Meryl Streep's Wikipedia entry reads, "She is widely regarded as one of the most talented actresses of all time."
You don't say!
A New Jersey native and a Yale graduate, Meryl Streep made her major movie debut in 1978's The Deer Hunter, the only good movie Michael Cimino ever made. She also appeared as a bitchy ex-wife to Woody Allen's character in Manhattan, as well as the lover of a U.S. Senator from New York in The Seduction of Joe Tynan (both from 1979), but it was her role as Joanna in the 1979 child custody battle drama Kramer vs. Kramer (opposite Dustin Hoffman) that brought her even greater widespread recognition. These four roles generated nominations for seventeen acting awards between them, and Meryl Streep won twelve of them. And she was just getting started.
Newsweek magazine dubbed her "a star for the '80s" in 1979, and it turned out to be an accurate prophecy. She spent 1980 performing on stage (which, some would argue, makes her a "real" actress), but beginning in 1981, it was difficult to pass a movie theater without seeing a Meryl Streep movie on the marquee. Consider this list:
The French Lieutenant's Woman
Still Of The Night
Silkwood (as ill-fated corporate whistle blower Karen Silkwood)
Falling In Love
Out Of Africa (as Dutch baroness and writer Karen Blixen, who wrote under the name Isak Dinesen)
A Cry In the Dark
She-Devil (opposite Roseanne Barr in a comedy)
This isn't a partial list of her eighties movies; it's a complete one. And critics loved Streep in these movies even when they didn't necessarily like the movie. I don't have enough space to list all the awards and award nominations she got in this period.
She continued in the nineties with movies such as The Bridges of Madison County, directed by and co-starring Clint Eastwood (better than the book, I am told), Marvin's Room, and Music of the Heart (as a violin teacher), but her more recent roles have gained her even more recognition in recent years, such as The Devil Wears Prada (as a totalitarian fashion magazine editor), Mamma Mia! (the movie version of the Abba jukebox musical), and The Iron Lady, as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a role that had audiences cheering for Mrs. Thatcher regardless of their politics.
See how good Meryl Streep is? :-)
Again, there are too many awards and nominations involved from this later period to mention.