Ryan Murphy Accepts Carol Burnett Award at Golden Globes by Celebrating His LGBTQ+ Actors

Ryan Murphy at the 2023 Golden Globes
Rich Polk/NBC

The 2023 Golden Globe Awards honored Ryan Murphy with the Carol Burnett Award, for his TV career achievements, and he spent the majority of his speech celebrating LGBTQ+ actors he brought with him as guests and called “heroes of mine.”

After Billy Porter, who starred in Murphy’s Pose, presented the award to Murphy, he started by recalling that the 2022 Golden Globes weren’t televised and just why he had wished they had been. “I was so thrilled when it was announced that Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez, from my show Pose had been awarded Best Actress in a Drama Series. In doing so, Mj, from Newark, New Jersey, became the first trans actress ever to win a Golden Globe. And I thought, ‘Wow, how I would have loved for Mj to be on this stage getting the standing ovation she deserved for making history,” he said before calling attention to her in the audience and asking her to stand so everyone could “give her the ovation that she deserves to hear.” They did.

Murphy then reflected on working with Carol Burnett on Glee. “She’s one of my idols and tonight’s award made me reflect on what a lifetime of achievement really is. You get there, I think, by being fearless like these following people who are here tonight, all heroes of mine,” he explained.

Ryan Murphy and Billy Porter at the 2023 Golden Globes

Rich Polk/NBC

He then named Porter, pointing to “the amazing achievement [his] entire life has been. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Billy was constantly told that he was not worthy. Said Billy, ‘when I demanded to be seen as a three-dimensional human being, the work dried up.’ But Billy Porter kept at it and now he’s one of the most iconic actors of his generation with two Tonys, a Grammy, and an Emmy award for Pose to show for it. More than that, Billy Porter has changed our perceptions by changing fashion. He did this. He’s the one who ushered in this new movement by wearing a black velvet tuxedo gown on the Oscars red carpet. I asked him to wear that outfit tonight, and he said, ‘bitch, it’s in a museum.’ But he whipped up this fuchsia replica for me. And I love it, and I love him.”

Murphy then turned to Niecy Nash-Betts, who starred in his Dahmer on Netflix. “Born in LA, a mother of three, she was told only a couple years ago when she wanted to marry the love of her life Jessica that she couldn’t, shouldn’t do that. She might never work again. Her community and her industry would abandon her,” he shared. “Niecy Nash chose love not fear, and tonight, she’s Golden Globe nominee Niecy Nash-Betts, and she’s had the biggest year of her entire career with Dahmer and The Rookie: Feds. Niecy, I love you.”

Next, Murphy spoke about Matt Bomer, who, “of Spring, Texas, was told as a young man with big dreams to never come out, to lie, the audience might not believe you as an actor. Well, to me, Matt is an action hero in life. He has now defied the ridiculous rules that have been in place for almost a century. He’s played the action star and the romantic lead and been in acclaimed dramatic projects along the way, winning a Golden Globe for my movie, The Normal Heart, Matt, I love you, thank you for being here for me.”

The last person he named was Jeremy Pope, whose achievements “astound me. From Orlando, Florida, Jeremy was also told growing up to deny who he was. But Jeremy refused to hide. He’s been nominated for a Tony award twice in one year, was nominated for lead actor Emmy for my show Hollywood, and tonight is nominated for a Golden Globe for The Inspection and then hopefully onto as well-deserved Oscar nomination. Jeremy Pope is the future.”

Before he moved on to his thanks, Murphy explained why he dedicated most of his speech to the aforementioned actors. It’s “to make a point of hope and progress. When I was a young person at home in the ’70s watching The Carol Burnett Show, I never ever saw a person like me getting an award or even being a character on a TV show,” he said. “It’s hard being an LGBTQ kid in America, in fact, all over the world then and now, and I have one word for you: Florida. You are often told you will never become anything, you have to hide your life to survive. But for those kids watching tonight, I offer up Mj and Billy and Niecy and Matt and Jeremy as examples of possibility. There is a way forward. Use them as your North Stars. For 25 years, that’s all I’ve ever tried to do here in Hollywood. My mission was to take the invisible, the unloved, and make them the heroes I wanted to see but never did in pop culture.”