LONDON (Reuters) - She has been nominated for an Academy Award 16 times, a record for any performer, and won twice, but to Meryl Streep, the golden statuette still matters.
The 62-year-old first attended the annual awards ceremony as a contender more than 30 years ago, when she was up for a supporting role honor in "The Deer Hunter".
The following year she won that honor for "Kramer vs. Kramer" and scooped the best actress prize with the 1982 Holocaust film "Sophie's Choice".
Since then Streep has been back as a nominee 12 times, each time leaving empty-handed.
Now the "Devil Wears Prada" star is a frontrunner again for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady".
Asked in an interview on Thursday if she still cared about the Oscars, she replied: "Sadly it still matters.
"It's so exciting, it really is. I remember the first time I went and (Laurence) Olivier was here and I was next to Gregory Peck and Bette Davis was behind me," Streep told BBC Radio.
"I mean, I've been going to that thing for many years but it's still the one."
She described The Iron Lady, in which she portrays Thatcher both at the height of her powers and as an old, forgetful woman looking back on her life, as a "Lear for girls", a reference to Shakespeare's tragedy "King Lear".
"I said it secretly, I said, 'you know what this is? This is Lear for girls'. It's concerned with the endgame and how power diminishes, how we let go of things, and that's the part that really interested me."
Streep added that tackling such a controversial figure in politics who still divides British public opinion was daunting.
"The policies that she put forward were shared by a number of people in the Conservative Party at that time, but it's how they're communicated.
"And was it (former French President Francois) Mitterrand that said she had the mouth of Marilyn Monroe and the eyes of Caligula."
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)