Throughout the 2023 Golden Globes ceremony, a few women who took the stage to accept their trophies used their time in front of all of their peers to express relief at knowing that, despite their age, they could still be winners — and that women and their talents don’t come with an expiration date. For Jennifer Coolidge, 61, her win had been a long time coming, but part of her had already accepted that it wasn’t in the cards.
“I just want you all to know that I had such big dreams and expectations as a younger person, but what happened is they get sort of fizzled out by life and whatever,” Coolidge said while accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress – Television Limited Series/Motion Picture for The White Lotus. “I had these giant ideas. And then you get older and, oh, shit’s going to happen. And, Mike White, you have given me hope. You’ve given me a new beginning.”
Coolidge’s speech moved White, creator of The White Lotus, to tears. “Even if this is the end, because you did kill me off,” she joked, though she was the only character that returned for a second season on the HBO series. “But even if this is the end, you changed my life in a million different ways.”
It’s not just that she’s a Golden Globe award-winning actress, but now her neighbors actually take the time to speak to her and invite her out. “You make people want to live longer, and I didn’t,” Coolidge told White, reflecting on the surprising new era of her career.
But it wasn’t just White who stood in her corner along the way. “Some of the people in this room, there were like five people that kept me going for, you know, 20 years with these little jobs,” Coolidge said. It was Ryan Murphy with The Watcher, Reese Witherspoon with Legally Blonde, Michael Patrick King with 2 Broke Girls, and Paul and Chris Weitz with American Pie, which she would return to however many more times they would like her to.
“I didn’t know anybody, and it just was sort of this thing that wasn’t going anywhere,” Coolidge added. “Then there were these people who would give me these cute little jobs, and it would just be enough to get to the next one.”
Regardless of whether or not she won, Coolidge still would have taken the stage at the 2023 Golden Globes. Appearing earlier in the show, the actress presented the award for Best Supporting Actor in a TV musical/Comedy or Drama. Before she opened the envelope open, she treated the audience to a hilarious three-minute-long story time about how she got the gig in the first place.
“You know, somebody called Cara Bishop called me and said, ‘Jennifer, we would like you to present at the Golden Globes this year,'” Coolidge remembered. “And I said, ‘Oh my God, this is such an honor, thank you so much. Yes, I would love to.’ And I hung up on her. And then I thought about it for a little bit, and I just had a complete anxiety attack, and I got very, very nervous. And I thought, ‘I’m not doing this.'”
When she called Bishop back, she explained that if she even attempted to make it from back-of-house to the center of the stage, she wouldn’t be able to do so without “breaking my skull.” Less willing to indulge her than the Golden Globes audience was, Bishop told her to slip on a pair of Crocs and get out there.
“I said, are you kidding me? With my Dolce and Gabbana dress?” she recalled. “All those crazy Italians will lose their minds!”
Then there was the problem of pronouncing the winner’s name correctly. Luckily, Tyler James Williams has an easy enough name, so when he won for his role in Abbot Elementary, Coolidge didn’t have too much trouble. Still, that didn’t stop her from almost presenting him with an entirely different award.
Opening the envelope, Coolidge read off: “So, the Oscar goes to…”