Streep, who ended Davis' awards run for "The Help" by winning the lead actress Oscar for "The Iron Lady," lauded her friend and colleague Tuesday at Women in Film's annual Crystal + Lucy Awards.
She called Davis "a lion-hearted woman;" a gifted and determined actress who studied at Juilliard, won Tony Awards and captivated Hollywood with her eight-minute performance in "Doubt."
"She was a newcomer at 45," Streep joked.
Davis returned the love as she accepted the award.
"I have a confession," she said, sharing how touched she was when Streep sent her a card after the film wrapped. Davis also kept a photo of the two of them together on set.
"OK Meryl, I framed the card," Davis said. "So you can never come over to the house."
Other honorees at the private ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel were actresses Christina Applegate and Chloe Grace Moretz, NBCUniversal Cable chief Bonnie Hammer, cinematographer Anette Haellmigk and five female executives from Fox.