Watch Oprah Winfrey’s Powerful Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech at Golden Globes
Hollywood actors and actresses celebrated the #MeToo movement and demanded gender and racial justice at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards. Many attendees answered the call to wear black and wore pins that read “Time’s Up!” On Sunday, Oprah Winfrey made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award. The first African American to receive the honor was Sidney Poitier in 1982. During the ceremony, Golden Globes host Seth Meyers joked with Oprah, suggesting she should run for president. The joke, and Oprah’s powerful acceptance speech, fueled a wave of speculation and enthusiasm about a possible 2020 bid by the actress. In response, Oprah’s longtime partner Stedman Graham said, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.” We air Oprah’s acceptance speech, as well as speeches by Golden Globes host Seth Meyers and award winners Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern of “Big Little Lies,” Elisabeth Moss of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Frances McDormand of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and Sterling K. Brown of “This Is Us.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: “Time’s Up!” That was the message at last night’s Golden Globes ceremony in Hollywood, where actors embraced the #MeToo movement and called for gender and racial justice in the post-Harvey Weinstein era. The red carpet went dark, as many actors answered the call to wear black and wore pins that read “Time’s Up!” Golden Globes host Seth Meyers kicked off the evening with a speech focused on sexual harassment in Hollywood, taking aim at disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.
SETH MEYERS: It’s 2018. Marijuana is finally allowed, and sexual harassment finally isn’t. … Harvey Weinstein isn’t here tonight, because, well, I’ve heard rumors that he’s crazy and difficult to work with. But don’t worry, he’ll be back in 20 years, when he becomes the first person ever booed during the “in memoriam.” … Well, despite everything that happened this year, the show goes on. For example, I was happy to hear they’re going to do another season of House of Cards. Is Christopher Plummer available for that, too? I hope he can do a Southern accent, because Kevin Spacey sure couldn’t.
AMY GOODMAN: Eight actresses brought social justice activists with them to the Golden Globes this year: Michelle Williams brought #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke; Meryl Streep walked the red carpet with Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; Shailene Woodley was accompanied by Suquamish Tribe member Calina Lawrence; Emma Stone brought tennis champ and LGBT advocate Billie Jean King—Stone portrayed the athlete in the film Battle of the Sexes; Susan Sarandon brought media justice activist Rosa Clemente; and Amy Poehler’s guest was Saru Jayaraman, president of Restaurant Opportunities Center. In a few minutes, Clemente and Jayaraman will join us from Los Angeles, after their long night at the Golden Globes. This is Golden Globes host, comedian Seth Meyers.
SETH MEYERS: I want to point out that sitting next to Amy is Saru Jayaraman. Give it up for Saru, everyone. She is one of many activists from outside of this industry who have been invited here tonight in support of the #TimesUp initiative. It’s great, yeah. Give it up. It’s great that this movement understands that what tarnished our world this year tarnishes so many others, and it’s reaching out to help them, too.
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, the first Golden Globe of the night went to actress Nicole Kidman for her performance in HBO’s the Big Little Lies. Kidman won for best actress in a limited series for her performance.
NICOLE KIDMAN: My mama was an advocate for the women’s movement when I was growing up. And because of her, I’m standing here. My achievements are her achievements. Antonia Kidman, my sister, and I say say, “Thank you, Janelle Kidman, for what you fought for so hard.” And this character that I played represents something that is the center of our conversation right now: abuse. I do believe, and I hope, we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them. Let’s keep the conversation alive. Let’s do it.
AMY GOODMAN: Also from Big Little Lies, Laura Dern took home the award for best supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie.
LAURA DERN: The most outrageous, complicated woman and a terrified mother, terrified because her little girl was being abused and bullied, and she was too afraid to speak up. Many of us were taught not to tattle. It was a culture of silencing, and that was normalized. I urge all of us to not only support survivors and bystanders who are brave enough to tell their truth, but to promote restorative justice. May we also please protect and employ them. May we teach our children that speaking out, without the fear of retribution, is our culture’s new North Star.
AMY GOODMAN: Elisabeth Moss won the award for best actress in a television series—drama, for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale. The series is based on the novel by author Margaret Atwood, which was originally published in 1985. Moss used her acceptance speech to honor Atwood.
ELISABETH MOSS: This is from Margaret Atwood: “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” Margaret Atwood, this is for you and all of the women who came before you and after you who were brave enough to speak out against intolerance and injustice and to fight for equality and freedom in this world. We no longer live in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the story in print, and we are writing the story ourselves. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: A movie that connects to the #MeToo moment emerged as the night’s top film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, about a mother avenging the rape and murder of her daughter, won best picture—drama, best supporting actor, best screenplay and best actress—drama, for Frances McDormand, who referred to being part of a “tectonic shift” in Hollywood.
FRANCES McDORMAND: I keep my politics private. But it was really great to be in this room tonight and to be a part of the tectonic shift in our industry’s power structure. Trust me, the women in this room tonight are not here for the food. We are here for the work. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: In another historic first for the night, actor Sterling K. Brown became the first African-American man to win a Golden Globe for best actor in a TV series—drama, for his role in This Is Us.
STERLING K. BROWN: Throughout the majority of my career, I have benefited from colorblind casting, which means, you know, like, “Hey, let’s throw a brother in this role.” Right? It’s always really cool. But, Dan Fogelman, you wrote a role for a black man, like that could only be played by a black man. And so, what I appreciate so much about this thing is that I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am. And it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or dismiss anybody who looks like me.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Sterling K. Brown. Well, among all of the major achievements and speeches at Sunday night’s Golden Globes, the most talked about was Oprah Winfrey, who became the first African-American woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. The first African-American to receive the honor was Sidney Poitier in 1982. This is Oprah Winfrey.
OPRAH WINFREY: In 1964, I was a little girl, sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee, watching Anne 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.” 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. And I have tried many, many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats, as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney’s performance in Lilies of the Field: “Amen, amen. Amen, amen.” In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award right here at the Golden Globes. And it is not lost on me that, at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.
It is an honor. 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 have inspired me, who have challenged me, who have sustained me and made my journey to the stage possible: Dennis Swanson, who took a chance on me for A.M. Chicago; Quincy Jones, who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, “Yes, she is Sofia in The Color Purple”; Gayle, who has been the definition of what a friend is; and Stedman, who’s been my rock—just a few to name.
I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, because we all know that the press is under siege these days. But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice, to—to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before, as we try to navigate these complicated times.
Which brings me to this. What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year, we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers. They are working in factories, and they work in restaurants. And they’re in academia, in engineering, in medicine, in science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics, and they’re our soldiers in the military.
And there’s someone else: Recy Taylor—a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from a church service she had attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road, coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone. But her story was reported to the NAACP, where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case. And together, they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed, if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up! Their time is up. And I just hope—I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’s heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say “Me, too,” and every man—every man who chooses to listen.
In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave, to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me, too” again. Thank you. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Oprah Winfrey, accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement Sunday night at the Golden Globes. Just after her speech, Natalie Portman took the stage to announce what she noted were the all-male nominees for best director. During the ceremony, Golden Globes host Seth Meyers joked with Oprah, suggesting she should run for president. The joke, and Oprah’s powerful acceptance speech, fueled a wave of speculation and enthusiasm about a possible 2020 bid by the actress. In response, Oprah’s longtime partner Stedman Graham said, quote, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it,” he said.
When we come back, we’ll speak with two of the social justice activists who accompanied actresses on the red carpet and to the Sunday Golden Globes. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.