An extensive look at Meryl Streep's record-breaking history with the Golden Globes — and its tragic beginning

By Ale Russian
Updated January 07, 2017 12:35 PM

The 74th Golden Globe Awards are just around the corner, and Hollywood’s favorite golden girl is nominated once again!

Legendary actress Meryl Streep has scored a record-breaking 30th nod — more than any other actor in the history of the Globes. Since 1979, the actress has consistently racked up nods for her acting throughout her lengthy career. In fact, Streep has only been kept off the ballot just 12 years out of the 37 since her first nod — doubling up on nominations in 2003, 2009 and 2010.

Take a look back on her long history with the Globes, and a beginning steeped in tragedy.

See all the Golden Globes nominees and get your own ballot here!

Triumph Amid Heartbreak

Streep’s first nomination came in 1979 for The Deer Hunter, which costarred Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. Set in rural Pennsylvania, the story centers on a group of Russian Americans whose lives have been affected by their deployment in the Vietnam War.

Also in the film was Streep’s love at the time, the late John Cazale, in his final role. Streep and Cazale spent the summer of 1977 filming the movie together in Steubenville, Ohio, all while Cazale was dying of bone cancer — a diagnosis they kept from the rest of the cast.

Credit: Everett Collection/Mondadori Portfolio

Streep headed to Austria shortly after filming The Deer Hunter to work on the TV series Holocaust, but Cazale was too ill to accompany her on the trip. “I wanted to go home,” Streep told Time about filming the series. “John was very sick and I wanted to be with him. But they just kept extending the damn thing. It was like being in prison for two [and a half] months.”

After rushing back to New York, the actress became Cazale’s full-time caretaker, even moving into the hospital with him in the final months. There, she would accompany him and try to lift his spirits by reading the sports pages in the exaggerated manner of the era’s sports announcers, according to Time.

Credit: Ken Regan/Camera 5/Getty

The Godfather actor died at the age of 42 in March 1978; he and Streep had been dating for three years. In Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, biographer Michael Schulman writes that at the moment the actor died, Streep was reportedly so overcome with emotion that she collapsed into Cazale and began pounding on his chest, crying for him to wake up. And for a quick second, Cazale opened his eyes and reassured Streep she would be okay before closing his eyes for the final time, according to the book.

Nine months after Cazale’s tragic death, Streep earned her first Golden Globe nomination, in the supporting actress category, for her role in the film, though she did not attend the ceremony. Dyan Cannon ended up winning that category for her performance in Heaven Can Wait.

Streep, however, wouldn’t have to wait long for her own moment of victory — it would arrive the following year.

First Win and Longest Streak

In 1980, Streep — who was now married to sculptor Don Gummer and had their first child, son Henry — won the Globes’ best supporting actress award for her acclaimed work in Kramer vs. Kramer, the film that would also eventually land her an Oscar. After her victory, the actress went on to collect two more Golden Globes: for The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1982 and Sophie’s Choice in 1983 — an unprecedented winning streak that saw her score a total of three trophies on her last three nominations.

After 1983, however, Streep was kept off the winners’ podium for two decades, though she continued to be nominated consistently. She scored six consecutive nods, from 1995 to 2000, for her performances in films like The River Wild, The Bridges of Madison County and One True Thing.

Comeback Year

After 20 years, Streep was finally awarded her fourth Golden Globe, in 2003, for her supporting work in the wry comedy Adaptation. In an endearing speech marked by Streep’s utter surprise at finally winning again, the actress couldn’t help but make jabs about how long it had been since the last time her name was called.

“I’ve just been nominated 789 times and I was getting so settled over there for a long winter’s nap,” Streep said to the delighted crowd, who gave her a standing ovation. “I didn’t have anything prepared because it’s been, like, since the Pleistocene Era that I’ve won anything.”

Later Success

Streep’s 2003 victory marked the end of her awards drought, and through 2017, she’d end up scoring 12 more nominations. She’d win four more times: for her work in Angels in America, The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia and — her most recent prize — 2012’s The Iron Lady.

Credit: Trae Patton/NBC/Getty Images

At this year’s ceremony, the record-breaking actress will be receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award in honor of her celebrated career.

And, well, because she’s Meryl Streep, this year she’s also nominated for best performance by an actress in a comedy or musical for her turn in Florence Foster Jenkins.

The 74th Golden Globe Awards — hosted by Jimmy Fallon — will air on Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. on NBC. See all the Golden Globes nominees and get your own ballot here!