What would an awards show be without an accolade for Meryl Streep? At Sunday night’s Golden Globes ceremony, the living treasure was the only talent able to walk into the auditorium with advance knowledge of her win, thanks to her previously announced Cecile B. DeMille Award win.
The HFPA’s version of a Lifetime Achievement award, the Cecile B. DeMille Award is given to recipients for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Named after the legendary director of such films as “Cleopatra,” “Samson and Delilah” and “The Ten Commandments,” the award was first given out in 1952 and has been doled out continuously since, save for the 1976 and 2008 ceremonies, where it was not awarded to anyone.
Streep’s honor was — appropriately enough — introduced by America’s other best living actress, Viola Davis, who, earlier in the evening, picked up a Globe for her supporting turn in Denzel Washington’s “Fences.”
“She is an observer and a thief,” Davis said of Streep’s talents, as a bemused Streep nodded and laughed from the audience. “You make me proud to be an artist.” (May we all be so lucky as to receive a lifetime achievement award as presented by Davis.)
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After an alternately amusing and wrenching highlight reel (zinging from “Mamma Mia!” to “Doubt” to “Postcards From the Edge” to “Silkwood” will do that to a person), Streep took the stage to accept the honor.
“What is Hollywood?,” Streep said to the rapt audience, before ticking off the birthplaces of a number of her nominee brethren — immigrants, many of them — from Ryan Gosling to Ruth Negga to Dev Patel to Amy Adams. And she wasn’t even close to done.
“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” Streep added. “And if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing left to watch but football mixed marital arts, which are not the arts!”
Streep went on to detail her reaction to President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign trail reaction to a disabled member of the press, telling the crowd, “It kind of broke my heart when I saw it.”
“It wasn’t in a movie. It was real life,” she continued.
She ended with a message to Hollywood, the press and America at large.
“We need a principled press,” she said. “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’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”
Earlier this year, Streep starred in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” for which she won the Critics Choice Award for Best Actress in a Comedy. She is nominated in the same category at this year’s Globes, and is also a SAG nominee for Best Actress.
Recent recipients of the award include Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster and Morgan Freeman. The first woman to receive the honor was Judy Garland back in 1962. At 39 years of age at the time of the award, she was also the youngest honoree ever to receive the DeMille.
The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards aired coast-to-coast on NBC on Sunday, January 8 from the Beverly Hilton Hotel, featuring host Jimmy Fallon.