Meryl Streep
Source: France TV YouTube

The Hollywood legend Meryl Streep, who holds the most Oscar nominations for an actor at 21, could not help but become emotional as she accepted the honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday night.

Streep Wins Palme d’Or

Streep was presented with the honor by the Oscar-winning French actress Juliette Binoche, who described the 74 year-old American icon as  “an international treasure” who “changed the way we look at cinema.”

Streep was so emotional as she accepted the Palme d’Or, which is the highest Canne Film Festival honor, that she initially pretended to walk off the stage before she began to dance to the round of applause that she was receiving from the adoring crowd. During her speech, Streep thanked the Cannes Film Festival for bringing her back for the first time in 35 years, with her last appearance there being for 1989’s Evil Angels.

After watching a retrospective of her decades-long career, Streep said that it was “like looking out the window of a bullet train, watching my youth fly into my middle age, right onto where I am standing on this stage tonight. So many faces and so many places that I remember.”

Related: Meryl Streep Trashes the Idea of ‘Toxic Masculinity’

Streep Recalls Last Cannes Appearance

Streep, who has won three Oscars, recalled that when she last appeared at Cannes, she was “already a mother of three, I was about to turn 40 and I thought that my career was over.”

She admitted that this was not an “unrealistic expectation for actresses at the time,” given how difficult it was (and still is) for many actresses over the age of 40 to get good roles in film.

Streep ended her speech by saying that she is “just so grateful that you haven’t gotten sick of my face and you haven’t gotten off the train.”

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ‘Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast.’ And it has, and it does,” she concluded. “Except for my speech, which is too long.”

Check out Streep’s full speech in the video below.

Related: Kevin Costner’s Western Epic ‘Horizon’ To Debut At Cannes Film Festival This Weekend

Streep’s History

Born in Summit, New Jersey in 1949, Streep got an undergraduate degree from Vassar College before getting an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Streep’s acting career took off in the 1970s, with her first nomination coming for her work in 1978’s Deer Hunter. She would go on to win Best Supporting Actress the next year for Kramer vs. Kramer before winning Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in 1982’s Sophie’s Choice.

After many more Oscar nominations, Streep would finally win Best Actress in a Leading Role once again for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 movie The Iron Lady.

Streep is known for the realism that she brings to all of her roles, seemingly slipping into all kinds of characters with ease. That’s why it’s no surprise that the Cannes Film Festival would decide to award her with their highest honor!

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