The actress who received the Cecil B. DeMille Award touched on migration, freedom of speech and the role of media in her accepting speech and slammed Donald Trump’s policy.

Moved to tears, Meryl Streep took the stage to a standing ovation to accept the special award of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. Streep lost her voice as she supported nominees during the ceremony, but she noted losing voice was a lesser less evil compared to what the country and she personally faced at the end of 2016.

The recent US presidential election gave social and political overtones to Meryl Streep’s speech. She recalled Hugh Laurie’s words about president-elect Donald Trump and his team’s official rhetoric that vilifies Hollywood actors, journalists and migrants in today’s America.

“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,” she said in a trembling voice with tears in her eyes when accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for contributions in the film industry.

The actress particularly mentioned the performance that stunned her last year. It was mocking New York Times disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski by Donald Trump. “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,” Meryl Streep noted.

“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” she continued.

The actress emphasised the role of free speech and honest journalism in opposing Trump’s attempts to compel public discourse to his will: “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. … We're going to need them going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Meryl Streep quoted Carrie Fisher at the end of her speech: “As my friend the dear, departed Princess Leia said to me once, 'Take your broken heart, make it into art.'”

The actress’s speech became a top moment of the evening and the most discussed episode of the awards ceremony. It became a trending topic on social media and already received support from Sharon Stone, Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox and Anna Kendrick.

Meryl Streep is called by critics one of the greatest actresses of our time. She has won three Oscars and eight Golden Globes, remaining the most nominated actress for both awards. She also received awards at major film festivals in Berlin and Cannes, won BAFTA and Emmy awards. The Cecil B. DeMille Award has been bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association since 1952 for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. Winners of the award include Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Alfred Hitchcock and Elizabeth Taylor.

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