Meryl Streep wouldn't want to start out as an actress now.

The 60-year-old star, who has been nominated a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of cookery writer Julia Child in comedy film 'Julie and Julia', claims many new actresses are too self aware and it ruins their ability to do their job well.

She said: "The world was different when I was a young actress. These days there's so much scrutiny, everyone's so self aware, and that self consciousness is the thing that kills your acting ability.

"What you look like, and how you seem, is all young actors consume themselves with instead of their characters. It makes it so much harder to be fresh each time."

However Meryl does admit she never believed she would be an actress full time and she had her heart set on a legal career.

She told Stylist magazine: "I loved it, but I thought it was frivolous. I remember thinking, 'OK this is stupid. Oh yeah, you're going to be an actress, sure. I'm going to do something serious with my life. I'm going to be an environmental lawyer'.

"Then I slept through the law school admission test, so I took it as a sign from heaven to stay in drama school."

Meryl goes against British actress Carey Mulligan and Dame Helen Mirren as well as Sandra Bullock and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe for the Best Actress prize at Sunday's ceremony (07.03.10).