Movies & TV

We can get through ‘Me too’ moment, Streep says

Meryl Streep arrives at the National Board of Review awards gala in New York, U.S., January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK: It had already been decided that Tuesday night’s National Board of Review Awards would belong to “The Post.” The NBR announced the winners last month, with “The Post” taking best picture, best actress for Meryl Streep and best actor for Tom Hanks. When the film was shut out at Sunday’s Golden Globes, Streep, Steven Spielberg and Hanks were able to trot out the speeches they might have given days earlier.

“The men, I just think we can get through this moment,” Streep said, referring to the “Me Too” moment and sexual harassment scandals that have coursed through Hollywood.

“Here’s the main thing I don’t want to go away: the danger of making movies, how far you have to push stuff, how physically, emotionally dangerous it can be. How much we really need to trust each other. I don’t want that to go away because that’s where art lives.”

Streep has been a prominent voice regarding gender equality in Hollywood following the fallout of disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, who distributed numerous films of Streep’s. She’s among the several hundred women in the entertainment industry who have banded together to promote gender equality among Hollywood executives.

Streep also sounded some more optimistic notes about gender relations in Hollywood. The relationship of “The Post” between publisher Katharine Graham and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), she said, typified her working experience “in my 40 years making movies.”

“I love men,” Streep said. “Yeah, I know it’s the year of the woman and everything, but oh my god. The men. All my mentors have been men, even my sixth grade music teacher Paul Grossman, who let me sing five version of “Oh Holy Night” in French, German and something else. He became a woman, the first man in New Jersey to have surgery and become a woman.”

Accepting the night’s top award for best picture, Spielberg said he felt “a social imperative” to immediately make the script about a free press standing up to a corrupt White House under Richard Nixon. “We are in a fight and it’s a fight not just about alternative facts but it’s a fight for the objective truth,” he said. “President [Barack] Obama said in a recent interview, ‘It’s not that democracy is fragile but it’s reversible.’ I wanted to do more than just sit down and watch television and complain to [wife Kate Capshaw] and my kids about what’s happening to our country.”

The National Board of Review gala isn’t televised, so some speeches were more freewheeling than they might have been elsewhere. De Niro, who introduced Streep, referred to Trump as the “jerk-off in chief” and numerous other foul-mouthed insults that drew cheers from the crowd.

Other remarks were more typically polished. Tina Fey introduced Hanks as such a national treasure that the president will soon “start drilling him for oil.”

“When I hear the words ‘stable genius,’ I of course think of a smart horse that I once knew,” Fey said.

“And then I think of Mr. Tom Hanks.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 11, 2018, on page 12.

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