by: Anne DeLello ’20 A&E Staff
While most attendees of the annual Golden Globes spend the night waiting for their names to be called, this year, there was one award for which waiting was not necessary. Ellen DeGeneres received the Carol Burnett Award, and she was certainly grateful for not having to wait anxiously for the winner announcement. She even noted in her acceptance speech, “There’s nothing worse than sitting there, like most of you, waiting and wondering if you’re going to win.”
The Carol Burnett Award was created with the intention of honoring excellence in the television industry. DeGeneres is the first person to receive this award aside from Carol Burnett herself. The award was presented for the first time at the January 2019 Golden Globes.
DeGeneres acknowledges Burnett in her speech saying, “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 with me with Carol Burnett.”
According to the Golden Globe Awards website, the award is “equivalent to its film accolade counterpart, the Cecil B. Deville Award, the Carol Burnett Award will be presented annually to an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen.”
The award was presented by Kate McKinnon, who is best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Following her presentation of the award, a video played showcasing moments from the entirety of DeGeneres’ almost 20-year long career in the television industry.
DeGeneres’ funny speech showed her personality and detailed her career. The talk show host managed to explain the bumps along the road, such as when her sitcom was canceled once she declared herself openly gay, as well as her successes with a sense of humor and sentiment that are unique to DeGeneres’ personality.
Throughout her speech, DeGeneres addressed both her struggles and her triumphs in the industry, the biggest triumph thus far being the first openly gay woman to host her own daytime television show. When talking about her show during the acceptance speech, DeGeneres tells the audience, “All I’ve ever wanted to do is make people feel good and laugh and there is no greater feeling than when someone tells me that I’ve made their day better with my show.”
She ended her speech by saying, “The real power of television, for me, is not that people watch my show, but people 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.“
The bar has certainly been set high with these inaugural winners of the Carol Burnett Award, and it is sure to continue to gain prestige with every passing year.