Meryl Streep's speech at the National Board of Review gala was a step too far

Streep said Emma Thompson was “a rabid, man-eating feminist, like I am”

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It is early in awards season but the bar for speeches has already been set intimidatingly high by – who else? – Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson.

Presenting Thompson with an award at the National Board of Review gala (no, me neither) this week, Streep gave an entertaining homily in which she called Thompson “a rabid, man-eating feminist, like I am” and accused Walt Disney of being an anti-Semitic “gender bigot”.

It was a great speech, actually, but Streep ruined it by going too far. Just a touch. “Emma makes you want to kill yourself because she’s a beautiful artist, she’s a writer, she’s thinker, she’s a living, acting conscience,” she gushed before reading out a poem about Thompson. It ended: “Granite crumbles/ The heart flows like rain/ Like lava/ All that feeling melts down/ Like Oscar gold/ And Emma leaves us reeling/ A knockout, truth be told.”

Thompson then took to the stage claiming to be “nauseous with gratitude”. And the audience by that point? Just nauseous, I’d guess.

Au revoir, snooty

Marcus Wareing has reportedly told waiters at his London restaurant The Berkeley to be “less French and more American”. According to the chef, stuffy fine dining is so last year; informal suppers are what diners want now.

So it is out with the snooty sommelier chat and in with “have a nice day”. I’m not so sure. Nobody likes a superior waiter, but over-familiarity can be off-putting too. Perhaps what Wareing and his staff ought to aim for is a light serving of classic British passive aggression. That should make Londoners feel right at home.

Twitter: @alicevjones

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