Meryl Streep took the stage at the National Board of Review awards on Tuesday night to honor her friend, actress Emma Thompson. Streep introduced Thompson, who was being presented with the Best Actress award at the event for her role in "Saving Mr. Banks," with a speech only she could pull off.
The sermon, which Streep introduced as the "long, bitter more truthful version," praised Thompson for both her personality and her recent work in "Saving Mr. Banks," the film about "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers' relationship with Walt Disney, dinged awards season, and called out Disney for being racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic.
Below, some highlights, via Vulture.
- "Ezra Pound said, 'I have not met anyone worth a damn who was not irascible.' Well, I have — Emma Thompson. Not only is she not irascible, she's practically a saint. There's something so consoling about that old trope, but Emma makes you want to kill yourself because she's a beautiful artist, she's a writer, she's a thinker, she's a living, acting conscience."
- "Disney, who brought joy, arguably, to billions of people, was perhaps ... or had some racist proclivities. He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group. And he was certainly, on the evidence of his company's policies, a gender bigot."
- "...Which brings me to awards season. Which is really ridiculous. We have made so many beautiful movies this year, and to single out one seems unfair."
- And the kicker, an ode Streep wrote to Thompson: "We think the Brits are brittle, they think that we are mush / They are more sentimental, though we do tend to gush / Volcanoes of emotion concealed beneath that lip / Where we are prone to guzzle, they tip the cup and sip / But when eruption bubbles from nowhere near the brain / It's seismic, granite crumbles, the heart overflows like rain / Like lava, all that feeling melts down like Oscar gold / And Emma leaves us reeling, a knockout, truth be told."
To read the full text of the speech, head over to Vulture.