AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Meryl Streep

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Release date: June 22, 2004
Written by: Louis J. Horvitz
Produced by: American Film Institute
Running time: 60 minutes

The American Film Institute honored Meryl Streep with their 32nd Life Achievement Award on June 10, 2004. The celebration of Streep's remarkable career, broadcast on television on June 22, 2004 on USA Network, featured appearances by Streep's colleagues, directors and friends, with thoughtful and often hilarious remarks by Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Goldie Hawn, Tracey Ullman, Shirley MacLaine, Carrie Fisher, Mike Nichols and Nora Ephron, among others.

Meryl Streep, Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro, Mike Nichols, Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, Kevin Kline, Sydney Pollack, Clint Eastwood, Kurt Russell, Tracey Ullman, Claire Danes, Cher, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Mary-Louise Parker

Thank you thank you thank you… oh… (takes a bow in front of the audience). Can’t we just do this every year?! (laughter) I’m exhausted, imagine how you must feel! Thank you thank you, that’s too small a word… actually, two small words (laughter). You know this is really overwhelming and I wish I were her, I really do! (laughter) Oh my god, Catherine O’Hara, geez! (points to actress Catherine O’Hara in the audience, her co-star from “Heartburn”). You know there’s everybody I love in this room, I can’t stand it – and my lovely friends who said, you know, mostly nice things about me, even if you didn’t mean it, nobody knows that! (laughter)

I’d like to thank the AFI, I am so honored… I mean to stand up here with my idols and just thank you for supporting the work of women filmmakers, I mean… it’s a great thing! And the more these stories are valued the more we will see them in the movies. Thank you Don, you know for… you know (laughs), it’s just unbelievable what you’ve put up with and for your constancy and your great strength and you gorgeous… DNA! (laughter) which gave me the four biggest prizes of my life. I really wanna thank the people who aren’t here, not because they didn’t want to, but because they are in heaven… and without them I wouldn’t be able to make this silly speech, so I wanna thank my mother and my father (applause), who were the funniest and the saddest and most musical, gorgeous, weird, strong personalities who fought with each other for sixty years and taught me everything I know about drama (laughter). And… ehm, Isaac Mizrahi for the dress (laughs). Thank you everybody, thank you my friends, thank you everybody that spoke and… oh I’ll get off… my God! I’m so proud of this and grateful and… I hope it’s not the end (laughter). Thank you very very much!