It’s awards season in Hollywood, which means we get to endure (enjoy?) scores of acceptance speeches and scripted monologues over the coming two months, from the Golden Globes this coming Sunday night, to the Oscars in March.

And they are going to have to be pretty damn good to beat the presentation this week by a couple of “rabid man-eating feminists” Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson at the National Board of Review Gala in New York.

streep-thompsonMeryl Streep and Emma Thompson at the National Board of Review gala.

Meryl Streep was a presenter in the category of best actress, and she took the opportunity to slam awards season as “really ridiculous” for having to single out films for awards when so many are worthy.

She also got stuck into Walt Disney, the subject of the movie Saving Mr Banks (starring Emma Thompson) as being racist and sexist, but that’s another story.

Taking the stage towards the end of a long evening, Streep was then extravagant in her praise of Thompson, who she called “practically a saint” and a “rabid man-eating feminist like me”.

Here are the highlights.

“...she’s a beautiful artist, she’s a writer, she’s a thinker, she’s a living, acting conscience.

“Emma considers, carefully, what the f*ck she is putting 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? Will I get a sequel out of it, or a boat? Or, a perfume contract?

“Nobody can swashbuckle a quit-witted riposte like Emma Thompson. She’s a writer, a real writer, and she has a relish for the well-chosen word. But some of the most sublime moments in Saving Mr. Banks are completely wordless. They live in the transitions where P.L. traverses from her public face to her private spaces. I’m talking about her relentlessness when she has her verbal dukes up, and then it moves to the relaxation of her brow when she retreats into the past. It’s her stillness, her attentiveness to her younger self; her perfect aliveness, her girlish alertness.

These are qualities that Emma has as a person. She has real access to her own tenderness, and it’s one of the most disarming things about her. She works like a stevedore, she drinks like a… a bloke. She’s smart and crack, and she can be withering in a smack down of wits, but she leads with her heart, and she knows nothing is more funny than earnestness.

She also penned a poem for her friend. As for Emma Thompson herself, who came on stage sans heels, she was equally entertaining:

Bloody hell, Meryl. What greater love hath no woman, really, that she should don a frock and heels for her friend, write a poem. My god, I’m nauseous with gratitude! It may, in fact, be guilt, because I know I did ask. I’m so sorry. Thank you so much.

“It’s such a cold night, you know, it’s the only time I’ve been actively grateful for the menopause.

 “Normally on occasions like this I like to complain, loudly and at length, about the dearth of roles for women, but actually this year they seem to have behaved like buses in London, where you wait for hours for the right one, and then suddenly seventeen come along at once. And so it has been. You know, Meryl and Julia and Octavia and Lea and the Kates, both Blanchett and Winslet, it’s been an extraordinary year for women’s roles.

“I can’t think what gave me the edge; it must have been the perm (pictured right). Which was a great sacrifice; it meant no sex, of course, for months on end. And then only with animal noises accompanying it.

“The NBR, thank you so much. And thank you again, Meryl. That was an amazing experience. I’ve taken my heels off as a feminist statement really, because why do we wear them? They’re so painful. And pointless, really. You know, I really would like to urge everyone to stop it. Just stop it. Don’t wear them anymore. You just can’t walk in them, and I’m so comfortable now.”

What more inspiration do you need?





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