Oprah Winfrey accepts Cecil B. DeMille Award

eese Witherspoon presented the Cecil B. DeMille Award to Oprah Winfrey and said that she was incredibly grateful to be stuck in a trailer with Winfrey while filming “A Wrinkle in Time,” saying that spending time with her was like going to Wharton Business School.

She also said that she learned how to make the best English muffins from Winfrey.

“Oprah’s hugs could end wars and solve world peace,” added Witherspoon. “When she hugs you, it’s the greatest thing ever.”

Witherspoon thanked Winfrey and closed off her speech saying, “You’ve changed our lives,” before a montage of Winfrey’s performances in film and TV played, in addition to clips from her productions and other notable events.

Winfrey accepted her award and remembered watching Sidney Poitier win an Oscar in 1964 and how much it meant to her to see a black actor to win the award. Winfrey then said what an honor it was to be the first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which Poitier won in 1982.

“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” said Winfrey. “I am especially proud of all of 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 we tell and this year, we became the story.”

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Winfrey continued and said the story transcends any culture, geography, politics or workplace. She thanked all of the women who have endured “years of abuse and assault.”

Winfrey also talked about the legacy of Recy Taylor, a black woman who was gang-raped by six men in 1944. Taylor died 10 days ago, Winfrey pointed out. She talked about the powerful men like those who got away with raping Taylor and said, “But their time is up. And 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.”

The audience gave a standing ovation as Winfrey asked everyone to do their part to make sure that one day, “No one has to say ‘Me too’ again.”