- Golden Globe Awards
2020: Ellen DeGeneres Honored with the Carol Burnett Award
It’s a prestigious award, and what I like most about it is that I knew, coming in, I would win,” Ellen DeGeneres, ever the comedian, said almost right from the beginning of her acceptance speech as the recipient of the Carol Burnett Award at the 2020 Golden Globes.
Looking at the audience full of bold-faced names, including Burnett herself, DeGeneres remarked, “I feel humbled and honored to receive this. Being the first person after Carol Burnett is quite an honor, so thank you so much.
“There’s nothing worse than sitting there, like most of you, waiting and wondering if you’re going to win and politely acting like, ‘I’m going to listen to everybody’s speeches,’ like it’s nice, and it’s not. Because people just go on and on and you’re like, ‘I’m not going to do that. I’m going to be quick.’”
But the three-time Golden Globe nominee for Best Television Actress – Musical/Comedy Series for Ellen, on a roll, added, “Although I don’t have to because it’s a special award and they don’t play me off. I don’t have to end at all because it’s a special award. They said they were going to give me a sign at 25 minutes but that’s for my reference, just to see where I was. But I could go on.”
With deadpan humor, DeGeneres continued like she was indeed going to talk for over 25 minutes, reciting when and where she was born, what kind of day January 26, 1958 was like, and so on. The audience, led by Burnett, lapped it up.
The comedian did get serious when she paid tribute to the comedy icon after whom the award was named. “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,” said DeGeneres. “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 just genuine and personal.”
Of her own career, DeGeneres shared, “All I’ve ever wanted to do is make people feel good and laugh. There is 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 sickness or a hard time in their lives.
“But 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 less fortunate than themselves.”
DeGeneres’s words echoed what then Hollywood Foreign Press Association President, the late Lorenzo Soria, said in a statement about why she was chosen as the Carol Burnett Award honoree:
“From her sitcoms to stand-up, to becoming a household staple on daytime television, she is a pioneer who has 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.”