Anderson Cooper, Bryan Cranston, Will Ferrell Honor CNN Heroes
Stars on Sunday night paid tribute to 10 honorees at the annual event in New York City.
Bryan Cranston and Will Ferrell were among the presenters Sunday at CNN’s 12th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, which honored “individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others.”
The awards show, which was held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa, showcased 10 “heroes” from around the world.
“These are people who don’t necessarily have a lot of money, don’t have access to power, but they saw a need in their community and decided to roll up their sleeves and do something about it,” Cooper told The Hollywood Reporter.
The missions of the 10 awardees — all of whom were granted $10,000 — varied from veteran housing to reducing food waste, though the top honor, CNN Hero of the Year, went to Peru’s Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, whose nonprofit helps families from remote villages access things like free housing and meals. He also received an additional $100,000.
“The one thing they really do have in common is this desire to make a change, however that’s possible,” said Cooper. “We all feel like, ‘Oh, I wish I could do more. I wish I could do something.’ But these are people who stopped wishing and just decided to start doing.”
The positivity of the event was much needed, according to CNN anchor Don Lemon. “It makes me realize that there’s actually good in the world,” he told THR. “There are people who are out there doing good things, rather than focusing on ideology, left versus right, who’s doing what.”
Lemon said it’s a balancing act when it comes to staying current on the news and not being overwhelmed, and the CNN Heroes event “is a good part of dealing with the balance."
“[CNN] is about facts and it’s about reality,” he said. “And the reality is, there’s a lot of good in the world. So I focus on the positive things.”
Continued Lemon: “We have so many distractions these days and so little time on our hands. When you meet people who go beyond making money and their career and climbing a corporate ladder, and they decide to dedicate their lives to helping out humanity and making the world better for everyone, I’m awestruck by it.”
In addition to the night's 10 honorees, CNN also recognized five "young wonders," with help from presenters Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Darby Camp (Big Little Lies) and Rohan Chand (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle).
Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Danai Gurira, Uzo Aduba, Cynthia Erivo, Omari Hardwick and Emily Mortimer also presented awards throughout the evening.