Zelenskyy was introduced by actor-director Sean Penn, best known for his Academy Award-winning performances in 2003’s “Mystic River” and 2008’s “Milk.” The “Gaslit” star met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv this past November to express his support for the war-torn country, where he had been filming a documentary for Vice Studios earlier in the year.
“From the other-worldly courage of young Iranians rising up,” Penn said to the crowd. “To the ever persevering women’s movement of Afghanistan. We are reminded, in no uncertain terms, that the freedom to dream is not simply a human luxury but rather a human need that must be fought and sacrificed for. If the freedom to dream were a spear, I proudly present a human being who tonight represents that spear’s most honed tip.”
Zelenskyy then addressed the audience via recorded message recalling the start of the Golden Globes in the 1944. “The second World War wasn’t over yet, but the tide was turned, all knew who would win. There were still battles and tears ahead, it was then when the Golden Globes awards appeared to honor the best performers of 1943,” Zelenkyy said. “It is now 2023 the war in Ukraine is not over yet but the tide is turning. And it is already clear who will win. There are still battles and tears ahead, but now I can definitely tell you who are the best in the previous year, it was you. The free people of the free world. Those who united around the support of the free Ukrainian people in our common struggle for freedom.”
The audience cheered when President Zelenskyy announced his projected victory.
“There will be no third World War, it is not a trilogy,” Zelenkyy continued. “Ukraine will stop the Russian aggression on our land.”
As a gift, Penn had given Zelenskyy one of his Oscar trophies in an exchange that was shared on Twitter by Anton Gerashchenko, the advisor to the minister of internal affairs of Ukraine. In return, Penn received an Order of Merit honoring his passionate solidarity with Ukraine.
Previously, Penn had threatened to “smelt” his Oscar statuettes if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences neglected to offer Zelenskyy air-time on last year’s telecast of the Academy Awards.
Zelenskyy’s Golden Globes appearance comes one week after the White House committed to sending $3.75 billion in military aid to Ukraine and adjacent NATO countries — the largest assistance package to date from the U.S. amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The war in Ukraine is at a critical point right now, and we have to do everything we can to help the Ukrainians continue to resist Russian aggression,” Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said in a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense.