Jane Fonda was not short for words at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards. The longtime actress and activist, 83, took the stage and accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award on February 28, where she delivered an impassioned speech. The actress stepped onto the stage in a bold white suit, and her words resonated with everyone in the limited audience. “I’m so moved to receive this honor,” Jane humbly began. “We are a community of story tellers and in turbulent times like these, story telling has always been essential.”
The star highlighted the incredible films from 2020, and how they enlightened her to experiences of people and stories across the globe. But Jane was also very thoughtful about the need for inclusion in the industry moving forward. “So, let’s all of us…let’s all of us make an effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises and that everyone’s story has a chance to be seen and heard.” Jane also encouraged her contemporaries to be “in step with the emerging diversity that’s happening, because of all those who marched and fought in the past.” In closing her speech, Jane told Hollywood to “be leaders” and active agents of change.
"I have seen a lot of diversity in my long life and at times I have been challenged to understand some of the people I've met but inevitably if my heart is open and I look beneath the surface, I feel kinship."
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) March 1, 2021
Jane joins an elite group of artists with her Cecil B. DeMille honor, named after the famed Hollywood filmmaker who directed films like The Ten Commandments (1956), Best Picture winner Greatest Show On Earth (1952), and Samson and Delilah (1949), among others. Last year, the award was presented to actor Tom Hanks, who lovingly dedicated his speech to his family and the humble beginnings of his career. Other past recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and more.The actress is already a decorated veteran of Hollywood, with two Academy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards, among other honors. The daughter of the late venerated actor Henry Fonda, Jane began acting in her early 20s and earned her first Academy Award nomination in 1970 for the 1969 motion picture They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? She starred alongside her own father in the 1981 film On Golden Pond, Henry Fonda’s last film for which he and his daughter were nominated for Academy Award recognition, with Henry winning the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Aside from her towering filmography, Jane has always been an adamant activist. She protested the Vietnam war and used her star power to highlight political and social injustices across the nation. At 83 years old, the actress has yet to lose her tenacity for activism. In 2020, she held Fire Drill Friday protests in Washington D.C. and in Los Angeles, bringing together other A-list talent to shed light on her cause for climate change awareness and legislation.
“It’s very hard in life to find a way to align your body with your deepest values, and that’s what civil disobedience can do,” Jane told Elle for their April 2020 issue. “Even though you’re being handcuffed and put in a situation where you have absolutely no control, it’s like stepping into yourself. I have chosen to put myself in this position where I lose all power because of something I believe in. And it’s incredible.”