Oprah 'sets the bar pretty high': Streep

Oprah Winfrey has shown the qualities necessary for a presidential bid, Academy Award-winning actor Meryl Streep says.

Meryl Streep has doubled down on her endorsement of a presidential run for Oprah Winfrey, saying the talk show host has "the voice of a leader".

The star of The Post, released in Australian cinemas on Thursday, says Winfrey has a definite role to play in the upcoming political cycle.

The three-time Academy Award winner, speaking in London alongside director Steven Spielberg and co-star Tom Hanks, said the 63-year-old has shown presidential qualities.

"I think Oprah has shown what a presidential candidate should talk like, to what language, passion and principle they should adhere, what rhetoric can rouse people, and how important it is to people to feel that and get that encouragement," she said.

"That's the voice of a leader, whether she's leading us to the candidate we need or whether she herself is the candidate she sets the bar pretty high."

A new day is on the horizon: Oprah Winfrey

The film tells the story of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham's (Streep) decision to publish what became known as the Pentagon Papers after the New York Times had been ordered to cease doing so by the Nixon White House.

The Post comes at a time when press freedom is under increasing scrutiny from the Trump administration and Hollywood continues to deal with the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent #MeToo movement.

Streep said she was drawn to the story by the strength of Graham's convictions at a time when there were few female voices in the media, let alone in senior positions.

"What was interesting about the screenplay was that it fell to a woman to hold the line for press freedom at a time when women were excluded from any kind of leadership role in the press," she said.

"It was a different world. For that crucial decision - to hold the line, to risk everything - to have that fall to a woman who was really alone in her position, that's what interested me.

"Both holding the line for press freedom and the fact that it was a transitional moment for women."

For his part Spielberg is happy with any role The Post may play in continuing down the path laid by Graham, the first female leader of a Fortune 500 company.

"If our movie has anything to do with opening up that conversation I'm happy to have helped make that contribution," he said.

"If we stop having this conversation ... we'll look back on this and say why didn't this last? Why didn't the snow stick. Why did it melt so quickly?

"This watershed moment has to make permanent change in our country."

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