Berlin Film Festival: Meryl Streep honored with Golden Bear


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Meryl Streep was honored Tuesday with the Berlinale’s Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement. At the gala event at the Berlin Film Festival, jury member Jake Gyllenhaal presented Streep with the award, introducing her with a humorous personal reflection, describing her not just as an acting treasure, but as the terrifying ‘Hank’s mom,’ who disapproved of him as a 13-year-old bad influence on her son, Henry Gummer.

In her acceptance, Streep gave thanks to colleagues past and present, including ‘The Iron Lady’’s Phyllida Lloyd and Jim Broadbent, and giving special notice to and a call for applause for makeup artist and hairstylist J. Roy Helland, who has worked with her since 1982’s ‘Sophie’s Choice.’ Helland, she said, has ‘designed every woman -- and one man I played in ‘Angels in America’ -- that I’ve played since then.’ Helland received his first award for film work, together with Mark Coulier and Marese Langan, for ‘The Iron Lady’ at the British Academy Film Awards two days ago.


She also praised ‘some of the great writers and directors on whose shoulders I’ve been placed tonight,’ including the late Joseph Papp, Harold Pinter, Alan Pakula and Robert Altman.

Love was also in the air at the news conference for ‘The Iron Lady’ earlier in the day. As well as accolades, the actress received Valentine’s Day flowers and a kiss from an Austrian radio journalist, and a personalized Russian nesting doll painted to represent many of her famous roles, including the evil fashionista of ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ Streep joked, ‘I like very much that they reduced my nose a little!’

Streep, who has so far won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA this year, said of awards season, ‘Suddenly you feel like you’re in a sporting event and you haven’t signed up for it. You did some work in a film that you’re proud of and you are hoping that people will go and see it, and suddenly you’re doing calisthenics to get ready for [the] Superbowl.’ She also praised the current level of acting talent, and pointed to Anna Paquin in ‘Margaret’ and ‘Tyrannosaur’ lead Olivia Colman (who also appears in ‘Iron Lady’) as two actors who have gone unrecognized among this year’s many strong female performances.

In addition to tonight’s screening of ‘The Iron Lady,’ six more of Streep’s films, including ‘Kramer vs. Kramer,’ ‘Silkwood’ and ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ are being shown as part of the festival’s homage.

--Susan Stone in Berlin