By Veronica Anassis
It was a big win for LGBTQ representation at the Golden Globes this year, with Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John taking home major awards.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association handed DeGeneres The Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television. She is the second recipient, after Carol Burnett herself received the inaugural award named in her honour, last year.
A successful stand up comic during the 1990s, DeGeneres was given her own sitcom, Ellen, in 1994. It rated highly until 1998 when it was cancelled due to poor ratings. Ellen’s character famously came out on air during “The Puppy Episode”, coinciding with her coming out in real life.
Though she became a gay icon overnight, she was shut out of an industry pandering to conservative audiences at the time, and suffered backlash from her much publicised relationship with erratic actress Anne Heche.
DeGeneres appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee and admitted she suffered years of depression.
“When I lost my sitcom, I didn’t work for three years solid. I was in Ojai, literally bitter and sad and angry. Like, how did this change everything? Just by me being honest and saying I’m gay?”
Breakout SNL star, Kate McKinnon presented the award to the talk show host in a moving speech, citing Ellen as an inspiration in her formative years.
“In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was in the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror and thinking, ‘Am I gay?’ And I was, and I still am,” McKinnon said.
“And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”
“She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it,” she said.
“And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBT people on TV.’
Ellen responded, calling McKinnon’s words “amazing”.
On her daytime talk show, Ellen gushed about McKinnon.
“She is so incredible, I love her so very much,”
Elton John and lifelong writing partner, Bernie Taupin, won Best Original Song for ‘I’m Gonna Love Me (Again)’ from the acclaimed biopic, Rocketman.
“It’s the first time I won an award with him. Ever,” John said gleefully. “We never won a Grammy, we never did anything together except for this and I’m so happy.”
Taupin added: “This isn’t just a song we wrote for a movie. This is a song we wrote for a movie that deals with our relationship. And it’s a relationship that doesn’t happen very often in this town. It’s a 52-year-old marriage.”
‘I’m Gonna Love Me’ is now a strong favourite to win the 2020 Academy Awards.