Meryl Streep, Best Actress winner for her portrayal Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady is seen backstage at 2012 Academy Awards on February 26. (Photo: Richard D. Salyer / © A.M.P.A.S.)
"... [A]lso I want to thank — because I really understand I'll never be up here again — I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends," Streep said upon accepting her third Oscar statuette. Actually, as long as Streep continues making movies there's a not remote chance that she'll end up an Oscar winner once again. Well, at least if Katharine Hepburn's Oscar trajectory is any indication.
Between Hepburn's first and second wins (Morning Glory, 1932-33 - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, 1967), there were eight nominations and a 34-year gap. Between Streep's second and third wins (Sophie's Choice, 1982 - The Iron Lady, 2011) there were twelve nominations and a 29-year gap. (Streep's first win was as Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979.)
Hepburn's third Oscar win (for The Lion in Winter, 1968, tied with Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl) came the year after her second win. Her fourth and final victory was for On Golden Pond thirteen years later. Hepburn was 74 at the time.
Streep currently has no less than four films/projects in various stages of production/development: David Frankel's Great Hope Springs, with Steve Carell and Tommy Lee Jones; John Wells' August: Osage County, with Julia Roberts; Stanley Tucci's Mommy & Me, with Tina Fey; and an untitled Michael Patrick King project to co-star Sandra Bullock and Oprah Winfrey. Streep will turn 63 next June 22.
So, the "half of America" Streep mentioned in her Oscar-acceptance speech – not her! – better get used to the idea that the (for now) 17-time Oscar nominee will be called onstage to get a fourth statuette in the perhaps not-too-distant future. Again.