The 2020 Golden Globe Awards were a very special night for Ellen DeGeneres, 61, as she became the second-ever recipient of the Carol Burnett Award at the show on Jan. 5. The talk show host shared the sweetest kiss with her wife Portia de Rossi before taking the stage to accept her honor after a funny and emotional intro by Saturday Night Live funny lady Kate McKinnon, and her speech definitely struck a chord.
After sending love to Australia and all the people and animals being affected by the devastating wildfires, Ellen went on to make sure humor was a part of her grateful speech throughout. “What I liked most about it is i knew I would win,” she jokingly started when giving the reasons why she likes getting the specific Carol Burnett Award. She went on to thank Carol Burnett, who the award is named after, and made sure to get in another joke when doing so.
“I feel like we all think we know someone, there’s a connection when we watch someone on TV for as long as we are on TV and that’s what it was like for me with Carol Burnett,” she began. “I felt like I knew her, I felt like she showed us who she was every week, she was larger than life. We counted on her to make us feel good and she delivered every single week she never let us down. She was hilarious in all the sketches that she did and when she did the Q&A with the audience she was genuine and personal and I always felt like she was speaking to me. At the end of the show, every time she pulled her ear I knew she was saying, ‘It’s OK, I’m gay too.'”
After laughs from the audience, Ellen ended her speech by sharing her favorite part about what she does. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was make people feel good and laugh and there’s no greater feeling than when someone tells me that I’ve made their day better with my show or that I’ve helped them get through a sickness or a hard time in their lives,” she explained. “The real power of television for me is not the people who watch my show, but the people who watch my show and then they’re inspired to go out and do the same thing in their own lives. They make people laugh or be kind or help someone that’s less fortunate than themselves and that is the power of television and I’m so so grateful to be a part of it.”
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The Carol Burnett Award is given to a star who has made “outstanding and lasting contributions to television, on or off screen.” Carol herself was the first to receive the honor at the show in 2019. When Ellen was announced as the follow-up recipient, HFPA president, Lorenzo Soria, explained, “From her sitcoms, to her stand-up, to becoming a household staple on daytime television, she is a pioneer who captivated audiences for nearly 25 years with her undeniable charm and wit. In addition to her television success, she’s an advocate and philanthropist, lending her voice to those who don’t have one, and spreading kindness and joy through the power of her platform.”
The movie equivalent of the Carol Burnett Award is the Cecil B DeMille Award, which went to Tom Hanks at the 2020 ceremony. This honor was created back in 1952, and named after its initial recipient, Cecil B. DeMille. In 2019, the honor went to Jeff Bridges, and in 2018, Oprah Winfrey was the honoree.
The 2020 Golden Globes were hosted by Ricky Gervais. Some of the biggest stars in movies, television and music — including Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Charlize Theron and many more — were among the nominees at the event.