6. "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979)
Streep was originally cast in a small role as a one-night stand of Dustin Hoffman’s character in Robert Benton’s Oscar-garlanded divorce drama, with Kate Jackson set to play Joanna, Hoffman’s inconstant, war-ready ex-wife, until Jackson was forced to drop out due to her inflexible “Charlie’s Angels” shooting schedule. Her loss was Streep’s gain. She won her first Oscar here, and deservedly so: she dares to make the character glassily unreasonable, yet makes perfect emotional sense of her in a shattering courtroom speech that the actress allegedly wrote herself.
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures