ('The Reader'), Anne Hathaway ('Rachel Getting Married'), Angelina Jolie ('Changeling'), Melissa Leo ('Frozen River')
Why Streep Lost: Winslet had been nominated for either Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress five times before, and had never won. Her Time Had Come.

2010
Is Nominated for: 'Julie & Julia'
Fellow Nominees: Sandra Bullock ('The Blind Side'), Helen Mirren ('The Last Station'), Carey Mulligan ('An Education'), Gabourey Sidibe ('Precious')
Streep's Chances: Her toughest competition is Mirren (stunning as Countess Tolstoy) and Bullock (who's never been nominated before), but the Academy might decide that 26 years of showing up and graciously applauding her fellow nominees is long enough. Maybe Streep's time has finally come ... again.

CATEGORIES Oscars, Features