In the film Meryl plays Violet Weston, the 65-year-old Weston family matriarch who is suffering from mouth cancer.
Violet is addicted to several prescription drugs which cause her to rant and reveal the family's deepest secrets. As a result, her relatives begin to pull together to help her get clean.
The nomination is an honour befitting a woman of Meryl’s stature. No one inhabits a character as completely as the triple Oscar winner, who is now the most nominated movie star in Academy history.
From a ruthless magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada and a mother wrongly accused of murdering her baby in Cry in the Dark, to the ditzy hotel owner in Mamma Mia! no transformation is too much for the 64-year-old.
Meryl previously hinted about how she works her magic in an interview with the Telegraph.
"I feel defensive about every character I play and I defend them as if they’re my own," explained the actress. "Because for the time I embody them, they feel like me."
It's an approach co-star Emily Blunt has seen in action.
"When we were doing The Devil Wears Prada she definitely adopted a certain cool on set, sort of remained very much in this reserved territory," she said.
"And then when my husband John (Krasinski) worked with her, she was playing a very vivacious, gregarious character, so she was just a ball of fun."