Tom Cruise congratulates Best Actress Oscar winner Meryl Streep – for Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady – backstage during the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony held at the Hollywood and Highland Center on Sunday, February 26. Cruise and Streep co-starred in Robert Redford's political/Iraq War drama Lions for Lambs in 2006; the film was a box office flop in the United States, but did solid business overseas. (Image: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.)
Tom Cruise wasn't nominated for anything this year; he was the presenter of the Best Picture Academy Award, which went to Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. Cruise's movie Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was a major late-year box office hit and received quite enthusiastic reviews. Cruise's next vehicle is Adam Shankman's Rock of Ages, featuring an eclectic cast that includes Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Paul Giamatti, Russell Brand, Will Forte, and Diego Boneta.
Meryl Streep's competition for the Best Actress Oscar was: Viola Davis for Tate Taylor's The Help, Michelle Williams (as Marilyn Monroe) for Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn, Rooney Mara for David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Glenn Close for Rodrigo García's Albert Nobbs.
Streep has been nominated for a record 17 Academy Awards. Her previous nominations include those for Michael Cimino's Vietnam War drama The Deer Hunter (1978), starring Robert De Niro; Karel Reisz's The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), with Jeremy Irons; Mike Nichols' Silkwood (1983), with Kurt Russell and Cher; Sydney Pollack's Out of Africa (1985), co-starring Robert Redford; and Hector Babenco's Ironweed (1987), with Jack Nicholson.
Also, Nichols' Postcards from the Edge (1990), in which Streep plays a fictionalized version of Star Wars' Carrie Fisher, with Shirley MacLaine as a fictionalized version of Singin' in the Rain's Debbie Reynolds; Clint Eastwood's The Bridges of Madison County (1995), in which her Italian character has an affair with Eastwood; Carl Franklin's One True Thing, playing a middle-aged woman suffering from cancer opposite Renée Zellweger, William Hurt, and Tom Everett Scott; Wes Craven's Music of the Heart (1999), as music teacher Roberta Guaspari; and David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada (2006), in which Streep plays a fictionalized version of Vogue's Anna Wintour opposite Anne Hathaway's fictionalized version of Wintour's former assistant Lauren Weisberger.
Streep's previous two Oscars were as Best Supporting Actress for Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), opposite Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry, and as Best Actress for Alan J. Pakula's Sophie's Choice (1982), opposite Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol.
Only three other performers have won three Academy Awards: Walter Brennan as Best Supporting Actor for Howard Hawks and William Wyler's Come and Get It (1936), David Butler's Kentucky (1938), and Wyler's The Westerner; Ingrid Bergman as Best Actress for George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) and Anatole Litvak's Anastasia (1956), and as Best Supporting Actress for Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express (1974); and Jack Nicholson, Streep's co-star in Mike Nichols' Heartburn (1986) and the aforementioned Ironweed, as Best Actor for Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and James L. Brooks' As Good as It Gets (1997), and as Best Supporting Actor for Brooks' Terms of Endearment (1983).
Katharine Hepburn, for her part, has won four Oscars, all in the Best Actress category: for Lowell Sherman's Morning Glory (for the period 1932-33); Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967); Anthony Harvey's The Lion in Winter (1968), tied with Barbra Streisand for William Wyler's Funny Girl; and Mark Rydell's On Golden Pond (1981).