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Dear Awards Season: You So Got Meryl Streep Wrong

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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.

Some of [Walt Disney's] associates reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women. Ward Kimball — who was one of his chief animators, one of the original “Nine Old Men,” creator of the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, Jiminy Cricket — said of Disney, “He didn’t trust women, or cats.” And there is a piece of received wisdom that says that the most creative people are often odd, or irritating, eccentric, damaged, difficult. That along with enormous creativity comes certain deficits in humanity, or decency. We are familiar with this trope in our business. Mozart, Van Gogh, Tarantino, Eminem … Ezra Pound said, “I have not met anyone worth a damn who was not irascible.” Well, I have — Emma Thompson.

Not only is she not irascible, she’s practically a saint. There’s something so consoling about that old trope, but Emma makes you want to kill yourself because she’s a beautiful artist, she’s a writer, she’s a thinker, she’s a living, acting conscience. Emma considers carefully what the fuck she is putting out 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!” That’s a phrase from my Disney contract. I’m serious! “Will I get a sequel out of it, or a boat? Or a perfume contract?”

Ezra Pound said, “I have not met anyone worth a damn who was not irascible.” Though he would say that because he was supposedly a hideous anti-Semite. But his poetry redeems his soul. Disney, who brought joy, arguably, to billions of people, was perhaps … or had some racist proclivities. He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group. And he was certainly, on the evidence of his company’s policies, a gender bigot. Here’s a letter from 1938, stating his company’s policy to a young woman named Mary Ford of Arkansas, who had made application to Disney for the training program in cartooning. And I’m going to read it here in Emma’s tribute, because I know it will tickle our honoree, as she’s also a rabid man-eating feminist like me!

“Dear Miss Ford, your letter of recent date has been received in the inking and painting department for reply. Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men. For this reason, girls are not considered for the training school. The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink, and then, filling in the tracing on the reverse side with paint according to directions.”

When I saw the film, I could just imagine Walt Disney’s chagrin at having to cultivate P.L. Travers’ favor for the 20 years that it took to secure the rights to her work. It must have killed him to encounter a woman, an equally disdainful and superior creature, a person dismissive of his own considerable gifts and prodigious output and imagination. But when we sit in our relative positions of importance and mutual suspicion, and we cast judgment on each other’s work, we’re bound to make small mistakes and misconstrue each other’s motives.

Which brings me to awards season. Which is really ridiculous. We have made so many beautiful movies this year, and to single out one seems unfair. And yet, it’s a great celebration, and I’m so proud to be here, in this group of artists. Nobody can swashbuckle the quick-witted riposte like Emma Thompson. She’s a writer. A real writer. And she has a writer’s 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 space. I’m talking about her relentlessness when she has her verbal dim sum, 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 alive-ness. 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 bloke, and 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. So now, “An Ode to Emma, Or What Emma is Owed”:

We think the Brits are brittle, they think that we are mush
They are more sentimental, though we do tend to gush
Volcanoes of emotion concealed beneath that lip
Where we are prone to guzzle, they tip the cup and sip
But when eruption bubbles from nowhere near the brain
It’s seismic, granite crumbles, the heart overflows like rain
Like lava, all that feeling melts down like Oscar gold
And Emma leaves us reeling, a knockout, truth be told

Ladies and gentlemen, the entirely splendid Emma Thompson.

A brilliant speech by a brilliant woman to another brilliant woman.  Thompson, a creative force in Hollywood, gives, without question, one of the best performances of the year, second only to Blanchett perhaps, deserves better than to be the center of a fake controversy that entirely misses the point of what Saving Mr. Banks is supposed to be about.  Is it supposed to be an expose of the real life of PL Travers or Walt Disney? No. It is a Disney movie about a Disney movie that is designed to do what most Disney movies do: make you feel better for a few hours.

Streep is saying she is a “man-eating feminist” and so is Thompson and so was Travers. These truths do not have to exist in contradiction with the pretty lies of Saving Mr. Banks. They can all exist in unison. Movies are not our history classes. They are not supposed to take the place of our own education or our own morality or our own ability to think for ourselves. The ideas presented in the film, and the truth, can co-exist.  If we continue down this road, this silly Crucible-like hysteria that erupts during Oscar season where each film is taken apart — we will have nothing left but the most bland films that star people who are mostly beyond reproach: white men.  Is that what you all want?

The bigger truth about awards season, that if there is a film about women it is either dismissed (mostly) by critics unless those women are either naked or half-naked, with their legs sprung up in the air (bonus points if they aren’t wearing underwear). The more strong of female characters the film is the less chance it has in the Oscar race as its dictated today. When you think of a so-called “strong female character” first think whether her own inner trajectory plays out on screen or whether her only purpose for being on screen is as just one of the many factors that enable the male character’s trajectory to play out.

The headline for Vulture’s article where Streep’s speech can be found said ”

Read Meryl Streep’s Walt Disney–Dissing NBR Speech in Its Entirety

This is how societies break down brick by brick and how women stay exiled on the island of gossip and clucking hens.  The lede here should not be that Streep dissed Disney but that she celebrated Thompson.  She took a brave stand when everyone else was backing away from the debate about Saving Mr. Banks.  That is the story.  Walt himself is long dead.  The truth about him and Travers is there in the archives for anyone to discover should they go looking.

Read what Streep said very closely and then try to get the bigger picture of what she was saying. If you come out of that speech worried that Streep might have said something that cost Thompson the Oscar you have completely missed the point.  What matters here is so far beyond that.  Character assassination is what really is at play this year with regards to Thompson and Saving Mr. Banks.  Streep gets that.  This was her chance to stand UP for Thompson.   And that is exactly what she did, elegantly, fiercely and with poetry.

Finally, if you want reality don’t go to the movies.

71 Comments on this Post

  1. Well said, Sasha. Streep stating the facts (hideous as they are) about someone (even Walt Disney, gasp) should be applauded, not torn apart. Nothing she said should affect her own or Thompson’s chances at Oscar. It’s not like she went on a racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic rant of her own. Then perhaps she’d be in trouble.

  2. I really think Meryl is a very special person. Just looking at the photo you provided, it shows someone who is self-deprecating, modest, and willing to give a boost to her peers. I may not agree with the slights on Walt Disney, or the motivations behind the talk (Streep never ever speaks to be controversial), but her talk really was wonderful when I read it last night. She’s charming, and she said some wonderful things about Emma Thompson.

  3. And I totally love that she called Tarantino out for essentially being a prick. Has anyone seen his panel interviews? Grabbing Peter Jackson’s glass at THR roundtable. Going to the bathroom at a panel with Cameron and Bigelow. Cameron looked like he couldn’t stand Tarantino, and Bigelow actually said more incisive comments about filmmaking, not to be brash and know-it-all, but to show a deep appreciation and thought for the art form. Glad somebody said what so many people see.

  4. Walt Disney was more than likely a sniveling ass, and the Disney machine is the fucking Evil Empire. What’s funny is that is precisely what detractors were up in arms about with regards to Saving Mr. Banks. They said, “Here goes the evil Disney machine again, distorting the truth and picking on a dead woman.” Those same people are going to rag on Meryl Streep for saying basically the same shit they said in their criticisms? Sexism is alive and thriving.

    “Emma thinks, ‘Will this be helpful?'”

    That right there is Meryl’s point. Emma Thompson wasn’t in the business of distorting the truth of PL Travers or the history of Mary Poppins’ journey to the screen. She thought long and hard beforeaccepting the role, and also before she stepped in front of the camera. What we received was a masterful, carefully considered performance by a consummate pro (a pro with a big heart and a great deal of passion for her work). Meryl was trying to make sure people didn’t forget that. Good on you, Sasha, for posting this.

  5. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Read ( hilarious) Team Rodent : How Disney Devours the World by Carl Hiaasen…

    …and also The Disney Version by Richard Schickel — to learn more about the side of the Disney Empire that DisneyInc probably won’t be adapting for a Christmas movie.

    There’s another book analyzing the ways Disney gets inside the heads of kids, but I can’t think of the title offhand.

    What other Citizen Walt biographies are there?

  6. Bryce Forestieri

    I would have loved to have seen Meryl Streep in a Quentin Tarantino film. He said he’d love to work with her.

  7. daveinprogress

    Fascinating item! I am strangely surprised at which films and individuals the smear and vivisection campaigns land in front of. Although i haven’t seen ‘Saving Mr Banks’ yet, I’m not sure that this would cost Emma her 3rd Oscar. As long as it doesn’t preclude her from making the final 5. This year’s race seems to be between Bullock, Dench and Blanchett.

  8. Amazing piece.

  9. gsgsgsgsg

    Second only to Blanchett’s performance? That fucking made me laugh. Sasha’s credibility is going down each year.

  10. Sasha’s credibility is going down each year.

    It’s just an opinion. It has nothing to do with anybody’s credibility. Grow up.

  11. Daveylow

    Well said, Sasha. I had to look really hard to find in other articles to find where Meryl had praised Emma, and no one wanted to print the poem Meryl wrote for her.

  12. I read this story last night. I take a backseat to no one in my love of Meryl Streep, but some of what she said was lame. Walt Disney was a sexist employer in 1938? Who WASN’T a sexist employer in 1938?

  13. Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson. They are pretty but also they have no chance. :)

  14. Jade Fox

    First off, I would be careful in using the time period to dismiss Disney’s sexism. There are many people in Hollywood today who have power who haven’t really evolved past Disney’s beliefs on many things.
    And besides not everyone in that era agreed with Disney’s views.

    And frankly I’m glad Meryl separated Thompson from that. Too many people tend to confuse the actor for the character and even though PL Travers hated Disney from what I understand the movie whitewashed their history. And that’s not surprising given that it’s Disney who made this movie.

    Oh and there’s a lot of people out there who didn’t know what Walt Disney was really like so Meryl telling the truth was probably eye opening for them.

  15. unlikely hood

    I would give my new car to sit in a room and listen to Meryl Streep reply to every voice mail she ever received. LOVE HER.

    Sasha, strong article. Glad you posted it.

    Chris Price and Jade Fox, well said.

    When do we get to hear Julie Andrews weigh in on any of this?

  16. some of what she said was lame. Walt Disney was a sexist employer in 1938? Who WASN’T a sexist employer in 1938?

    That doesn’t excuse it! He was sexist! And he’s widely celebrated for his character and his contribution to cinema, and rarely called out for his sexism. Bad is bad.

  17. Thank you so much for this article! THANK YOU!
    I admire Meryl Streep for speaking her mind and for being a “rabid, man-eating feminist”. Streep obviously is as good a person as she is an actress. Hats off to Ms Streep! This world needs more women like her and Thompson.

    And I completely agree with Paddy Mulholland! Sexist is sexist. Bad is bad. Doesn’t matter if its the 1930s or 2014

  18. Which brings me to awards season. Which is really ridiculous.

    Okay, then. Bye. :P

    *waits for Eminem’s response*

  19. marcoVenis

    Thank you, Sasha. I finally managed to read Streep’s speech in its entirety, and she definitely was misquoted by most.

  20. The 1930s were the era of Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart, not to mention screenwriters like Anita Loos and Frances Marion. Walt Disney deserves to be called out on his ridiculous views.

  21. “Who wasn’t a sexist employer in 1938?” It isn’t mentioned in a movie ABOUT his professional relationship with a woman. So how much of a given is it, really, this sexist past?

    But you’re making part of Sasha’s point for her–Meryl’s speech wasn’t about dissing Walt. It was about contextualizing a feminist woman’s participation in this film, in the film industry in general, and big questions about art and politics. And celebrating how that woman has been doing that (amazingly) for decades now.

  22. steve50

    (sitting in for Eminem, Antoinette)

    If it wasn’t for awards season – which is truly ridiculous, as Meryl states – we wouldn’t be vetting contestants and subjects down to the ass hairs looking for some squalor to expose.

    Yes, Disney was a sexist bigot, as were -and ARE – many others in the movies business. For most, they paid big money to have their legends created and in many cases, fabricated, then enshrined for posterity. Just like our political figures and great leaders of industry do and have always done(Henry Ford = jerk), the movie business is no different.

    But only in awards season does it matter, right? Fun facts to play with, to throw around and see what sticks.

  23. Jason Travis

    The real question, though, is if the media will spin this out of control? I admire Sasha defending her speech, and I didn’t find anything wrong with it- she was speaking her mind and being a spokesperson for women’s right, lib, etc.

    But will this effect the Oscar race with her and Thompson being nominees? What’s the rest of the world saying?

  24. BRAVA!!! You rock, Sasha. This is why you are one of the best critics around. You get it when no one else does. Thank you for this column.

  25. A million thanks, Sasha, for an article that finally got to the heart of what Streep was conveying in her marvelous speech!

    I’ve been troubled the last few weeks reading so many articles about “Streep fatigue” and even more troubled the last couple days reading about the “hatred”.

    I will never quite understand the desire of our society to bring someone down who is so obviously at the top of his/her game. Streep is, and will always be, in a class of her own!

  26. To follow a tangent for a moment… Streep was not only calling Tarantino irascible (not exactly dissing, just describing his personality), but also calling him (and Eminem) very creative. I’m sure QT wouldn’t mind being put in the same category as Mozart and Van Gogh; maybe Streep’s chances of a future collaboration are still intact.

  27. Gage Creed

    Recent history made me come to the following conclusion: If you want to get lashed out at, give a speech.

  28. Gage Creed

    Jeff, that desire is called ENVY.

  29. Bob Burns

    thanks for this, Sasha.

    more!

  30. This is all so ridiculous.

    I was at the ceremony and you know what the response was to her speech? Laughter, applause, and a turn to your friend to say how brilliant and funny Meryl Streep is. That’s it. She gave a lovely speech in support of her friend, (who, by the way, also gave a fantastic speech), which had a few historical details in there.

    The point is, no one was incensed. No one walked out. No one cared. When a celebrity mentions a historical fact in an untelevised speech, it is not news. There is so much to talk about this season. I would hate to see any more airtime (so to speak) devoted to this nonsense.

  31. JFromAZ

    Every time I see Meryl Streep in interviews or on television, I always think the same thing: Meryl Streep is awesome. Ditto Emma Thompson. That is all.

  32. If it wasn’t for awards season – which is truly ridiculous, as Meryl states

    So why are you here, steve? I’m not going to ridicule something that I participate in. There are a million and one other things to do besides participate in awards season as a filmmaker, a member of the media, or even as a fan. So anyone who thinks it’s ridiculous looks pretty stupid participating in it, in my opinion.

  33. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    So why are you here, steve? I’m not going to ridicule something that I participate in.

    Do you think maybe some people like to talk about movies with other people who like to talk about movies, and over the past decade this site has become a place where longtime friends can find each other year round — to talk about movies?

    Do you see me talking about the Oscars every single day?

    If you do please shoot me, because that’s not me — it’s a Oscar Pod Person clone who’s impersonating me. Kill it with fire.

  34. steve50

    My point was, Antoinette, that if it weren’t for awards season, nobody would give enough of a flying f**k about Walt Disney for it to even make the media.

    Awards are ridiculous. That’s what’s fun about them. The point is Streep knows that, as does Thompson. This is peripheral to what they do for a living and they make the most of it. I love watching them, especially under these circumstances.

    So I’m here to enjoy myself, to answer your question. I love the movies I love, and like a carnival game, each year it’s fun to see how close the beanbag comes to the clown’s mouth.

  35. I was unaware that Emma Thompson was being criticized for the sugarcoated portrayal of Disney in the film. Wait — shouldn’t that fall on Tom Hanks, or better yet, the screenwriters? Or better yet, no one at all, since this was a movie about the making of MARY POPPINS, not a Walt Disney BIOPIC?

    I now understand the context and intention behind Meryl’s speech. Unfortunately, from where I was standing, no one was talking about Disney before, and they are now.

  36. Sasha, you are exactly right, absolutely spot on. I can’t believe how the media spins these things, or how people interpret them. Score one for Streep.

  37. JamDenTel

    I didn’t think Thompson’s performance was worthy of an Oscar–especially not a THIRD Oscar. She was good, of course, but…I think there are at least three better choices out there (Brie Larson, Sandra Bullock, and Judi Dench–and I would personally put Greta Gerwig in as well).

  38. Awards are ridiculous. That’s what’s fun about them. The point is Streep knows that, as does Thompson.

    Good to know.

  39. filmboymichael

    jeez – and here I have been reading nothing but raves for Streep’s speech. It was hilarious, pointed and truthful.

  40. Jake Bart

    @ KT

    Not for nothing, but it’d take a lot more than going to the bathroom or grabbing the wrong glass to be the biggest asshole in the room when that room includes James Cameron.

    Also, I first misread the anecdote as QT “grabbing Peter Jackson’s ass” and the image my imagination conjured is almost as disturbing and hilarious enough to belong in a QT film.

  41. K. Bowen

    An American male from the middle of the 20th Century was dismissive of women in the workplace?

    Whoa.

  42. Isaac David Quesada

    Just saw August: Osage County, can´t belive Streep isnt the frontrunner. Hands down the best performance of the year.

  43. Streep is always a class act and a very smart woman, and most people trashing her for this are people who just read the misleading headlines and don’t even know the history behind it all and the point she was trying to make, the thing is, no matter what, Meryl will always be a role model in my eyes.

  44. LMAO reading comments about Bullock’s performance as one of the best this year and better than Emma’s.
    SHE COULD HARDLY ACT in Gravity. She was lame.

  45. Pierre de Plume

    Good for Meryl Streep.

    And by the way, Walt Disney was no progressive icon. He was a staunch Republican and strong anti-Communist who testified during the Red Scare against some of his Hollywood colleagues. He favored censorship and regulated the behaviors of counterculture hippies and gay couples at Disneyland. He may have been a genius but he was also something of a tight-ass.

  46. I’m not sure this hurts Streep or Thompson’s nomination chances whatsoever (not that they care). This actually might hurt Hanks’ chances at a supporting nomination — I’m surprised it took this long for someone to bring up the “yeah, Walt Disney was an anti-semite jackass” card. I can see some voters taking exception to the gap between reality and the twinkly old grandfather version of Walt that Hanks portrays in the film.

    Anyway, this is already more words than I care to expend about Saving Mr. Banks, which was a thoroughly average movie and not worth mentioning as a legit candidate in this year of great films. I really hope SMB doesn’t get nominated and sully what might be, film-for-film, one of the single best Best Picture slates in Oscar history.

  47. filmboymichael

    People who are freaking out over chances of nominations know that this speech happened the evening before nomination ballots were due, right? I hardly think that 12-15 hrs would make that much of a difference…..

  48. Peter Panavision

    Having read Streep’s speech a couple of times I’ve come to disagree with Sasha’s opinion. Streep says at the start that she has a long version and short version. The long version that she gives is not really a long version but actually two different speeches. She jumps from one speech to the next, paragraph to paragraph.

    One part of the speech is a fairly standard salute to Thompson which was probably the original short version of the speech. The second part of the speech is calling out Disney for his personal failures…though she tempers it with the whole “irascible” artist disclaimer.

    The two speeches really have nothing to do with each other. The part about Disney is ALL ABOUT STREEP. It is Streep grandstanding as a feminist and accuser of anti-Semitism.
    As you can see, Streep has gotten all of the publicity from this speech. It is her face that is plastered all over the media.

    Do I think that Streep did this to help or hurt Thompson’s or her own Oscar chances? Absolutely not. It has nothing to do with that.
    This is about someone with a HUGE EGO who needs to make herself the center of attention. This is totally subconscious on Streep’s part but it is as clear as day.

    I will bet you that Emma Thompson is smart enough to see this and also smart enough to keep her mouth shut.

  49. I do think Meryl’s smart woman. She knows how a diss like that have consequences. She dares to risk them. For whatever reason, but I do sense she wanted to do this for Emma.
    I highly doubt a diss of Disney could HELP Meryl’s Oscar chances. I mean… HOW?
    Disney is still the most awarded individual, so… AMPAS seemed to love him, despite parts of his personality. Maybe they didn’t know or didn’t care.
    Plus she has a movie out next Christmas from-ironically-Disney.
    So she MUST know the consequences that could or more probably will follow. She was willing to hurt her own chances. What a woman.
    Of course awards season are ridiculous (entertaining for us) and everyone knows it. Why do you participle then? Because you want the price! You want to see who wins and who looses.
    Joaquin Phoenix said last year Oscars are “Bullshit”. They nominated him anyway… and he showed up.
    Oscars still matter.

  50. I hope this marvelous speech would shift the undeserved criticism that Meryl Streep has been getting in these Oscar speculating websites. Just because you have your certain favorites to get nominated, doesn’t mean you have to criticize Meryl’s body of work in a demeaning and hateful manner. If people could get over the fact that she’s won 3 times before, and the fact that August Osage County is not a critically acclaimed film, they would realize that her performance in that film is one of the greatest film acting she has ever done, and definitely one of the best this year (only second to Blanchett, in my opinion).

  51. The way some people have been talking about Streep in this site is definitely undeserved. We are not talking about Hilary Swank here people, we are talking about arguably the greatest actress of all time.

  52. Amazing piece Sasha. Thank you for your insight

  53. Pierre de Plume

    Peter Panavision:

    The part about Disney is ALL ABOUT STREEP. It is Streep grandstanding as a feminist and accuser of anti-Semitism. . . . This is about someone with a HUGE EGO who needs to make herself the center of attention. This is totally subconscious on Streep’s part but it is as clear as day.

    This brings subjectivity to new heights. :)

  54. Peter Panavision

    Pierre de Plume:

    Yeah, you are right. But here’s some more subjectivity :)

    Here is a piece of the speech which I think is revealing….

    “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!” That’s a phrase from my Disney contract. I’m serious! “Will I get a sequel out of it, or a boat? Or a perfume contract?”

    Streep is referring to a contract which all Disney employees must sign which says that they will never do anything to HURT the brand and that they will do everything in their power to build the brand. In the past all Disney employees were required to sign the contract and also spend time dressed as a Disney character at a park in order to appreciate the power the brand had over families and children.

    Streep is currently working for Disney. So she is basically daring them to fire her (which they will never do). Her comments definitely were designed to hurt the brand according to Disney corporate standards.

    So ultimately I guess that Streep was having a little fun, but also probably criticizing the fact that the Thompson movie was a sugar coated portrayal of Disney. I also bet that Thompson was aware of what she might do and they both were having a giggle about it.

    Ultimately, it was all good publicity for the stars and the movies.

  55. filmboymichael

    She was just truth tellin…..sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  56. Peter Panavision

    OK FBM, I agree. After all is said and done, you summed it up perfectly.

  57. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Streep is referring to a contract which all Disney employees must sign…

    No she isn’t.

    Streep is currently working for Disney.

    No she isn’t. This isn’t 1940. Actors are not studio employees.

    At any rate, production on Into the Woods has ended. It’s wrapped. “Fire her?” What’s Disney going to do, cut Streep’s character out of the movie because Meryl Streep dares to suggest Walt Disney wasn’t a saint?

  58. K. Bowen

    The thing is, if there’s going to be an Oscar prohibition on all characters who don’t meet present-day standards of equality and justice, then should we start by withdrawing Daniel Day-Lewis’ Oscar for Lincoln? What are they going to say about Leo’s upcoming project on Woodrow Wilson?

  59. Peter Panavision

    To Ryan,

    Streep is referring to a contract which all Disney employees must sign…

    No she isn’t.

    In her speech, Streep says, ” That’s a phrase from my Disney contract. I’m serious!”

    Also Ryan, if you sign a contract, you are basically an employee.

    Of course Disney wouldn’t fire her. I just said that what she said was technically against the contract she signed. Another person of lesser stature however could very well be fired for making such statements.

    In any case I know nothing, just speculating, like everybody else here. We’re talking about show business here. It’s all in fun.

  60. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    a contract which all Disney employees must sign which says that they will never do anything to HURT the brand and that they will do everything in their power to build the brand.

    ruh roh, is Miley Cyrus in trouble?

  61. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    In her speech, Streep says, ” That’s a phrase from my Disney contract. I’m serious!”

    This is a phrase in Meryl Streep’s Disney contract? This:
    “Does this express me? Me! Me! My unique and fabulous self, into all eternity, in every universe, for all time!”
    — (That’s a phrase from my Disney contract. I’m serious!)

    There’s a thing some people do sometimes when they’re making a joke. They say “I’m serious!” when actually, no, they aren’t.

  62. Are Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson awesome? Yes. Were Hollywood and the Disney Studios sexist institutions 75 years ago? Absolutely. Does sexism exist today? Of course. But let’s put this historical “truth” in context. Streep quoted from a studio policy in 1938 (women had only had the right to vote in the US for 19 years). Just three years later, in 1941 (22 years before Kennedy signed the equal pay act into law), this is what Walt Disney said:

    “If a woman can do the work as well, she is worth as much as a man. The girl artists have the right to expect the same chances for advancement as men, and I honestly believe they may eventually contribute something to this business that men never would or could.”

  63. Peter Panavision

    Ryan. First of all, is Miley Cyrus still with Disney? I doubt it. They still rerun Hannah Montana but I believe Miley is signed with another company.

    Second, I believe that Streep is talking about an actual Disney contract. I know about this contract. I worked in local television when Disney bought ABC. I learned about this contract and the requirement to dress up as a Disney character from ABC employees who went through it. Disney is OBSESSED with their brand image.

  64. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I dated a female Disney animator one summer and I never heard that they were required to dress up as Disney characters. (sure, she did that, in bed, but I always thought she did it of her own free will).

    First of all, is Miley Cyrus still with Disney? I doubt it.
    Is Meryl “still with Disney?” No.

  65. Peter Panavision

    Ryan. I don’t think they require everybody to dress up as characters any longer, but they did at one time. So what was your favorite character in bed?

  66. Nice piece.

  67. Of course awards season are ridiculous

    Oscars still matter.

    I can’t keep two opposite thoughts in my head like that.

    Anyway, I did think Meryl “AwardsSeasonAteMyBaby” Streep was gunning for Hanks and not Emma Thompson. She seemed to take offense that people may have been getting Uncle Walt from the film because the lovable Hanks was playing him and she wanted to “set things straight” and remind everyone that Disney was a complete bastard, according to her information. Hanks is the one who should be pissed. Thompson is just collateral damage.

  68. http://www.cartoonbrew.com/disney/fact-checking-meryl-streeps-disney-bashing-speech-94380.html

    Dear Meryl,

    Get your shit straight. Besides, he’s been dead for 50 years…pick on someone who’s still living…

    P.S.-Fuck you.

  69. This is Streep taking a moment that was meant to honor another wonderfully talented and accomplished actress
    and hijacking it to expound on
    “Disney According To Streep”.
    All the allegations about Disney
    are true, as much as can be proven
    decades after the fact,
    but they are hardly what is called news.
    Someone posted here, and I paraphrase:
    ‘She’s working on a Disney film and dissing Disney ! It’s as if she’s daring
    them to fire her, which they never will !
    What a woman ! ‘
    Someone else responded that:
    ‘She’s not working for Disney . . .
    she doesn’t work for corporations . . . ‘ ,
    something to that effect.
    Well, that’s remarkably dumb.
    Yes, she IS working for Disney,
    the corporation, because that’s
    where all her millions in salary
    are coming from.
    I actually don’t care if she disses Disney
    or not,
    but if she really wanted to make
    a statement, how about NOT working
    for the successors and assigns of
    a man she finds so obviously repellant ?
    ” . . . The founder of your feast was a
    misogynist and an anti-Semite and
    as a man-eating Feminist I am diametrically opposed to everything
    he stood for . . .
    . . . but yes, I will take your money !
    And then I will tell all the world
    the truth !!! ”
    Fuck off.

  70. Estelita

    I don’t like when people talk trash about uncle Walt. Leave him alone. Walt Disney is the best thing happened to America. Sorry Meryl and those from his family who doesn’t like him. Get a life people, and live uncle Walt to rest in peace.
    America is nothing without Walt Disney.

  71. I’m sorry that I’m just now seeing this article. Well said, Sasha!

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