Why Emma Thompson Is Grateful for Menopause

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Emma Thompson had one reason to be grateful for menopause during a recent visit to New York City.

With temperatures plunging to record lows on Tuesday due to a blast of arctic air, Thompson credited her hot flashes for keeping her warm.

"It's such a cold night," the 54-year-old actress told Tuesday's National Board of Review while accepting the best actress award for "Saving Mr. Banks." "You know, it's the first time I've been actively grateful for the menopause."

That was only one of the hilarious one-liners Thompson rattled off during her seemingly off-the-cuff remarks.

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The two-time Oscar-winner took the stage without her high heels.

"Why do we wear them?" she asked the audience. "They're so painful and pointless, really. I would really like to urge everyone to stop it. Just stop it. Don't wear them anymore."

Thompson then questioned all the attention and praise she's been receiving during a year with so many rich and complex roles for actresses.

"It's been an extraordinary year for women's roles. I can't think what gave me the edge," she said. "It must have been the perm, which was a great sacrifice. It meant no sex [with my husband, British actor Greg Wise] for months on end. And then, even then, only with animal noises accompanying it."

As "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers, Thompson wore her hair in a tight perm that she previously joked had people "bleating" as she walked by.

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But if Thompson was the main act at the Board of Review awards, her warm-up, Meryl Streep, was no slouch.

Introducing Thompson, multiple-Oscar winner Streep said, "Not only is she not irascible, she's practically a saint. There's something so consoling about that old trope, but Emma makes you want to kill yourself because she's a beautiful artist, she's a writer, she's a thinker, she's a living, acting conscience. Emma considers carefully what the f*** she is putting out into the culture!

"She works like a stevedore, she drinks like a bloke, and she's smart and crack and she can be withering in a smack-down of wits, but she leads with her heart. And she knows nothing is more funny than earnestness," Streep said about her fellow "rabid man-eating feminist."

Streep concluded with an ode - a poem she wrote - to Thompson.

Thompson was overwhelmed. "A poem, my God!" she said as she accepted her plaque. "I'm nauseous with gratitude."