Many will probably look at this choice on this list and suggest, ‘What performance has Meryl NOT deserved to win?!’ Yet there is one reason why her performance in The Bridges of Madison County is on this list: Because it is perhaps Meryl Streep’s most subtle performance in her career. I personally believe that Meryl Streep’s most popular performances are those that are flashy and completely transformative (i.e. The Iron Lady, Doubt). However, with The Bridges of Madison County, we are shown a performance that is tremendously restrained yet filled with much internalized emotion. Clint Eastwood’s film depended upon himself and Streep’s performances. Without the believability of their performances, the audience wouldn’t believe that a mere five day affair could last a lifetime for both characters.
Her role as Francesca Johnson is that of a simple woman who is introduced to a world of wonder through Robert Kincaid’s (Eastwood) arrival in the quaint midwest town she lives in. What starts as a simple fascination for Kincaid turns into a romance that absorbs them both and creates the temptation of embarking on a new life together. The Bridges of Madison County is a tremendously beautiful and romantic film, yet the film hinged on Streep’s performance and she doesn’t disappoint in the slightest.
Lost to: Susan Sarandon for Dead Man Walking (1995)