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Meryl Streep to get lifetime achievement award at Cannes

File photo: Meryl Streep during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Hollywood on April 01, 2024

AMY SUSSMAN/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP


There is a strong case to be made that Meryl Streep, who picks up a lifetime achievement award at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, is the most respected actor of her generation.

Streep, 74, has amassed a record haul of awards and built a filmography of modern classics that stretches across six decades, from dramas such as "The Deer Hunter", "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Kramer vs. Kramer", to family favourites like "Mamma Mia!" and "The Devil Wears Prada".

It is her vocal skills that have often set her apart, from the Danish drawl in "Out of Africa" to her note-perfect impersonation of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady", to learning Polish so well for "Sophie's Choice" that locals believed she was one of them.

She has picked up other skills along the way, practising six hours a day for eight weeks to learn the violin for "Music of the Heart".

Streep has admitted her efforts could sometimes go too far.

She took a method-acting approach to her turn as a fashion magazine boss in "The Devil Wears Prada", maintaining her icy facade even off-camera, but later said that it was a "horrible" experience and vowed never to do it again.

But her dedication has paid off time and again.

She has a record 21 Oscar nominations and three wins, a record eight Golden Globes, two BAFTAs and many other prizes.

And unlike many of her contemporaries, she has remarkably few duds among her 60-plus appearances, still scoring regular critical acclaim with recent films such as "The Post", "The Laundromat" and "Don't Look Up".

Surprisingly, she has been at Cannes only once before -- though she did manage to win best actress that year, for 1989's "A Cry in the Dark".

"Because she has spanned almost 50 years of cinema and embodied countless masterpieces, Meryl Streep is part of our collective imagination, our shared love of cinema," the festival organisers said in a statement.

Streep said in a statement that she was "immeasurably honoured" to be receiving the honorary Palme d'Or award at the festival's opening ceremony.

"To stand in the shadow of those who have previously been honoured is humbling and thrilling in equal part," she said in a statement.

© Agence France-Presse