The 57-year-old received the Academy of Motion Picture ‘s Arts & Science’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during a ceremony marking the start of awards season in Hollywood.
The former talk show host accepted the award from the hands of one of the thousands of students who gained access to higher education on a scholarship funded by the TV personality.
Winfrey was teary when accepting her Oscar, evoking her humble roots growing up in Mississippi .
“All of us can make a difference through the life we lead,” she said. “We’re all here to help each other.”
“I never imagined receiving an Oscar, especially for doing what is part of my calling, part of my being. If you are not a former colored girl born in Mississippi in 1954, it is impossible for you to know what this journey has meant.”
Oprah Winfrey is now one of the richest women in the United States , with a fortune estimated at $ 2.4 billion, thanks to her talk show, which ended in May after gathering an average 40 million viewers in front of the TV each week for 25 years.
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, named after the actor Jean Hersholt (1886-1956), who served as president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund for 18 years, is given periodically to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”