Last night Viola Davis introduced Meryl Streep, who received the Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award, and she set off a round of wet eye syndrome that continued through Streep’s incredible acceptance. These two magical women provided great reward for those of us who made it through the insufferable Fallon’s disastrous hosting and round after round of unfunny, awful jokes. So, if you (purposely or not) missed the show, here are both, in full.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please sit down. Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all, but you’ll have to forgive me, I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend, and I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year so I have to read.
Thank you Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said, you and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press. But who are we? And, you know, what is Hollywood any way? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola (Davis) was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates?
And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia raised in Lon–no in Ireland I do believe and she’s here nominated for playing a small town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian, and Dev Patelwas born in Kenya *, raised in London and is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick ‘em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.
They gave me three seconds to say this so… 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 and there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that – breathtaking compassionate work, but 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, and 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 ‘cause 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. Okay, go up with that thing. Okay, this brings me to the press. We need the principle press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution so I only ask the famously well-healed Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists ‘cause we’re going to need them going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing: Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, you know, we were going to work through supper or the long hours or whatever Tommy Lee Jones said to me, ‘Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?’ Yeah it is and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight. As my friend the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, ‘Take your broken heart, make it into art.’ Thank you Foreign Press.”
I believe Kerry Washington’s reaction was closest to my own.
Thank you Meryl and Viola for doing our country proud.