The post-game chatter about Meryl Streep’s intro for Emma Thompson at the National Board of Review completely missed the point of what Streep was saying. Moreover, the beauty in Streep’s speech was shunted to the side as the churning and hysteria found its way from comments section to blog to comments section. “Streep has insulted Walt Disney! Streep has hurt Emma Thompson’s Oscar chances! Streep has insulted everybody! Streep just blew it for her own Oscar nomination.” And so yeah, that happened.
The funny part of it is Streep did exactly the opposite. She didn’t “insult” Walt Disney. She did two things with her speech. The first, she spoke THE TRUTH. OH MY GOD, not the TRUTH! The second, she tried to spin the filthy way Emma Thompson has been treated by the press in light of the so-called Saving Mr. Banks scandal, that is, the insinuation that Thompson had something to do with the slick makeover of P.L. Travers.
What Streep did — now listen closely, Oscarwatchers because it looks to me like y’all missed the point — was take some of that heat off of Thompson and put it on Disney, where it belonged. Do I think Saving Mr. Banks is a good film? Yes. Do I think it deserves to be ripped apart by people who don’t have a presidential election to tweet about? Nope. Should any of that “controversy” have impacted, in any way whatsoever, Emma Thompson’s chances at winning an Oscar? Do I even have to answer that question?
Here is Streep’s speech in its entirety. I really hope that those making the story about how Streep acted out and hurt Thompson’s or her own Oscar chances will read this. (Courtesy of Vulture):
[Streep walks on stage wearing one of the “Prize Winner” hats from Nebraska, which had been scattered on the tables as promo items] What? Oh? Oh. Okay. [Takes off hat] I’m not the prize winner. It’s so weird! This is a very late night, and we have Spike Jonze — twice — coming up, so I want to say to you, I have a short, sweet, kind of funny version of this tribute to Emma Thompson, and I have the long, bitter, more truthful version, so I would like a vote — and I’m serious! I’m happy to do just the short one. I’d love to do the long one. [Lots of applause, one audience member hollers, “Go for it!”] Anybody want to leave? Go now. I guess that’s the long one.