Hollywood celebrities are experts at handing out awards. On Monday, the stars put their skills to work by bestowing Dr. Anthony Fauci with the Federal Employee of the Year award in recognition of his work on the coronavirus White House Task Force.
Stars including Matthew McConaughey, Kumail Nanjiani, Sharon Stone, and Kristen Bell took turns praising Fauci during the virtual ceremony for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, which recognize federal government employees.
“I’ve said that not all heroes wear capes, you are a shining example of that,” Matthew McConaughey said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “What a deserving award for you.”
Eugene Levy, the recent Emmy-winning star of Schitt’s Creek, reportedly said, “You have been the calming voice during the worst pandemic in 100 years, and you’ve been a hero to me and to millions and millions of Americans.” (Levy is Canadian.)
The ceremony also featured appearances by Bono, Bryan Cranston, and Jeff Goldblum. News media personalities who attended include NBC’ News’ Andrea Mitchell; Katie Couric; and CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates also paid tribute to Fauci, according to the Reporter. “Most people got to know Dr. Fauci this year, but he’s been battling disease for half a century. Dr. Fauci, I want to thank you for devoting your life to science and the facts and for always telling the truth, even during the hardest moments.”
Gates has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus, recently claiming that the president’s travel ban made the pandemic worse because it “seeded the disease here.”
Sharon Stone praised Fauci for his “dignity.” “Thank you for showing us what dignity is like. Thank you for speaking truth to power. Thank you for being brave. Just, thank you.”
In recent weeks, Fauci has been sounded the alarm over the progress the U.S. is making on the coronavirus. During an appearance last month on ABC’sGood Morning America,
that the counrt is “not in a good place,” adding that it was “very concerning” that Florida was planning to reopen bars.