Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep was presented with the prestigious Icon Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival at its annual awards gala on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Palm Springs, Calif. Streep is being honored as an innovative talent who, through the course of her career, has created a body of work which denotes the highest level of achievement in the motion picture industry. Presented by Cartier, the 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala was hosted by television personality Mary Hart. The awards gala also presented honors to Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, director Steve McQueen, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Lupita Nyong'o, Thomas Newman and the cast of "American Hustle." The Festival runs January 3-14, 2014.
Meryl Streep's co-star in "August: Osage County," Margo Martindale, was on hand to her friend the second only Icon Award issued by the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Asked if she need be an Icon to bestow and Icon Award to someone else, Margo said she wasn't sure of that, but that she was definitely intimidated to do so.
While accepting the Icon Award, Streep said "my four children remind me everyday that I am not an Icon."
She spoke of still just being a working actor. That she strives at every role to do her best. She seemed truly joyful to recognized in such a fashion.
“We’re overjoyed to recognize Meryl Streep for yet another Oscar-worthy performance in 'August: Osage County',” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Violet Weston, the matriarch of a dysfunctional family reunited by a tragic incident, will be remembered in her long list of iconic character roles. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present the 2014 Icon Award to Meryl Streep.”
Meryl Streep is the second in the film industry to be honored with the Icon Award by the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Actor Michael Douglas was the first recipient of the Icon award in 2011.
Meryl Streep is currently starring as the matriarch of a dysfunctional family in "August: Osage County." The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by Tracy Letts and tells the story of the family reuniting after a family crisis. The film also stars Julia Roberts (another honoree of tonight's awards), Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, Julianne Nicholson and Misty Upham.
Meryl Streep is considered to be this generation's most accomplished actress. She has dominated her field, receiving more Academy Award nominations than any other actor. Streep's first Academy Award nomination came in 1979 for the war drama "The Deer Hunter." Her first Oscar win came just one year later for her supporting role opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Kramer vs. Kramer."
In her career, that has spanned over four decades, she has also won an Oscar playing a holocaust survivor 1983's "Sophie's Choice" and for her characterization of Margaret Thatcher in 2012 in the film "The Iron Lady."
For her role in this year's "August: Osage County," Streep has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and is expected to earn her 18th Academy Award nomination. Streep's next two films will be the Sondheim's musical "Into the Woods," and the science fiction fantasy "The Giver."
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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cellphones and no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com