Barbra Streisand Dreams of a World Where ‘Prejudice Is a Thing of the Past’: SAG Life Achievement Award

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Barbra Streisand accepts the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on February 24, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.  - Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Barbra Streisand accepts the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on February 24, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. - Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Barbra Streisand was honored at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Saturday at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles, receiving a Life Achievement Award. The 30th annual ceremony was streamed live globally on Netflix for the first time.

The legendary actress, director-producer, and singer is one of the few people who have achieved EGOT status — meaning she has won an Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar, and a Tony award. For the record, she has won two Oscars, 10 Grammys, five Emmys, and a Tony.

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Jennifer Aniston and surprise presenter Bradley Cooper, who remade A Star Is Born in 2018 (Streisand starred in the 1976 version), presented Streisand her trophy. Following a montage showcasing her more than six-decade career, she delivered an inspiring speech, which earned her a standing ovation.

“I remember dreaming of being an actress as a teenager, sitting in my bed in Brooklyn with a pint of coffee ice cream,” she said. She had an epiphany during Guys and Dolls. “Everything was so beautiful up on that screen.” Her first crush was the film’s star Marlon Brando. “I wanted to be the one he fell in love with. That make believe world was much more pleasant than anything I was experiencing. I didn’t like reality.”

Streisand said that although she didn’t look like the other women she saw on the screen and her mom told her she should instead learn to type, fortunately, she didn’t listen. Among the people she thanked was director William Wyler and cinematographer Harry Stradling from her first film Funny Girl, who asked for her opinions and adopted them. “They never ever put me down… And it set the tone for my whole career.”

She added: “It’s really a privilege to be part of this profession. For a couple of hours, people can sit in a theater and escape their own troubles. What an idea, moving pictures on a screen. And I can’t help but think back to the people who built this industry. Ironically, they were also escaping their own troubles.”

She named many of the men early on who established the film industry who escaped prejudice in Western Europe because of their religion. “They were dreamers like all of us tonight. And now I dream of a world where such prejudice is a thing of the past,” she said.

“Barbra Streisand is an icon and unparalleled talent, a force of nature who has seamlessly woven her brilliance through the fabric of our industry,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement. “From her earliest days captivating audiences on Broadway to her unforgettable roles in cinematic classics like ‘Funny Girl,’ ‘The Way We Were’ and ‘A Star Is Born,’ Barbra’s ability to inhabit her characters with authenticity is nothing short of extraordinary.”

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