Meryl Streep uses Golden Globes to excoriate Trump in tearful acceptance speech

Meryl Streep holds the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards. (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

Meryl Streep holds the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards. (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

US actors turned the 2017 Golden Globe Awards into a scathing attack on Donald Trump, with several of the evening’s winners using their acceptance speech to deride the president-elect.

The Golden Globes, organised by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, were handed out on Sunday in Beverly Hills, honouring the best of film and television.

Meryl Streep, who received a lifetime achievement award , said she had been heartbroken by Trump’s imitation of a disabled reporter during his campaign.

“There was one performance this year that stunned me,” Streep said.

“It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter.”

The three-time Oscar winner was referring to a 2015 incident at a South Carolina rally when Trump flailed his arms and slurred in his speech in an apparent mocking of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a physical disability.

Trump later denied he was imitating the reporter.

“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,” Streep said.

“This instinct to humiliate when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform by someone powerful it filters down into everybody’s life. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence.”

While Streep did not name Trump directly, she used almost the entire speech to criticise his behavior and policies, while calling for Hollywood to stand strong against any attacks and to support a free press through organisations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The audience sat in stunned silence for much of it.

Streep earned a cheer from the crowd when she said that, “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners”.

“If you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not art,” she said.

Trump, who takes office on January 20, made a tough stance on immigration a cornerstone of his campaign. Hollywood actors and studio executives were mostly behind his Democratic party rival Hillary Clinton.

Streep ended her speech with a nod to her long-time friend, “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher, who died last month after a heart attack.

“As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, ‘Take your broken heart and make it into art’,” Streep said, her voice cracking with emotion.

The Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted to the actress : “Thank you Meryl Streep for your generosity & support of our mission to protect journalists and press freedom around the world”. 


‘Honouring popular vote’

The evening was presented by late night television host Jimmy Fallon, who fired off a fusillade of jokes, several aimed at Trump.

Fallon saluted the Globes as “one of the few places where America still honours the popular vote”, referring to the fact that Clinton got more votes in total than Trump.

Then, noting that “Game of Thrones” was among this year’s nominated series, he said some fans had wondered how that show would have unfolded had the childish, villainous King Joffrey survived, and not died, a while back.

“Well, in 12 days,” Fallon cracked, “we’re gonna find out”.

Perhaps he summed things up best by pointing to the notably bleak nominated film “Manchester by the Sea” - “the only thing from 2016,” he said, “that was more depressing than 2016”.

A bit later, Hugh Laurie, winning best supporting actor in a limited series for “The Night Manager,” kept the mordant party going with his acceptance remarks.

He began by voicing thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for his win at “the last-ever Golden Globes”.

“I don’t mean to be gloomy,” he went on, “it’s just that it has the words ‘Hollywood,’ ‘foreign’ and ‘press’ in the title.” Cheers rang out.

“I also think that, to some Republicans, even the word ‘association’ is slightly sketchy.”

Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” won best foreign language film and its star, Isabelle Huppert, was crowned best actress in a drama. The French actress vowed: “Do not expect cinema to put up walls and borders.” - Al Jazeera

Watch the video and read the full transcript of Streep’s speech below: 


Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I have 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 in 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 was born in a sharecropper’s 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 in 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 London — no, in Ireland I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a girl in small-town Virginia.

Ryan Gosling, like all of the nicest people, is Canadian, and Dev Patel was born in Kenya, 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 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 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 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, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose. O.K., go on with it.

O.K., this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the 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 gonna need them going forward, and they’ll 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 gonna work through supper or the long hours or whatever, 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 proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art.

 

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