Playbill.com has learned that the tribute to multiple Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Streep featured Tracey Ullman, Robert De Niro, Mike Nichols, Kevin Kline, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci and Anne Hathaway.
Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian Tracey Ullman began the tribute, stating, "I'm here to talk about my friend Meryl Streep – which is a great honor, but not easy. I was with my daughter Mabel a couple of weeks ago, who has known Meryl all her life, and I asked her what she thought I should say. 'Hmm,' she said. 'It's getting harder and harder, Mum, I mean, what hasn't been said?' And this is true because it's obvious that Meryl is brilliant, the actress of her generation, the cream of the crop; she's strong, tenacious, a champion of women worldwide…"
Ullman continued, "I could talk about how brilliant she is as Margaret Thatcher in her latest film, 'Iron Lady,' and how amazed I was to see the girl from Jersey becoming the girl from Grantham. I mean, only Meryl could give such a compassionate portrayal of a woman I raged against in the '80s… 'You need an angle, Mum,' Mabel said. There was a long pause and then she looked at me with a furrowed brow and said, 'Is there anything Meryl's bad at?' Well, we tried to think of something, and we couldn't! She can sing, dance, cook – cooks like Julia Child, in fact… and if she was bad at something she would practice like crazy in private so that she would be more brilliant at it than anyone else in the world. We even have secret footage of her in bed at six in the morning learning to speak Chinese! I'm not saying how we got it... so I am officially in awe of you, dear friend; you try harder, give more and remain as humble as anyone I know. I'm honored to be here tonight to be a part of this prestigious tribute to you."
Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Robert De Niro continued Streep's tribute: "As an actor looking at those moments of Meryl's life, my first thought is… I was amazing in 'Deer Hunter,' wasn't I? I gave a performance that was strong yet sensitive, fiercely masculine, but with an affecting inner beauty… I was nominated for an Academy Award for 'The Deer Hunter.' And so was Meryl. That was her first. She's up to 16 now. You know what that means? She's sat through the Academy Awards 16 times! Jesus! Now that's a record. Coincidentally, Meryl and I have each won two Oscars, but I've only been nominated six times, so I actually have a better winning percentage."
De Niro continued, "One factor keeping Meryl's average down is that she has to compete with Meryl Streep. In the Golden Globes, where she set records of 25 nominations and seven competitive wins, she's actually lost twice to herself… including last year, when her performance in 'Julie and Julia' beat out her performance in 'It's Complicated.' Meryl was so gracious in losing… In each of those movies and in everything I've seen Meryl do, I'm continually struck by how perfectly she inhabits, humanizes, and honestly portrays such a wide range of characters. There's never a false note, never an overlooked detail. Truly, no one does it better."
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