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Meryl Streep Academy Awards 2012 Best Actress Winner

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In what might have been the tightest race of Oscar night, Meryl Streep beat Viola Davis to win Best Actress at the 84th annual Academy Awards. With 17 nominations, Streep is the most lauded actor in the history of the Oscars; this is her third win.

"When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, 'Ohhh, no,'" the ever-delightful Streep said during her acceptance speech. She went on to tearfully thank her husband.

Streep won the award for playing Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," following her reign as Britain's Prime Minister and into her more troubled twilight years. This win ends her 29-year losing streak; the last time Streep took home a trophy was in 1983 for her role in "Sophie's Choice."

It was down to the wire whether Streep would prevail over Davis. The pair are close friends after appearing together in "Doubt"; Streep won the Golden Globe and BAFTA award, but Davis grabbed Best Actress the Screen Actors Guild Awards -- a victory which many thought would lead to an Oscar.

In addition to Davis, Streep defeated Michelle Williams ("My Week With Marilyn"), Rooney Mara ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") and Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs") for the trophy.

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