USMagazine, Sunday, February 26, 2012, 8:56pm (PST)
The Iron Lady just got golden!
Meryl Streep was the victor in the much-contested Best Actress category at Sunday's Academy Awards. For her acclaimed transformation into British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, the star bested fellow frontrunner Viola Davis of The Help, plus Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs).
It was the third win for Streep and her seventeenth nomination; the most-nominated-ever actress last won in 1983 for her leading role in Sophie's Choice. (The most Academy Awards won by an actor remains four -- a record still held by the late Katharine Hepburn.)
Joked a teary-eyed Streep at the podium: "When you called my name, I had this feeling i could hear half of America going, 'Oh, come on, why her again?'...But whatever!"
She made sure to thank at the very top of her speech her husband of 34 years Don Gummer, with whom she has four kids. "I want him to know that everything i value most in our lives you've given me," Streep gushed.
She continued, "I really understand I'll never be up here again. I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends. I look out here and I see my life before my eyes. My old friends, my new friends. Really, this is such a great honor, but the thing that counts the most with me, is the friendships and the love and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together. My friends, thank you all of you, departed and here, for this inexplicably wonderful career. Thank you so much."