The INSIDER Summary:
• Meryl Streep was given the C
ecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”
• She used her speech time to shed light on the diverse world of Hollywood and encourage everyone to practice empathy in the face of the coming Trump administration.
The 74th annual Golden Globes ceremony had several memorable moments, but none brought the room to a standstill quite like Meryl Streep’s five minutes onstage.
The actress accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award (presented by equally-stunning speaker Viola Davis) and used her stage time to speak out against President-elect Donald Trump — though Streep never used his name.
Instead, she named several actors in the audience including Amy Adams, Natalie Portman, Ruth Negga, and Dev Patel and spoke about how many of Hollywood’s stars come from all over the world. Streep also made a plea to the people in the room to join with her in speaking out in favour of the press and encouraged everyone to celebrate the practice of empathy.
Scroll to read the full transcription, or watch the clip now:
“I love you all but you’ll have to forgive me — I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I had lost my mind sometime earlier this year so I have to read. Thank you Hollywood Foreign Press, just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said you and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments of American society right now. Think about it — Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.
But who are we? And what is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina and came up in Central Fall’s Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mum in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio.
Amy Adams was born in Vincenza, Italy and Natalie Portman was born in Jeruselem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in Ireland I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, and is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania.
So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we can’t all come out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts (which are not the arts).
They gave me three seconds to say this, so. An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work.
But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart — not because it was good, there was nothing good about it — but it was effective and it did it’s job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment, when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country, imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back.
It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when its modelled by someone in a public platform, but someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life. Because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
Disrespect invites disrespect. Violences incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
OK — this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founder’s enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we’re going to need them going forward and they will need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, you know we were going to work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, ‘Isn’t it such a priviledge, Meryl, just to be an actor?’
Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honours here tonight. As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, take your broken heart — make it into art.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook erupted in digital applause for Streep’s commentary. Many who celebrated her words were either in the media and press industry or part of the Hollywood community.
Catch up with more of INSIDER’s Golden Globes coverage here.
I’m naming my firstborn Meryl Streep’s 2017 Golden Globes Speech
— Madeline Hill (@mad_hill) January 9, 2017
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