Why Meryl Streep should get her own Oscar category

Why Meryl Streep should get her own Oscar category
Who's afraid of Meryl Streep? This year's answer to that is, of course - Glenn Close, Michelle Williams, Viola Davis and Rooney Mara who surely must be both thrilled and rueful that her first Oscar nomination is cheek by jowl with a name so hallowed.

Being nominated for an Oscar is largely an annual event now for Meryl Streep. She has been nominated an incredible 17 times, the seventeenth being this year's Best Actress nod for playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. If she wins, it will be for the third time. She previously won Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs Kramer in 1980 and Best Actress for Sophie's Choice in 1983.

Beginning with The Deer Hunter in 1979, Oscar nominations have come thick and fast for Meryl Streep. In the Eighties, there was hardly a year when she didn't feature on the Academy lists. Each time, she has been in illustrious company:

1982: Nominated for The French Lieutenant's Woman. Other nominees included Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon. Katharine Hepburn won.

1983: Won for Sophie's Choice. Nominated with her were Julie Andrews, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek and Debra Winger.

1984: Nominated for Silkwood. She lost to Shirley Maclaine.

1986: Nominated for Out Of Africa. Other nominees included Whoopi Goldberg and Jessica Lange.

1988: Nominated for Ironweed, losing to Cher for Moonstruck. Also nominated were Glenn Close and Holly Hunter.

1989: Nominated for A Cry In The Dark, losing to Jodie Foster. Keeping company were Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith.

In the Nineties and early Noughties, she skipped a few years in between appearances:

1991: Nominated for Postcards From The Edge. Other nominees included Julia Roberts, Anjelica Huston and Kathy Bates who won.

1996: Nominated for The Bridges of Madison County losing to Susan Sarandon. Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Shue and Emma Thompson were also nominated.

1999: Nominated for One True Thing. Cate Blanchett and Emily Watson were nominated with her. Gwyneth Paltrow won.

2000: Nominated for Music Of The Heart, with Annette Bening, Janet McTeer and Julianne Moore. They lost to Hilary Swank.

2003: Best Supporting Actress: Nominated for Adaptation, losing to Catherine Zeta-Jones. Kathy Bates, Julianne Moore and Queen Latifah were also nominated.

But was back with a bang from:

2007: Nominated for The Devil Wears Prada, losing to Helen Mirren. Also nominated were Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet.

2009: Nominated for Doubt. Other nominees included Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway. Kate Winslet won.

2010: Nominated for Julie & Julia, losing to Sandra Bullock. Helen Mirren and Carey Mulligan were also nominated.

And there she'll be this year again.

Do the math. She's been at the Oscars nearly every year, give or take a few, and shows no signs of letting up. And while she's lost the Oscar many more times than she won it, there's no doubt whatsoever that being nominated in a Meryl Streep year gives four actresses sleepless nights like nothing else does.

Easier all round then to simply give her a category to herself and be done with it?