Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States in less than two weeks. There’s not much we can do about it—besides, of course, march, voice our concerns at a rally, donate to various non-profits that are likely be defunded soon, start a middle-finger manicure movement, and drink heavily. But in Meryl Streep’s case, she decided to stand before America at one of the largest entertainment awards ceremonies in the world—the 74th Annual Golden Globes, which were held in Beverly Hills last night—and criticize the soon-to-be-President’s foul behavior along the campaign trail, calling on the media to hold him accountable for his actions.
“You, and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society,” she said, echoing The Night Manager’s Hugh Laurie’s earlier sentiments about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “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.” She went on, citing the birthplaces of a handful of foreign-born actors like Ruth Negga (Ethiopia), Amy Adams (Italy), Natalie Portman (Jerusalem), Ryan Gosling (Canada), and Dev Patel (London). “Where are their birth certificates?” she asked. “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick 'em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
Streep was up for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role as a New York heiress in Florence Foster Jenkins, her 29th Golden Globe nomination. And while she didn't win that honor (it instead went to La La Land's Emma Stone), she did receive the prestigious Cecile B. DeMille Award, which is the HFPA’s equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. (Past recipients include George Clooney, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, and most recently, Denzel Washington.) The award was presented to her by her Doubt co-star Viola Davis, who won Best Actress for her role in Fences.
“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,” Streep said. “And there were many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that—breathtaking, compassionate work.” (Moonlight, Barry Jenkins’ heart-wrenching drama about black queer youth, comes to mind.) “But there was one performance this year that stunned me,” she added. “It sank its hooks in my heart.” Without uttering his name, Streep tearfully recounted Trump’s cruel mocking of disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski at a South Carolina rally. "Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose." Indeed we do, Meryl.
The prolific actress capped off her speech with a plea for her fellow Hollywood comrades to protect and support journalists—“we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’re gonna need us to safeguard the truth,” she said—and for the press to call Trump out on “every outrage.” She ended it, though, with a quote from the late Carrie Fisher: “Take your broken heart and turn it into art."
Watch Streep’s impassioned speech, below.