Meryl Streep continued to receive more award, thanks to her acclaimed acting in "The Iron Lady". After winning the Best Actress prizes in this year's Golden Globes and BAFTAs, the veteran movie star was honored with a top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival on Tuesday, February 14.
The actress playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the Oscar-nominated drama received an Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement at the 62nd Berlinale. Presenting the award for the 62-year-old actress was jury member Jake Gyllenhaal, who jokingly introduced her as an acting treasure and a terrifying "Hank's mom."
On her speech, Streep thanked her "Iron Lady" director Phyllida Lloyd and co-star Jim Broadbent, as well as make-up artist and hairstylist J. Roy Helland who has been working with her since "Sophie's Choice" in 1982. She said that Helland "designed every woman, and one man I played in 'Angels in America', that I've played since then."
Before attending the gala ceremony, Streep was on hand at a press conference for "Iron Lady" at the film festival, where a journalist rushed to the stage and gave the actress a bouquet of white flowers and a kiss. "How beautiful! My husband didn't send me flowers, so thank God for Dieter [Kosslick; the festival director] !" she exclaimed upon receiving the Valentine gift.
During the conference, Streep opened up about the prizes she has received for her role in "Iron Lady". Describing the awards season as an "out of body experience", the New Jersey-born actress said, "It's very odd to be in the position where people say to you, 'Oh I think you're going to win something', or 'Oh I don't think you have a chance this year'."
"And suddenly you feel like you're in a sporting event and you haven't signed up for it," she continued on. "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 for Super Bowl."
Of portraying Thatcher, Streep said, "I do like difficult women, or at least the ones that are difficult to understand, I do like translating them. I find... what's like me in this person, and I've been lucky in tracking a number of different characters that have qualities that I recognize in myself. I won't identify the ones that coincide with Margaret Thatcher's."
The actress admitted that she discovered more things that changed her opinion about the iconic female politician during the making of "Iron Lady". She said, "I learned a lot of things that surprised me, because I had made my decisions about Margaret Thatcher since I was a young woman. I had a knee-jerk reaction to her as a liberal left-wing actress in America from New York."
"I thought she was a friend of (Ronald) Reagan, bad," Streep confessed. "I thought she had frumpy clothes and bad hair. You know, this is the way women judge each other in the public realm." She added, "I think Margaret Thatcher would be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of feminism, but she was a feminist whether she likes it or not. She opened doors for women."
Aside from "The Iron Lady", the Berlinale screened six other Streep's movies, including "Kramer vs. Kramer", "Silkwood" and "A Prairie Home Companion". Berlinale's director Kosslick described the actress as "a brilliant, versatile performer who moves with ease between dramatic and comedic roles."
Streep will next be competing against Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs"), Viola Davis ("The Help"), Rooney Mara ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)", and Michelle Williams ("My Week with Marilyn") in the Best Actress category at the 2012 Academy Awards that will be held on Sunday, February 26.