This Is The Only Actress To Win More Oscars Than Meryl Streep

Has any other actress won more Oscars than the iconic Meryl Streep? Short answer, yes. Long answer, yes, but only one other actress has Meryl Streep beat for Oscar victories.

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Katharine Hepburn has the honor of being the actress with the most Oscars for her performances. Streep has been nominated more than a dozen times but has only walked away with 3 statues. Hepburn has a legacy of four. This is how the two stars stack up when it comes to Academy Awards.

8 Meryl Streep’s First Oscar Was For Kramer Vs Kramer

Meryl Streep got her first statue when she played the divorced mom seeking custody of her only child in Kramer Vs. Kramer with Dustin Hoffman playing her ex-husband. Audiences were moved by the depth and intensity of her character and for its honest portrayal of divorce and custody fights, which were still a controversial issue when the film came out in 1979. The film was Streep’s second nomination, her first was the year prior for The Deer Hunter but the award instead went to Maggie Smith for California Suite.


7 Katharine Hepburn’s First Oscar Was For Morning Glory

Hepburn got her first award in 1934 for the film Morning Glory. Not only was this Hepburn’s earliest award, but it was also one of the earliest Oscar ceremonies in the award show’s history. By this time, the Oscars were only 6 years old, and they were still just referred to as the Academy Awards, the nickname Oscar had not stuck yet. Morning Glory is the story of an actress who shamelessly spurns her love life to climb to stardom. The film is one of the few talkies to be made before Hollywood was slapped with a variety of censorship laws.

6 Meryl Streep’s Second Oscar Was For Sophie’s Choice

Streep would be nominated again two years after her first win for The French Lieutenant’s Wife, but she lost that year (read on to see who she lost too!) She came back victorious one year later in 1983 with Sophie’s Choice, the heartbreaking World War II film about a woman who the Nazis forced to choose which child lives or dies.

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5 Katharine Hepburn’s Second Oscar Came 34 Years Later

Hepburn was nominated several times for Oscars after her 1934 win but her next victory was not until 1968 when she co-starred in the controversial Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner which she starred in with Spencer Tracy and Sidney Portier. The movie is about a white woman who brings her black boyfriend home to meet her parents, and the otherwise liberal father is forced to reconcile with his own internalized racism. The movie is hailed as a symbol of racial progress and for pushing race relations in the country forward during a time of high racist tensions. 1968 was a rough year for race in America, it was the same year when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in a motel in Memphis.

4 Meryl Streep Got Her Third Oscar For The Iron Lady

Streep was nominated several times between 1984 and her third award in 2012. She was nominated for almost all of her films including The Devil Wears Prada, Julie and Julia, Ironweed, and The Bridges of Madison County to name just a few. But it was her portrayal of the conservative prime minister of the U.K. Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady that got her a third award. Some were not happy that Streep did this movie. Although Margaret Thatcher is historically significant because she was the U.K.’s first female prime minister, many argue her legacy hurt the working class in England. She was especially famous for using force to break Union strikes and her policies were considered harsh on U.K. coal miners. The movie was also notoriously panned by critics, so Streep’s nomination and victory was a surprise to many.

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3 Hepburn Won 3 More Oscars Before Her Death

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner was the first of her next three Oscars, one of which she got near the end of her life and career. In 1969, she left the ceremony with the award for The Lion In Winter a historical drama about a Christmas-time political upheaval facing King Henry II of England. Hepburn’s final Oscar did not come until 1982 when she won for her performance in On Golden Pond.

2 Meryl Streep Has Been Nominated For More Oscars Than Hepburn

Although Hepburn has Meryl Streep beat when it comes to Oscar wins, Streep has long since defeated Hepburn when it comes to nominations. Streep has 21 nominations to her name as of 2022. When Hepburn died in 2003, she only had 12 nominations. However, this means that Hepburn won 1/3 of the Academy Awards she was nominated for, which is a very impressive ratio when one considers how rare it is for a performance to get nominated at all.

1 Hepburn And Streep Were Nominated In The Same Category In 1982

Remember that Oscar Streep lost in 1982? Well, guess who walked away with it. Yes, it was Katharine Hepburn, who won that year for her portrayal of Ethel Thayer, an aging woman married to a man losing his memory as the pair takes care of their estranged daughter’s boyfriend’s son. The movie tells the story of a beautiful relationship between the boy and his new mentors. On Golden Pond was also the last time Hepburn was nominated for an Oscar, but it was not her last project. She frequently did TV and a few other films before her death.

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