Murphy ran through some of the highlights of his career — Michaela Jaé Rodriguez becoming the first trans actress to win a Golden Globe, seeing “Pose” star Billy Porter, who introduced him, wearing a black tuxedo gown on the Oscars red carpet, and working with actors such as Niecy Nash, Matt Bomer and Jeremy Pope, who were able to present their true selves on screen.
“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, then and now. And I have one word for you, Florida.
“You are often told you will have to hide your light to survive,” Murphy continued. “But for those kids watching, tonight I offer up MJ and Billy and Niecy and Matt and Jeremy as examples of possibility. My mission was to take the invisible, the unloved, and make them the heroes I long to see but never did in pop culture.”
Porter introduced Murphy, saying “I spent many a year teetering on the precipice of obscurity. It was you, Ryan, and your fearless art that spoke to me, comforted me, and let me know that if I could just hold on a little while longer, my time would come. Fast forward to 16 years later — I got the call for a ground-breaking series called ‘Pose.’
“The 163rd meeting with Ryan turned out to be the singular yes our community needed to finally have our stories, our lives, our souls honored,” Porter said.
The Carol Burnett Award was created in 2018 as the television equivalent of the HFPA’s Cecil B. DeMille Award, which has honored film stars since 1952. Murphy is the fourth winner following Norman Lear, Ellen DeGeneres and Burnett herself, who was presented the award in 2019.
Murphy has nabbed five Golden Globes, including best drama for “Nip/Tuck” in 2005, best comedy/musical series wins for “Glee” in 2010 and 2011, and wins in the limited series, anthology category for “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” in 2017 and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” in 2019. His 16 total nominations include additional nods for “Nip/Tuck” (2004), “Glee” (2012), “American Horror Story” Season 1 (2012); “American Horror Story: Asylum” (2014); “The Normal Heart” (2015); “American Horror Story: Hotel” (2016); “Feud: Bette and Joan” (2018); “Ratched” (2021); “Pose” (2019, 2022); and “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” this year.
Murphy has also written and produced “Scream Queens,” “9-1-1,” “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “American Horror Stories,” “Halston,” “The Politician,” “Hollywood,” “The New Normal” and “The Watcher,” which Netflix recently renewed for a second season. On stage, he produced the Tony Award-winning Broadway play “The Boys in the Band,” starring Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer.
Among other awards, Murphy has scored six Primetime Emmys, two Grammy nominations, a BAFTA Award and four Producers Guild of America Awards. In 2018, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.