After a moving introduction from performer Viola Davis, Streep took the stage and launched right into a fantastic, insightful breakdown of how the Hollywood Foreign Press constitutes “the most vilified segments [of] American society right now”.
“But who are we, and what is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places,”
“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, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that – breathtaking, compassionate 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. 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 a movie – it was real life.”
Streep wrapped up her moving speech with a few tearful words of wisdom from her late friend, Carrie Fisher. “As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me, ‘Take your broken heart and turn it into art.” You can watch her full speech below.