Meryl Streep pulled out a major upset at the Oscars tonight when she beat out Viola Davis for best actress. It marks Streep's third Oscar (and 17th nomination!), but being a seasoned veteran didn't stop her from showing her excitement backstage in the press room. Streep joked about The Academy being sick of her, gave advice for young women, and talked about why she doesn't take anything for granted.
On what went through her mind when she won: They call your name and you just sort of go into a white light. And it was just thrilling. And it was like I was a kid again — and I was a kid the last time I won. Two of the nominees were not even conceived the last time I won!
On whether or not she got to meet Margaret Thatcher: No, I didn't, but I studied her and I studied. And then the challenge was to imagine her present life, and that was completely on active imagination. There was a lot of freedom in that, but also responsibility to a real person and to history. It was really, very, very satisfying as an actor, as an artist, to make a film that starts out about Margaret Thatcher and ends up being really about all of us.
On how she makes time for personal relationships: It's the juggle and the challenge that we [women] have, but honestly, in my life, because it's in the arts, I don't go to work every day. So my day has been more flexible than other working women, even when I was young and broke. I was only ever working for four months at a time and then I was unemployed. So my children never knew when I was going to be home, which was very valuable [laughs]. It was a struggle. Women have to do it all.
On how it feels to have won three times: I read a poem yesterday, and it had nothing to do with this, but one of the lines jumped out, and it said "It's as strange to be here once as it is to return." So that's true. The whole thing is strange. If you're a human being, it's weird. If you're not, I don't know. Probably fine.
On if she worried that she'd never win again: No. I have everything I've ever dreamed of in my life. I think there's room for other people, and frankly, I understand Streep fatigue. And it shocked me that it didn't override this tonight. I was really, really happy but I don't take anything for granted, that's for sure.
On advice for young women: Never give up, don't give up, don't vie up. Many girls around the world live in circumstances that are unimaginably different. Show business is a golf game compared to the way most kids grow up in the world. But I would say never give up.
On how it felt to see herself as Margaret Thatcher: By the time we had achieved the right amount of less and less and less, I had become acclimated to not looking at Margaret Thatcher in the mirror, I thought it was me. And that was important to me, that I wasn't looking at rubber, that I wasn't looking at me. At that point in creating that character, I had already morphed, in a way, in my head and in my heart with her. And her concerns, and her interests, her zeal, her mission, her sense of rightness, and all that. But honestly, when we first had the old-age makeup on, I saw my dad. Maybe my dad looked like Margaret Thatcher.