Actress Meryl Streep has said Oprah Winfrey has “the voice of a leader”, as speculation swirls that the chat show queen may mount a presidential bid.
Referring to Oprah’s speech at this weekend’s Golden Globes, Streep told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “That is how you rouse people. That is how you lead.”
And the actress said she had heard that Oprah “is really considering” running.
She “certainly set the bar pretty high for anybody else who decides to run” for president in 2020, Streep added.
“No-one can speak in less lofty terms and adhere to principle and passion in a political campaign, because we’ve seen that it’s possible,” she said.
Streep was in the audience when Winfrey gave her address at Sunday’s award ceremony, which was dominated by the fallout from Hollywood’s sex abuse scandals. She received a rapturous reception for telling the audience “a new day is on the horizon”.
Streep was talking to Marr to promote her new film The Post. The full interview will be aired on Marr’s BBC One programme on Sunday.
She was speaking alongside her co-star Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg, who both expressed similar sentiments about Oprah’s appeal.
“Oprah’s had 35 years experience of building bridges and creating conversations between disparate people who don’t agree… on her syndicated television show,” Spielberg said. “For me, those are credentials for qualification.”
Hanks said: “I believe Oprah wakes up in the morning and both personally and professionally wonders what she can do specifically in order to make the world a better place.”
Apparently referring to President Trump, Hanks continued: “We have proven, I think, just within the last few years, that if you want to be president of the United States, guess what, there’s a way that that can happen.”
Oprah hasn’t spoken about the speculation, but the possibility that she might consider running has prompted a response from the White House’s current occupant.
“I like Oprah but I don’t think she’s going to run,” President Trump said earlier this week, adding that it would be “a lot of fun” to go up against her.
Speaking at a press conference a day after The Post’s European premiere, Streep also spoke about the Time’s Up campaign, which was endorsed by many attendees at the Golden Globes.
Described as a “unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere”, the project aims to raise money to combat sexual harassment in the film industry and other workplaces.
“Somebody said it’s like an airplane being put together while we’re going down the runway to take off,” Streep said of the campaign. “It’s a moving thing and that’s good, because it needs to fly.
“It’s a growing thing and the most heartening thing is that it doesn’t feel like a one-off. It hasn’t gone away and I don’t think it will. I don’t think we will go backwards.”
Released in the UK on Friday 19 January, The Post tells the real-life story of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and proprietor Kay Graham, who published the classified Pentagon Papers in 1971.
The film was nominated for six Golden Globes but failed to win any prizes at the first major film awards ceremony of the year.
The Post was also snubbed by Bafta earlier this week – something that Streep feigned mock outrage about during Thursday’s press conference in central London.
“Sadly we haven’t been invited to the Baftas so I can’t talk to that,” she replied when asked whether attendees at next month’s event should emulate those at the Golden Globes and wear black in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse.
‘A great Rubicon’
Hanks, who plays Bradlee, said Sunday’s ceremony was evidence that “a great Rubicon” had been crossed in terms of gender equality.
“What is going to come about, I think, is that more women are going to be awarded their positions based on their merits and the quality of their work,” the Forrest Gump star said on Thursday.
Hanks also suggested that the film industry should emulate television, where the proportion of female directors, female writers and female-led projects is considerably higher.
“Television kicks [the] movies’ ass when it comes to diversity in the workplace,” he said. “Women are much better represented in that medium than they are in motion pictures.”