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The August: Osage County actress was presented with the Icon Award by co-star Margo Martindale. The honor has been given out just one other time — to Michael Douglas in 2011.
Stepping out on stage, the Oscar-winning actress said: “I’m really honored, honored to be here. I feel so lucky to have gotten so many chances over and over and over and over again.
“I feel like I’m an example, now. In my dotage of you know, the fact, you can’t just put those old gals to pasture,” she joked, while throwing a few punches at the audience across the stage.
She continued: “We’ve got a lot of stuff, still, to say. My whole speech was already said by everybody. You know, what a rich year, blah, blah blah — so many good performances. And it’s absolutely true. I’ve been so inspired by the work of so many people this year, especially. It’s quite humbling.
“The only problem is, there really aren’t enough hours in a day to see and digest these amazing pieces of work and the way you’re used to live with a movie for a week. Now you got to watch each one every five minutes. There’s another one to get to the theater — or worse, you have to put in the screener,” Streep said to the audience. “I’m so grateful to those people who pay for the movies, Harvey, and everyone else because thank you, thank you for giving us this richness and beautiful opportunity.
“Everything that Sandra [Bullock] Googled, they say about me, too,” said the actress, referring to the Gravity star who said she had Googled herself while preparing for her Palm Springs Film Fest awards speech. “But they say, ‘over 60.’ So? So what, who cares.
“It makes me proud to be an actor, to be standing with so many people I admire, whose work shocks and surprises me each time out,” Streep said to the star-studded crowd, which included Bullock, Bruce Dern, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Steve McQueen, Julia Roberts, Thomas Newman and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o.
“It brings me to this idea of an icon. I don’t feel like an icon on most days. I feel like I conned,” she said, drawing laughter from the attendees. “I’m an actor, that’s all I am. I’m not a producer, I’m not a director. I don’t produce projects. I just come to work every day with an actor’s anxiety. I lay into the work with an actor’s appetite. I relate to Bruce Dern. You got to get out there and really fight to defend your characters, even the ones that are disagreeable, horrible and unredeemable in everybody’s eyes, expect for my sister Margo’s character in August: Osage. There’s always somebody that loves somebody, who is unlovable.”
Added Streep: “An icon is like a thing that stands alone. I stand with my fellow actors. I rely on them. I depend on them. I have them to thank for every wonderful thing that has happened in my life, so far.”
The award-winning actress concluded her speech by telling the crowd, “We all count. For an actor, it’s being heard, being felt that counts.”
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