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Top 10 Must-Watch Meryl Streep Pop Culture Moments

VO: Lisa Yang
Script written by Spencer Sher She’s a force to be reckoned with on screen! If they gave out accolades for acceptance speeches, this iron lady would always be a frontrunner. For this list, we’re taking a look at award shows, interviews, and other instances where Streep dominated pop culture. We’ve included the time Neil Young gave her a guitar lesson.
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Top 10 Meryl Streep Pop Culture Moments



If they gave out accolades for acceptance speeches, this “iron lady” would always be the frontrunner. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Meryl Streep Pop Culture Moments.



For this list, we’re taking a look at award shows, interviews, and other instances where Streep dominated pop culture.



#10: When Neil Young Gave Her a Guitar Lesson

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (2014-)




In “Ricki and the Flash,” Streep portrayed an aging rocker who failed to make it big. Although Streep had some singing experience prior to shooting the film, she was a complete amateur with a guitar. Upon running into singer Neil Young, director Jonathan Demme found the most qualified teacher imaginable for Meryl. Dropping by “The Tonight Show,” Streep recounted her session with Young. Doing her best impression of the Canadian musician, Streep put an emphasis on Young’s foul mouth and his appreciation for “This Is Spinal Tap.” Few people can say that they had their first guitar lesson with a rock legend. Then again, few people are Meryl Streep.



#9: When She Failed Her Own Oscar Quiz

“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (2003-)




In addition to winning 3 Oscars, Streep is also the most nominated performer in Academy Award history with over 20 acting nominations. Streep’s filmography is so vast that you’d have to be an award show guru to list off every role that has earned her an Oscar nom. It turns out that not even Meryl herself can remember them all. Jimmy Kimmel put Streep to the test, giving her 60 seconds to name all the movies that brought her Oscar recognition. Streep was able to recount some of her earlier roles, although she forgot which movie resulted in her first nomination. While she didn’t win the gold, it’s not like Streep needs another Oscar anyway.



#8: When She Was Sick on David Letterman

“Late Show with David Letterman” (1993-2015)




As one of Hollywood’s greats, Streep is undoubtedly familiar with the phrase, “the show must go on.” She took this saying to heart while visiting the “Late Show” in 2008, despite having a bronchial infection and a sinus infection. David Letterman was quick to mention that she probably shouldn’t be out and about, to which Meryl replied, “I was afraid to cancel.” Her illness became the primary focus of the interview with Streep coughing and laughing throughout. You have to give her credit for maintaining a professional demeanor and sense of humor even while under the weather.



#7: When She Met Her Biggest Fan

“Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” (2009-)




Being one of the most beloved actresses in Hollywood, it’s safe to say that Meryl has her fair share of diehard fans. During an interview, host Andy Cohen showed Meryl a series of reaction videos to her victory at the 84th Academy Awards. People were cheering, crying, and jumping on the couch as she accepted her third Oscar. Of course nobody was more ecstatic than her self-proclaimed biggest fan, comedian Billy Eichner. In addition to spreading his love for Streep on the streets, Billy also got to meet his idol in the studio. As you can imagine, Billy lost his mind, although he swiftly restrained himself behind the bar, much to Meryl’s relief.



#6: When She Made Everything Sound More Interesting

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-)




Meryl Streep has received so much acclaim throughout her career that people often joke that she could score an Oscar nomination just for reading from the phone book. Ellen DeGeneres decided to put this theory to the test, asking Meryl to make even the dullest dialog sound interesting. Streep was up for the challenge as she gave an oatmeal recipe a sexy spin. She also channeled a woman in labor while reading a traffic report and recited a Wikipedia entry under the persona of a teenager. Demonstrating her natural improv skills and limitless acting range, Meryl proves that there’s no role she can’t master.



#5: When She Won a Primetime Emmy

“56th Primetime Emmy Awards” (2004)




Over two decades after receiving a Primetime Emmy for the miniseries “Holocaust,” Streep picked up another statuette for her stunning work in HBO’s “Angels in America.” Meryl kicked off her acceptance speech by acknowledging that sometimes even she feels overrated… although this wasn’t one of those instances! Streep was especially complimented to be nominated alongside so many extraordinary actresses, giving shout outs to Glenn Close, Judy Davis, Helen Mirren, and Emma Thompson. Then when the music started to play her off, Meryl just sang along. As humble as she is hilarious, Meryl’s award show speeches are always the cherry on top of the winning performances.



#4: When She Met Anna Wintour

Vogue




Meryl racked in yet another Oscar nomination for her performance in “The Devil Wears Prada.” Streep portrayed an icy fashion magazine editor named Miranda Priestly, who some speculated was based on Anna Wintour of Vogue. There were even rumors that Wintour threatened to fire any real-life fashion designers if they appeared in the film. Wintour apparently decided to finally embrace Miranda about ten years down the line, as she interviewed Meryl for Vogue. Reenacting the film, Wintour asked Streep about “The Post,” Harvey Weinstein, and the possibility of seeing a female president one day. Mixing clever satire with topical commentary, this interview is simply to die for. That’s all.



#3: When She Swapped Roles with Tom Hanks

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-)




If there’s a living performer who’s as adored and accomplished as Meryl Streep, it would have to be Tom Hanks. The two shared the silver screen in “The Post,” inspiring Ellen DeGeneres to test both of their acting abilities when they visited her show. Swapping roles with Hanks, Streep was asked to portray the titular character from Forrest Gump and Woody from “Toy Story.” Meanwhile, Hanks did his best impersonation of Miranda Priestly and donned a wig to deliver an ironclad impression of Margaret Thatcher. It’s priceless seeing these two acting giants switch places, offering a surreal glimpse into a parallel universe.



#2: When She Kissed Sandra Bullock

“15th Critics' Choice Awards” (2010)




Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock were both winners at the 2010 Critics’ Choice Awards, tying for the Best Actress prize. While Bullock was clearly honored to share the award, she decided to have some fun. Pretending to square off with Meryl, Sandra jokingly claimed that this whole situation was “bullshit.” Just to clarify that there was really no bad blood, Bullock laid one on Streep’s lips in the most talked about celebrity kiss since Britney, Christina, and Madonna. Giving her a hug back, Streep was visibly overjoyed for Sandra and happy to go along with the stunt. Streep was even courteous enough to stand aside as her fellow winner delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech.



Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



Her 1990 Throwback

“Good Morning America” (1997-)



“I Would Like to Spank…”

“56th British Academy Film Awards” (2003)



Don’t Mess with Meryl Streep

“AFI Life Achievement Award” (2004)



#1: When She Received the Cecil B. DeMille Award

“74th Golden Globe Awards” (2017)



Streep has given some unforgettable acceptance speeches over the years, but she truly outdid herself at the 74th Golden Globes. Accepting a lifetime achievement award, she used this platform to highlight all the diverse performers the Hollywood Foreign Press had brought together that night. Since so many artists in Hollywood come from varied backgrounds, Meryl argued that putting up walls would only limit American culture. Empowering, timely, and thought-provoking, Streep’s speech brought down the house and practically broke the internet, even if some felt it was “overrated.”
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