Streep's Oscar hopes for Iron Lady

South Wales Guardian: Meryl Streep with her best actress Bafta for The Iron Lady Meryl Streep with her best actress Bafta for The Iron Lady

Double-Oscar winner Meryl Streep will be hoping to make it third time lucky this weekend as the great and the good of Hollywood gather for the Oscars.

The star's turn as Margaret Thatcher has secured the actress her 17th Oscar nomination, while Gary Oldman has clinched his first for his performance as a spymaster.

Streep, 62, is favourite to win best actress for her role as the former British prime minister in The Iron Lady - and has already carried off a Bafta award and a Golden Globe for her role.

British actor Oldman, 53, who has never been nominated before despite some acclaimed performances, is in the running for best actor for his role as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Silent black and white film The Artist has 10 nominations, including best film, director, actor for French star Jean Dujardin and supporting actress for Berenice Bejo. The last silent film to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars was 1928 movie The Patriot. Only one film - Hugo, Martin Scorsese's 3D ode to early cinema - has more nominations but many of its nods are in technical categories.

Streep, who last won an Oscar for 1982 movie Sophie's Choice, said she was "honoured" to be nominated. She is up against Michelle Williams for her role as screen siren Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, Glenn Close for her turn as a woman disguised as a man in Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis (The Help), and Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

Oldman - whose best actor rivals are Dujardin, George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and Mexican Demian Bichir (A Better Life) - described his nomination as "extremely humbling, gratifying and delightful".

Britons Kenneth Branagh, 51, and Albert Nobbs star Janet McTeer, 50, are also in the running for the supporting actor categories. Branagh, nominated for his performance in My Week With Marilyn, said: "It was a rare honour to play Sir Laurence Olivier. To be recognised by the Academy for doing so is overwhelming. I'm absolutely thrilled."

Steven Spielberg's War Horse, based on the National Theatre play inspired by Michael Morpurgo's novel, is among nine films up for best picture. The film, up for six awards, is pitted against The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, Moneyball and The Tree Of Life.

The 84th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, take place on Sunday at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

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