When Meryl Streep took to the stage to accept her Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Golden Globes, the actress made headlines by using the moment to denounce and express her dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump. The speech became the most talked about aspect of the show and even inspired Trump to respond to the speech and charge the actress with being “overrated.” Click through our photo gallery above that highlights the Top 12 times when awards show winners or presenters expressed controversial political opinions other than the usual thank-yous and shout-outs to family, friends and agents.
Streep’s remarks became a huge topic for news and opinion programs in subsequent days, with conservative pundits deriding Streep as an out-of-touch liberal elite while liberal advocates supported her stance and courage for speaking out. Streep has long been an advocate of the democratic party and was a featured speaker at this summer’s Democratic National Convention, but the actress has usually shied away from bringing political views to her award acceptance speeches.
While it may have caught some viewers by surprise to see politics so blatantly emphasized on an award show like the Golden Globes, there has in fact been a long history of people using their moment on stage to champion a cause or political philosophy. One of the most famous instances was when Marlon Brando won the Best Actor Oscar for “The Godfather” and sent a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to speak on his behalf about the treatment of Native Americans in Hollywood.
Award winners have often taken great risks onstage in order to express some view that seemed urgent at the time. While some such as Streep have stated opinions that the majority of their peers supported, others have come into direct disagreement with the audiences they were addressing and faced unhappy crowds and were even booed off the stage. Streep is the most recent example but, as you will see in our photo gallery, she was not alone in using her moment onstage as a platform for other things.
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