The 67-year-old was awarded the honorary Cecil B Demille award on Sunday evening for her “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment” and began her speech by explaining she had lost her voice earlier in the week from “screaming in lamentation”.
"I love you all, but you'll have to forgive me," Streep said, "I've lost my voice in screaming in lamentation this weekend."
The Devil Wears Prada actress singled out a number of high-profile actors within the room, listing their birth places and hometowns before explaining Hollywood is "just a bunch of people from other places."
The actress said, "Hollywood is crawling with foreigners and outsiders, and if we kick 'em all out, we'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts," Streep said.
The Mamma Mia! star continued, "an actor's only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many many many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work.
"But there was one performance this year that stunned me; it sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth."