The powerful media mogul is the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award.
Oprah Winfrey received the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday night — becoming the first black woman to receive the award.
Winfrey joins an impressive list of DeMille Award recipients including Denzel Washington, Audrey Hepburn, Meryl Streep and directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg — but her speech was arguably one of the most memorable to ever be delivered on the awards stage.
Oprah Winfrey is the first black woman to receive the award. In her speech, Oprah weaved in a story about her childhood, drew in unforgettable moments of black history and recognized today’s powerful Time’s Up movement. She also thanked her best friend Gayle King and partner Stedman Graham as well as paid homage to actor Sidney Poitier who received the same award in 1982.
“In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee watching Ann Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: ‘The winner is, Sidney Poitier,'” Winfrey recalled. “Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white and, of course, his skin was black. And I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that.
“It is not lost on me at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given the same award,” she continued, as the room erupted in applause. “It is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who’ve inspired me, who’ve challenged me, who sustain me and made my journey to the stage possible.”
Reese Witherspoon, who will appear alongside Winfrey in the upcoming film A Wrinkle In Time, presented the award to Winfrey during the ceremony.
“When I learned that I’d get to introduce Oprah tonight, I began asking people, ‘If you could say one thing to Oprah, what would you say?’ And they all said different things, but every answer started the same: ‘Tell her thank you,” Witherspoon said. “‘Tell her thank you for teaching us, for inspiring us, for encouraging us. Thank you for seeing us.’
“So Oprah, thank you for your grace and your generosity and your wisdom. Thank you for your powerful contributions to the world of film and television. In this, and in everything you do, you’ve changed our lives.”
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