Ryan Murphy accepted the Carol Burnett Award for his achievements in television at the 2023 Golden Globes on Tuesday, and he used a majority of his speech to uplift the work of LGBTQ+ actors who he’s worked with from MJ Rodriguez to Niecy Nash.
The veteran producer accepted the award from Billy Porter, who said that prior to working with Murphy on Pose, he admired his “fearless art that spoke to me, comforted me, and let me know that if I could just hold on for a little while longer, my time will come.” Murphy opened his speech by reminding the audience that last year, though the Globes weren’t televised, Rodriguez won the award for Best Actress, TV Drama.
“In doing so, MJ from Newark, New Jersey, became the first trans actress ever to win a Golden Globe. Wow. How I would have loved for MJ to be on the stage getting the standing ovation she deserved for making history,” he said, before asking the audience to stand and finally give her that standing ovation.
The emotional moment was followed by a tribute to “the amazing achievement Billy Porter’s 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 win for Pose to show for it.”
Of Niecy Nash, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Murphy’s recent Netflix hit Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, he said: “A mother of three, she was told only a couple of years ago when she wanted to marry the love of her life, Jessica Betts, that she couldn’t, shouldn’t do that. She might never work again. Her community and her industry would abandoned her. 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.“
Murphy also took a moment to reflect on the work of Matt Bomer and Jeremy Pope, both of whom were in the audience. He called the four actors he’d uplifted a beacon 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. It’s hard being an LGBTQ kid in America, in fact all over the world,” he said. “You were often told you will ever 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.”