Meryl Streep brought politics back to Hollywood at the Golden Globes on Sunday evening with a powerful acceptance speech that excoriated Donald Trump and his mocking of a disabled reporter during the election campaign.
Ms Streep, Hollywood’s most decorated and revered actress with three Oscar wins, was accepting the Cecile B DeMille award for lifetime achievement when she tore into Mr Trump.
In front of a primetime audience of millions on NBC, Ms Streep, who won her last Oscar in 2011 playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, said she had been “stunned” by his mockery of the disabled journalist, which occurred at one of Mr Trump’s rallies.
“It was effective and it did its job,” she said. “It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth.
“This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled 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,” she added. “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.”
She ended the speech, in which she did not mention Mr Trump by name, with a plea on behalf of the press, asking the Hollywood stars in attendance to support the Committee for the Protection of Journalism, “because we’re going to need them going forward”.
Ms Streep was rapturously received at the Beverly Hilton but her criticism signalled the chasm that has opened between the incoming administration and Hollywood. Mr Trump has struggled to convince a single entertainer of note to perform at his inauguration on January 20, with big acts who have been approached, including Elton John and Celine Dion, turning down the invitation.
Ms Streep was quickly denounced by conservative commentators on social media. Meghan McCain, daughter of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, wrote on Twitter that Ms Streep’s speech was “why Trump won. And if people in Hollywood don’t start recognising why and how — you will help him get re-elected.”
The Golden Globes kick-start Hollywood’s award season and are often a good indicator of the films likely to be in the running for the Oscars. An early favourite is La La Land, Damien Chazelle’s contemporary musical that scooped a record seven Globes, including wins for its stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
Isabelle Huppert was a surprise winner for Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, while Casey Affleck won best actor in a drama for Manchester by the Sea. Moonlight, a critical favourite, won best drama despite missing out on the acting awards, while there were also wins for the BBC-AMC co-production The Night Manager, which starred Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Coleman.
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