Meryl Streep’s Controversial Golden Globe Acceptance Speech

Gabbie Byers, J1 Staff Writer

After Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. Demille award Sunday at the Golden Globes, she left the audience and millions watching speechless. While most award winners take the time to personally thank those who helped them get there as well as other performers who paved the way, Streep took to the microphone to give a politically-charged statement.

As she began her jaw-dropping speech, she listed the names of favorite Hollywood actors and actresses that were not born in the United States. If you have not been keeping up with U.S politics, then you might be saying, “big deal, we all know not everyone is from the United States,” but if you have been then you know that PEOTUS Donald Trump is not too fond of having foreigners in our country. Meryl Streep’s point is that they make our Hollywood and our America. The best movies and T.V shows with your favorite actors and actresses probably have people that were born in different countries. Streep is proving a point that America is not the only country that has people with talent, but more than that, that we all make each other. Olivia Gross (11), said, “It’s smart on her part to mention the names of high-achieving people in Hollywood because, although some of those people are from other countries, they have the same potential to be successful. They are not lower than anyone else. Some of the brightest people aren’t from America and by getting rid of these people or never letting them in to begin with, we would be losing a lot of good people and talent.”  Streep said something similar by saying that if we get rid of everyone that wasn’t born in America than we wouldn’t even have a Hollywood anymore.

As she got further into her six-minute acceptance speech, she talks about being an actress and how actors and actresses do more than just perform in movies and even shape a huge part of today’s society. “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,” she said, which is hauntingly close to Obama’s quote of Atticus Finch (from the book turned movie To Kill A Mockingbird) in his Farewell Address when he said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

This couldn’t be more true. Most of us live pretty isolated lives, especially as teenagers, and we do look up the actors and actresses to give us a movie of a reality that we want to live in. We also look up at them like they’re gold; we listen to them and lots of people look up to their idols who happen to be actors and actresses. Being put in that position is a blessing that all celebrities need to cherish. You can tell by Streep’s smile just how appreciative she is to be able to be there, but she took  her opportunity seriously and used her power from being famous to spread her opinion. English teacher Lindsey Wangler shared, “It shows that Meryl is really passionate about this topic, she took the time to put politics in her speech.”

She used a lot of references to Donald Trump throughout her speech, causing the PEOTUS to take to Twitter and call her “over-rated” and a “Hilary lover,” apparently forgetting that you don’t need to be a “Hilary Lover” to be a non-violence supporter. Olivia Gross (11) tells me she is “Embarrassed to be an American” after our future president responded so immaturely on social media to the speech.

Streep also called out Trump for his July 2016 impression of a disabled reporter. In one of the most heartfelt moments of the speech, she said: “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. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. 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. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Stormm Byers (9) was especially moved by this part. He said, “I loved how she took charge and stood up for america, she made great points and it was empowering. She made you sit back and think about how people treat other people, even our own future president.”

I have re-watched her speech more than once, and I found it very moving and well spoken even if she was losing her voice. She ended the incredible speech with a great quote from the late Carrie Fisher:  “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”  This quote holds a lot of meaning; it’s telling you that when something is broken, pick it up and make it beautiful again. Meryl Streep was telling us this for the near future: no matter what happens, no matter how hard things get, you have to keep your head up and find the beauty in it. As far as awards acceptance messages go, you would be hard-pressed to find one more poignant.