Two-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, continuing her sweep through awards season Tuesday by picking up a Golden Bear lifetime achievement prize at the Berlin film festival, confessed she might be overrated.
Streep told reporters ahead of a gala screening of her Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady for which she is expected to bag her third Academy Award, that she felt her peers' level of acting had soared in recent years.
Asked whether the hype around the woman frequently called the world's top actress might just be exaggerated, the 62-year-old said incredulously: "Yeah. Of course. Of course."
"I do think that the level of acting in general -- everybody talks about the golden age of Hollywood but I really think that the level of acting now is higher, deeper, more daring, more adventurous and (deeply) felt and edgy," she said.
Asked whose work might be on a par with her own best roles, she quipped, "Oh there are only 180.
"This year, particularly for women, there there have been so many wonderful performances, many of them not even nominated, for instance our co-star Olivia Colman in a film called Tyrannosaur which is absolutely breathtaking and she has not been recognised for it," she said.
Colman played Thatcher's daughter Carol in The Iron Lady.
"Anna Paquin made a film called Margaret that very few people have seen. Again, in any other year, it would have won every single award," Streep said.
"Every year we focus on a certain number of awards because of the machinery and publicity and there are many others that deserve it and that's your job to publicise them and make noise about them," she told reporters.
Ahead of the award presentation, Streep gave a rollicking press conference where she accepted a bouquet of white roses from an Austrian journalist for Valentine's Day and thanked him with a peck on the cheek.
And a Russian journalist gave her a hand-painted matryoshka doll depicting her in three of her roles including The Devil Wears Prada and The Iron Lady.
"I like very much that they reduced my nose a little bit," she joked.
Streep, who picked up Britain's BAFTA Sunday for The Iron Lady, said she tried not to get caught up in the speculation about a third Oscar.
"It's very odd to be in a position where people say to you, 'Oh I think you're going to win something, oh I don't think you have a chance this year'. Suddenly you feel like you're in a sporting event and you haven't signed up for it," she said.
"You did some work in a film that you're proud of, and you're hoping that people are going to see it and suddenly you're doing calisthenics to get ready for the Super Bowl. It's an out of body experience, it truly is."
Asked about the price she paid for her success, Streep admitted it has limited her movements.
"There are five contemporary art museums in Berlin. I would love to go to a contemporary art museum. I won't go," she said.
"It's hard, you know, because I can look at something and there are five people in front looking at me. I'm not complaining, it's very good but I miss a lot of art."
Streep, who has appeared in more than 40 films, captured a best actress Oscar for Sophie's Choice in 1982 and for best supporting actress in Kramer vs Kramer in 1979.
The Berlin festival is showing a retrospective of Streep's top films in honour of her Golden Bear.