Oscar speeches are watched by a lot of people, and a single mistake can get a celebrity a lifetime’s worth of YouTube infamy. But Meryl Streep, who won her third Best Actress award last night, totally nailed her Oscar speech. It was kind, it was funny, and it was heartfelt. And she started something that I hope becomes a trend: she thanked her husband first. She noted that she was mentioning her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, first, because usually spouses get left until the end.
“First, I’m going to thank Don,” she said. “Because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech, they play him out with the music, and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives you’ve given me.”
Meryl knows her Oscars, and she also knows how many previous winners have been raked over the coals for not being thankful enough when it came to spouses. Hilary Swank famously forgot to mention then-husband Chad Lowe in her Boys Don’t Cry speech, and even though she thanked him a few years later when she won again her initial “insult” was mentioned in almost every article about their eventual divorce.
Meryl’s mention of her husband up front, plus the “everything I value most” line, reminded me why Meryl is such a badass in the first place: she cares about her family more than her work, even though she’s the best in the industry. When was the last time you saw a picture of Meryl Streep stumbling drunk out of a club? How many times have you seen a picture of her making out with some random guy in a bar? Even though her three Oscar wins have cemented her status as the most impressive actress of her generation, Meryl knows that the most important thing in her life is her family. If she retired from acting tomorrow, she would still have a husband to go home to and a family who loves her, and she knows that. That’s why she’s such a confident, badass lady – her strength comes from something besides whether she was on a best-dressed list or whether her latest movie got good reviews. So take that, Angelina Jolie’s right leg.