During a somber weekend, when most of the room’s mind was on climate change, the raging bushfires in Australia, and growing tension between the U.S. and Iran, the 77th Annual Golden Globes took place in Beverly Hills.
The queerest moment of the night took place early on when Kate McKinnon presented Ellen DeGeneres with the second annual Carol Burnett Excellence in Television Award.
“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,” Kate said. “But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It’s sort of like doing 23andMe, and discovering that you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”
She added, “She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it. Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change. 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.’ And more than that, I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here. So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot. A shot at a good life, and thank you also for the sweater with a picture of the baby goat on it.”
Read all of Kate’s intro speech, here, or watch it below.
In her acceptance speech, Ellen paid homage to Carol Burnett and the impact that the acting legend had on her, saying, “I feel like we all think we know someone— there’s a connection when we watch them on TV for as long as we are on TV, and that’s what it was like for me with Carol Burnett. I felt like I knew her. I felt like she showed us who she was every week. She was larger than life. 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, and I always felt like she was speaking to me. At the end of the show, every time she pulled her ear, I knew she was saying ‘It’s okay, I’m gay too.’”
Elton John won alongside his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, for Best Original Song – Motion Picture for “I’m Gonna Love Me (Again)” from Rocketman, the biopic about his own life. Elton pointed out that it was the first time the two had won an award together.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever won an award with him, ever,” he explained. “We never won a Grammy. We never did anything together [awards-wise] except for this.”
“This is not just about a song we wrote for a movie,” Taupin added. “It’s about 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.”
Later in the night, LGBTQ-ally Taran Egerton won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for playing Elton in Rocketman. Amongst others, he thanked David Furnish, “for allowing me to be the man who could play your husband.”
Renée Zellweger won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for playing gay icon Judy Garland.
Lastly, out director Chris Butler was a surprising winner for Best Motion Picture – Animated, for The Missing Link. The film upset favorites Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4. Butler was a GLAAD Media Award nominee in 2013 for ParaNorman.
Lastly, GLAAD caught up with acting legend Glenn Close this year on the Globes red carpet and spoke with her about her legacy as an ally to the LGBTQ community.