Actress Meryl Streep who portrayed former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the biopic "The Iron Lady", and singer Neil Diamond are among those who bagged this year's Kennedy Center Honors.

Musicians Yo-Yo Ma and Sonny Rollins and actress Barbara Cook will also receive honours at the annual event that celebrates America's most accomplished performers. The star-studded ceremony, where the artists share one of the highest achievements in the arts, is one of the highlights of the Washington cultural year. The event will be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 27 at 9 pm.

"This year, the Kennedy Center celebrates its 40th anniversary by selecting five extraordinary individuals whose collective artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world," said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.

Here are some of the highlights of the event:

Streep poses with her husband and daughter as they arrive for a gala dinner for Kennedy Center Honorees in Washington.Reuters
Yo-Yo Ma puts his arm around former U.S. President Bill Clinton as Streep chats with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after a gala dinner in Washington.Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chats with 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees after a gala dinner in Washington.Reuters
Actress Meryl Streep and family arrive for the 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees gala dinner in Washington.Reuters
Kennedy Center Honorees gather for a group photo with U.S. Secretary of State Clinton in Washington.Reuters