That’s because for the first time in her decades of talking on television, Winfrey got a bad case of dry mouth.
“I must have been more nervous than I thought, because I’ve never had dry mouth before,” Winfrey reveals in an upcoming interview with PEOPLE.
“In the middle of the speech I thought, ‘I can’t move my gums,'” she adds, mimicking the way she thought her voice sounded at the time.
For more about Oprah Winfrey, be sure to check out next week’s issue of PEOPLE.
But the unfortunate dry mouth might have actually added to the forcefulness of her speech. “I started to articulate because I was trying to get over my gums,” she explains.
Winfrey delivered the now-famous speech while accepting the 2018 Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, an honorary award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.
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“It is not lost on me that, at this moment, there is some little girl watching as I become the first Black woman to be given the same award,” she said in the moving acceptance speech, after recalling her own childhood watching Sidney Poitier become the first Black person to win an Oscar for best actor. “It is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them.”
Winfrey’s speech was filled with somber moments, standing ovations, past memories and the story of Recy Taylor, a Black woman who never received justice after being abducted and gang-raped by six white men in Alabama.
The speech was met with several standing ovations, with the crowd erupting in a boisterous applause when Winfrey assured sexual predators that their “time is up.”
“I want all the girls watching to know a new day is on the horizon,” she continued. “And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure they are the leaders to take us to the time where nobody has to say ‘me too’ again.”
Winfrey next stars in A Wrinkle in Time, out in theaters March 9.