OVIEDO – American actor Meryl Streep on Friday received Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Arts Award at a ceremony presided over by the Spanish royal family in the northern city of Oviedo.
During her acceptance speech, Streep spoke about the empathy actors must feel for their characters and which people in cinemas and theaters feel for people on screen or stage that look — or sound — different to themselves, as something that could be useful in everyday life too.
“Empathy may be a radical form of outreach and diplomacy useful in other theaters of endeavor” she said. “In our world, in our increasingly hostile, volatile world, I hope we might take to heart another rule every actor is taught, that is: it is all about listening.”
The prize was one of eight awarded this year in areas covering the arts, literature, science and international cooperation among others. The annual awards are among the most important in the Spanish-speaking world.
Others honored at the ceremony were bestselling Japanese author Haruki Murakami, who won the literature prize and U.S. biologists Jeffrey Gordon, Peter Greenberg and Bonnie Bassler, who received the scientific and technical research prize. Gordon was unable to attend.
Two of the 2023 winners, French historian Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, who won the social sciences award, and Italian author and philosopher Nuccio Ordine, who won the communication and humanities prize, died earlier this year and were represented by relatives.
Scottish charity group Mary’s Meals, which won the concord award for its work feeding schoolchildren facing extreme poverty across the globe and The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) which was honored with the international cooperation distinction, were also represented.
Sports award winner, Kenyan marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge, said in a speech that running for him was much more than a physical exercise.
“We must make our world a running world, because a running world is a happy world. And a happy world is a peaceful world,” he said.
The prizes, for which the winners receive 50,000 euros ($53,000) and a sculpture by Spanish Catalan artist Joan Miró, were formally presented by Crown Princess Leonor after whom the prize foundation is named.
Ciarán Giles contributed from Madrid.