Oprah Winfrey presented her ‘The Butler’ costar Forest Whitaker with the prestigious Joel Siegel Award during the Jan. 16 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, for his awe-inspiring charity work in Africa and beyond.
The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association handed Forest Whitaker the prestigious Joel Siegel Award on Jan. 16, celebrating Forest’s long and decorated career as a philanthropist. Find out what presenter Oprah Winfrey had to say about her Academy Award winning The Butler costar below!
Oprah Presents Forest Whitaker With Joel Siegel Award
Oprah was beaming when she gave the award to her longtime friend Forest, who was honored for his charity work for once, instead of his amazing acting.
“Forest subtly and so masterfully embodies the soul of a character,” Oprah said, before commenting on Forest’s love for his family, friends, and charity. Forest founded the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, which is dedicated to helping people in nations like Uganda, Kenya, and Sudan who are affected by violence “regardless of age, gender, nationality or faith.”
Foret was humble and gracious as he accepted the award, saying that he was moved by all of the young people he has met through his charity worldwide who have been scarred by violence, but still manage to give to their fellow man. He thanked the “anonymous heroes” he’s met along the way, saying, “Together we can spread one fundamental human truth: my pain is your pain, and your face is my own reflection.”
Forest Whitaker Wins The Joel Siegel Award
Unlike the rest of the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Joel Siegel Award isn’t only about acting chops (though Forest most certainly has those). Per the BFCA:
“The Joel Siegel Award is a special honor given by the BFCA in the name of Good Morning America film critic and founding BFCA member Joel Siegel, who lost his long struggle with cancer in June, 2007. The Joel Siegel Award is special to the BFCA, honoring its namesake’s legacy and his belief that the true value of celebrity is as an enhanced platform to do good works for others. It spotlights the leadership role so many great stars undertake to help solve the world’s most pressing problems. Previous recipients include Sean Penn, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle.”
What do you think, HollywoodLifers? Were you happy to see Forest take home the trophy? Did you enjoy Oprah’s tribute? Let us know in the comments!
— Shaunna Murphy