Meryl Streep hits the blue carpet for "The Iron Lady"

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 04: Meryl Streep attends the European Premiere of The Iron Lady at BFI Southbank on January 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)
Stuart Wilson
Meryl Streep attends the European premiere of "The Iron Lady" on Jan. 4, 2012 in London, England.

(CBS/AP) Meryl Streep seemed to stay true to the Margaret Thatcher look at the European premiere of "The Iron Lady" on Wednesday.

Pictures: "The Iron Lady" European premiere
Pictures: Meryl Streep

The event, which took place at the British Film Institute Southbank, saw Streep walking the specially-laid blue carpet, donning a royal blue coat over a black dress. But it's not Streep's outfit that's getting all of the attention. It's the buzz surrounding a possible Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the former British prime minister.

She's a double Oscar winner with a knack for accents, but Streep says playing Margaret Thatcher was a challenge - although her own experience helped her understand the struggles faced by Britain's first female prime minister.

"It was extremely daunting, because I'm from New Jersey," Streep said in an interview ahead of the premiere. "And yet as an outsider, I felt something of what she might have felt."

Streep, who won Academy Awards for "Kramer Vs. Kramer" and "Sophie's Choice," said her youthful experience as one of a handful of women at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire helped her understand Thatcher's isolation. In 1970, Streep spent a term as an exchange student at the men-only college, which became coeducational in 1972.

"There were 60 of us and 6,000 men, and I had a little flashback to that moment," Streep said. "And so a little bit of my emotional work was done for me."

Streep, 62, has been nominated for a Golden Globe and looks likely to get a 17th Oscar nomination for her spookily accurate performance as Thatcher, who led Britain from 1979 until 1990.

"The Iron Lady," directed by Phyllida Law, co-stars Jim Broadbent and Olivia Colman. It started hitting U.S. theaters in December, and opens in the U.K. on Friday.