Each year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association honors one person for his or her "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." And the only thing surprising about this year's honoree is that she wasn't selected sooner. During Meryl Streep's Cecil B. DeMille Award speech at the Golden Globes, she was humble about her accomplishments — but certainly proved just how much of a force she truly is in entertainment and beyond.
Streep is certainly no stranger to the stage at the Golden Globes. With some 30 nominations, Streep is the most-nominated actor in Golden Globes history. In fact, she's been nominated in all but 12 years since 1979. That includes this year, with a Best Actress: Comedy nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins.
In all, Streep has received an incredible eight Golden Globe awards: Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture for Kramer vs. Kramer and Adaptation (1979, 2002); Best Actress, Motion Picture Drama for The French Lieutenant's Woman, Sophie's Choice, and The Iron Lady (1981, 1982, 2011); Best Actress, Miniseries or Television Film for Angels in America (2003); and Best Actress, Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia.(2006, 2009).
If that alone doesn't make the case for the Golden Globe's equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, then no one else stands a chance. But, as usual, Streep was modest about recounting her accomplishments on Sunday, and quick to share thanks with others during her speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award. But Streep wasn't entirely effusive: Her pointed, smart criticism of the president elect gave us all something to think about.
Below is the full transcript of Streep's speech at the 2017 Golden Globes:
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 segment in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press. But, who are we? And what is Hollywood, anyway? 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 sharecroppers' cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy. And Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. 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 China, raised in London, and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out, we'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.
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 are many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performance this year that stunned me. Sank a hook in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its 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 that. 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 it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, filters down into everyone's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence invites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account... That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So, I only ask the famously well-healed Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to support journalists. Because we're going to need them going forward and they're going to 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 something — Tommy Lee Jones said to me, "Isn't it such a privilege, 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 honors here today. As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, "Take your broken heart, make it into art." Thank you.
Few could weave such themes in a short speech. But, then again, none are like Meryl Streep.