After a poignant introduction from actress Viola Davis, Streep took the stage and launched into a brilliant, insightful breakdown of how the Hollywood Foreign Press comprises “the most vilified segments [of] American society right now”: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.
“But who are we, and what is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places,” Streep continued, highlighting the diverse background of actresses like Viola Davis, Sarah Paulson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman and Ruth Negga. The acclaimed award winner also pointed out a surprised Ryan Gosling, who, “like all the nicest people, is Canadian.”
Streep bashed Trump by referencing a moment during a rally when he seemed to mimic a disabled reporter.
“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,” she said. “And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that – breathtaking, compassionate work. 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 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 it, and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t a movie – it was real life.”
Streep wrapped up her moving speech with some tearful words of wisdom from her late friend, Carrie Fisher. “As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me, ‘Take your broken heart and turn it into art.”
Watch Meryl Streep’s full Cecil B. DeMille Award acceptance speech.