On the slight chance you weren’t already petitioning the courts to force Meryl Streep to adopt and re-raise you, this latest story ought to do the trick. At last night’s National Board of Review Awards (just work with me here, it’s a thing), she presented a best actress award to Emma Thompson for Saving Mr. Banks. But it wasn’t your usual “this actress deserves the award for her amazing work blah blabbity blah.” Instead it was an anti-Disney diatribe aimed at calling him out for being a racist misogynistic anti-semite. Which is allegedly referred to in KKK book clubs as being a triple threat.
While you should click here and read the whole speech on Vulture, here’s where the shade throwing really gets good:
Though he would say that because he was supposedly a hideous anti-Semite. But his poetry redeems his soul. 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.
As you probably recall, Saving Mr. Banks is a movie about Walt Disney, made by Disney. So Meryl’s speech timing was unorthodox to say the least. But she’s Meryl Streep and she’s at the glorious point in her career when she can do whatever she wants. Honestly, she could’ve dropped her drawers (and you know she call them drawers) and gone to the bathroom on that stage and no one would’ve said a thing. Sure they would’ve been shocked, but you know their shock would be followed by a standing ovation.
And before you start fretting that Meryl stole Emma Thompson’s thunder and made her big night all about herself, read just some of the wonderful things Meryl says about her in the same speech.
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. Emma considers carefully what the fuck she is putting out into the culture! Emma thinks, “Is this helpful?” Not, “Will it build my brand?” Not, “Will it give me billions?” Not, “Does this express me? Me! Me! My unique and fabulous self, into all eternity, in every universe, for all time!” That’s a phrase from my Disney contract. I’m serious! “Will I get a sequel out of it, or a boat? Or a perfume contract?”
Never in the history of presentation speeches (that I’ve seen) has one actress so wonderfully honored the winner for being a good person as well as being a good actress. Too often in Hollywood, we overlook the whole good person thing in order to recognize the good acting thing. So it’s nice to see Meryl using her celebrity powers for good. Also it’s nice to see Emma Thompson awarded for her acting. Ever since I saw her do her animal impressions on Ellen, I’ve been rooting for her to win something.