President Obama’s Final Medal of Freedom Award Honors Biggest Names

President Obama’s Final Medal of Freedom Award Honors Biggest Names

Awards season isn’t just for the Oscar hopefuls anymore. More than 20 different artists, athletes and philanthropists, including people like Ellen DeGeneres and Robert De Niro, are being honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom next week.

The Medal of Freedom is the highest award a civilian can be awarded in the United States. President Obama described the honor as “a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better.”

Though the usual do-gooders like Bill and Melinda Gates made the list, a lot of actors and musicians are being honored as well. “From scientists, philanthropists and public servants to activists, athletes and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way,” Obama added.

With the rising power of celebrity status in our culture, it’s exciting to see that the people who are using their powers for good are getting some recognition. The entertainers that made the cut include both DeGeneres and De Niro as well as Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Cicely Tyson, Diana Ross, Lorne Michaels and Bruce Springsteen.

A ceremony in their honor will take place at the White House next Wednesday. Check here for the full list.

On a related note, another actor who has recently been recognized for his achievements is none other than martial arts master Jackie Chan. Chan, who has appeared in movies since he was young including hits like Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon, has just been awarded an honorary Oscar.

In a ceremony on Saturday, Chan accepted his award with a sense of humor about the many injuries it took to get him to that level.

“After 56 years in the film industry, making more than 200 films–I break so many bones–finally, this is mine,” Chan stated.

His humor carried over to a story he told about his dad pestering about when he’d win an Oscar. “Dad, I only make comedy-action movies,” Chan responded.

Those comedy-action movies mean just as much (if not more!) to fans as those serious dramas that come up every awards season, so it’s exciting to see one more legend honored.