Meryl Streep has won an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for "The Iron Lady," marking her third Academy Award win and record 17th nomination.
Streep, 62, beat nominees Glenn Close of "Albert Nobbs," Rooney Mara of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," Viola Davis of "The Help" and Michelle Williams of "My Week With Marilyn." The winners of the 2012 Academy Awards were named at a Los Angeles ceremony on Sunday, February 26.
"Oh my God," Streep said in her acceptance speech. "Oh, come on! Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. When they called my name I had this feeling I can hear half of America going, 'Oh no, oh come on, why her, again? But whatever."
She thanked her husband, Don, first, saying: "Everything I value most in our lives, you've given me."
She then thanked all of her friends in the entertainment industry.
"I look out here and see my life before my eyes. My old friends, my new friends. This is such a great honro buu the thing that counts the most with me is the friends and the love and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together. Thank you, all of you, departed and here, in this inexplicably wonderful career. Thank you."
"The Iron Lady" is based on the nickname and political life of Margaret Thatcher, a 86-year-old Conservative leader and Britain's first and only female prime minister. In January, Streep won a Golden Globe for her role and uttered an expletive during her speech.
Streep had put on a British accent to play the part. She also put on an accent for her previous Oscar-winning role as a Polish mother and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp in the 1982 film "Sophie's Choice." She won her first Academy Award in 1980, for the film "Kramer vs. Kramer."
"The Iron Lady" was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup.
Thatcher served as the UK prime minister between 1979 and 1990. She maintained a tough stance against communism, led the Conservative party in its battle against the nation's trade unions and helped secure the 1981 release of 52 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days by Islamic militants in Iran.
"There isn't any other role like this, because we've never had a female Prime Minister in the western world, ever! To be generous, this character is unusual but what's not unusual is the point of view from which the film looks at that life," Streep said at the film's New York premiere, in an interview provided by The Weinstein Company. "It's her point of view - it's a very subjective look at a very big life, but it is a look back from the waning edge of power. It's a look back at power from the point of view of powerlessness."
In 2008, it was revealed Thatcher, who survived an assassination attempt by the Irish Republican Army in 1984 and several small strokes in 2002, suffered from dementia.
The film is set in 1982 and tracks Thatcher in the 17 days before the two-and-a-half-month-long Falklands War, whose victory spurred increased approval ratings that ultimately helped lead her to win a second term.
Streep will next appear in "Great Hope Springs," which is set for release in 2012 and depicts a middle-aged couple who undergo counseling after 30 years of marriage. Others attached to star include Philip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos." The movie is directed by David Frankel of "The Devil Wears Prada," which earned Streep an Academy Award nod.
Earlier this month, it was also announced the Streep and Julia Roberts will play a mother and daughter in the new film "August: Osage County," which is based on a dark, comedic play and is set for release in 2013.