Meryl Streep wins Golden Bear for life work

Two-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, continuing her sweep through awards season Tuesday evening by picking up a Golden Bear lifetime achievement prize at the Berlin film festival, confessed she might be overrated.

Meryl Streep wins Golden Bear for life work
Photo: DPA

Streep told reporters ahead of a gala screening of her Margaret Thatcher biopic “The Iron Lady” for which she is expected to bag her third Academy Award, that she felt her peers’ level of acting had soared in recent years.

Asked whether the hype around the woman frequently called the world’s top actress might just be exaggerated, the 62-year-old said incredulously: “Yeah. Of course. Of course.”

“I do think that the level of acting in general — everybody talks about the golden age of Hollywood but I really think that the level of acting now is higher, deeper, more daring, more adventurous and (deeply) felt and edgy,” she said.

Asked whose work might be on a par with her own best roles, she quipped, “Oh there are only 180.

“This year, particularly for women, there there have been so many wonderful performances, many of them not even nominated, for instance our co-star Olivia Colman in a film called ‘Tyrannosaur’ which is absolutely breathtaking and she has not been recognised for it,” she said.

Colman played Thatcher’s daughter Carol in “The Iron Lady”.

“Anna Paquin made a film called ‘Margaret’ that very few people have seen. Again, in any other year, it would have won every single award,” Streep said.

“Every year we focus on a certain number of awards because of the machinery and publicity and there are many others that deserve it and that’s your job to publicise them and make noise about them,” she told reporters.

Ahead of the award presentation, Streep gave a rollicking press conference where she accepted a bouquet of white roses from an Austrian journalist for Valentine’s Day and thanked him with a peck on the cheek.

And a Russian journalist gave her a hand-painted matryoshka doll depicting her in three of her roles including “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Iron Lady”.

“I like very much that they reduced my nose a little bit,” she joked.

Streep, who picked up Britain’s BAFTA Sunday for “The Iron Lady”, said she tried not to get caught up in the speculation about a third Oscar.

“It’s very odd to be in a position where people say to you, ‘Oh I think you’re going to win something, oh I don’t think you have a chance this year’. Suddenly you feel like you’re in a sporting event and you haven’t signed up for it,” she said.

“You did some work in a film that you’re proud of, and you’re hoping that people are going to see it and suddenly you’re doing callisthenics to get ready for the Super Bowl. It’s an out of body experience, it truly is.”

Asked about the price she paid for her success, Streep admitted it has limited her movements.

“There are five contemporary art museums in Berlin. I would love to go to a contemporary art museum. I won’t go,” she said. “It’s hard, you know, because I can look at something and there are five people in front looking at me. I’m not complaining, it’s very good but I miss a lot of art.”

Streep, who has appeared in more than 40 films, captured a best actress Oscar for “Sophie’s Choice” in 1982 and for best supporting actress in “Kramer vs Kramer” in 1979.

The Berlin festival is showing a retrospective of Streep’s top films in honour of her Golden Bear.


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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.