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Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes Speech, Explained

The left in general, and the entertainment industry in particular, haven’t dealt with Donald Trump’s Election Day triumph in a healthy fashion.

That made it likely Trump would come up early and often during Sunday’s Golden Globes telecast.

I placed the Over/Under on the first political salvo at 2:45 minutes. Host Jimmy Fallon delivered a joke about the popular vote being honored before the one minute mark of his monologue. (For the record The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a cloistered cabal of quasi-journalists with a rickety reputation. To suggest their selections reflect a “popular vote” is a joke to most in the hall.)

The night’s low point came when Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement. Such a relief to see the most decorated performer ever to finally get acknowledgement.

And the actress chose the moment to deliver a rambling political screed directed at Trump and the segments of America which did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

Below is her speech in its entirety, with my interjections free of charge

“Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please sit down. 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.

  • Might help to explain things to remember this admission by Meryl.

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.

  • Two of those segments – Hollywood and the Press – have been openly antagonistic towards a wide swath of this country. The vilification is earned in the eyes of many.

But who are we? And, you know, what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and created in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, and grew up in Central falls, Long Island. Sarah Paulson was raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Italy. Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Ethiopia, raised in — no, 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, is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania.

  • That Streep feels this is a revelatory statement to anyone shows her attitude towards those same people.

Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

  • Maybe unwise to say this during the NFL playoffs? Nobody, including the hated Mr. Trump, is saying “kick ‘em all out.” She’s slaying a straw man, but I’ll play along. How about we film these deportations of celebrities — we could watch THAT!

They gave me three seconds to say this. 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.

  • Cute, the way she used “only” here. Streep, and way too many other celebrities, feel the need to work on telling America what is correct.

And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, passionate 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.

  • If unaware, she is referring to Trump’s suspected mockery of a reporter on the campaign trail.

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. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.

  • Here is the most lauded actor in the profession is saying to us a Trump speech was the performance she remembers the most? I’m dubious.

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 kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

  • Maybe it was just poor timing the day before the ceremony a left-leaning CEO Melinda Byerley wrote how fly-over America will never draw corporations to their jerkwater areas because they are idiots and intolerant rubes.

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence.

  • Lovely words, delivered by those on the left saying “Never My President” and who rioted after an election

When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

  • Did Streep, speaking at the Democrat convention, voice this displeasure when Obama’s IRS target conservative groups?

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 founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution.

  • I guess she is admitting the press has effectively been on vacation for 8 years.

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.

  • Hollywood celebrities, whose careers are based on creating fantasies, are going to be the arbiters of truth.

One more thing. Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to 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 very 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. Thank you.”

  • I don’t think at a Hollywood awards show you have any shortage in pride.

Of course members of the media were largely supportive of what Meryl had to say. CNN’s Brian Stelter summed it up:

Uh, yeah — Brian? They have been saying it. They have not been able to pipe down since November. The likelihood is there is going to be yet another celebrity PSA video getting released this week.

The issue with Hollywood is not that they won’t say what is on their minds. It’s that they won’t shut up.

Brad Slager is a freelance writer who has contributed to Big Hollywood, The Federalist and Movieline. Follow him on Twitter @MartiniShark

Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks. via / CC BY


  1. So many people who voted for Trump are upset about this, but not me. It was not a surprise that these was one of these speeches last night. Aside from the snippets from Laurie and unfunny jokes from Fallon, I was surprised there wasn’t more. But then, this is what stands for being brave in Hollywood.

  2. Someone should tell Meryl that Amy Adams was born on a U.S. MILITARY BASE in Italy. Both parents were, and are, American citizens. By law, our princess is a Natural Born Citizen, and therefore, the “Italy” thing is irrelevant to your, um, ‘argument’.

    In short, Meryl, leave Amy out of this.

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