Among the most prestigious entertainment awards rests in the hands of a revolutionary filmmaker whose work on both silent and sound films drastically evolved the industry as a whole. Yet, despite years of successful writing and directing, many may still wonder: who is Cecil B. DeMille?

Asked by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to have his name cemented in history, DeMille gladly accepted and became the first entertainer to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award in 1952. Fast forward 68 years into the future, Tom Hanks now stands among a plethora of other talented entertainers to receive such a prestigious accolade in the 2020 Golden Globes.

Director and producer of early films, such as 1923’s “The Ten Commandments,” 1932’s “The Sign of the Cross,” and 1934’s “Cleopatra,” which granted him his first Academy Award for Best Picture, DeMille was noted as “a Hollywood pioneer” by the Cecil B. DeMille award. Other DeMille movies include 1914’s “The Squaw Man,” 1927’s “The King of Kings,” and 1952’s “The Greatest Showman on Earth.”

Later Cecil B. DeMille Award winners include Walt Disney in 1953, John Wayne in 1966, Audrey Hepburn in 1990, and Harrison Ford in 2002. See the full list here. Despite the Golden Globes not awarding a female director since 2015, the DeMille Award has celebrated various female entertainers, such as Meryl Streep, who was honored in 2017, and Oprah Winfrey the following year.  

Hanks has been honored with the 2020 DeMille Award for his various credits, from acting and directing to writing and producing, in addition to winning a total of eight Golden Globes throughout his illustrious career. Main among Hanks movies presented as evidence for his talents include “Forrest Gump,” “Apollo 13,” “Toy Story,” and even his most recent “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

Still, many might wonder what is the Cecil B. DeMille award for exactly? Specifically, as the award itself says, winners are chosen for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." It’s intended to honor and represent the most talented individuals in showbusiness, not merely ones who have won a number of awards, but also for actors, directors and producers who achieve greatness, going above and beyond the fold of Hollywood entertainment. 

Watch Hanks accept the DeMille award during the Golden Globes on Jan. 5.

Tom Hanks Tom Hanks attends the People’s Choice Awards at Microsoft Theater on Jan. 18, 2017 in Los Angeles. Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards