Meryl Streep was tearfully hailed for changing the way the world views women as she was handed an honorary Palme d’Or.

The Hollywood veteran and three-time Oscar winner, 74, was handed Cannes Film Festival’s highest honour on Tuesday (14.05.24) by fellow acting veteran Juliette Binoche, 60, who wept as she presented Meryl with the trophy and told how she had transformed the perception of females on screen.

Juliette said at Cannes’ opening night ceremony: “You have carved out an indelible place for yourself in the history of cinema. You are an international treasure.

“What I could sense while watching your films is that you have to fulfill your dreams, our dreams and beyond.

“You change the way we look at women.

“You changed the way we look at women in the cinema world and also helping us to look at ourselves differently.”

Meryl made her Cannes debut 35 years ago with 1988’s ‘Evil Angels’, for which she won the festival’s best actress award – before going on to classic roles in 1979’s ‘Kramer vs Kramer’ and ‘Sophie’s Choice’.

The actress said in her Cannes acceptance speech on Tuesday she had watched Juliette’s 2023 film ‘The Taste of Things’ and joked: “I had to go to bed, I was crying so hard.”

Meryl then teared up, quipped Americans often mispronounce Cannes and thanked her long-term agent Kevin Huvane and her hair and makeup stylist Roy Helen – who she said was “responsible for almost every single one of the characters that I have ever played in the last half century”.

She added watching clips of her movies was “like looking out the window of a bullet train, watching my youth fly into my middle age right on to where I am standing on the stage tonight”.

Meryl also admitted she was sceptical about the future of her career when she first came to Cannes in 1988, adding: “Thirty-five years ago when I was here for the first time, I was already a mother of three.

“I was about to turn 40 and I thought that my career was over.

“And that was not an unrealistic expectation for actresses at that time... but my mother, who was usually right about everything, said to me, ‘Meryl, darling, you’ll see it all goes so fast. So fast.’

“And it does. Except for my speech, which is too long.”