Next February at the Academy Awards, Oprah will be awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. It's not an award they give every year, just when the Academy feels they have a worthy recipient.
This year the Academy has picked Oprah. While she might not seem the predictable or typical choice especially because she is more known for TV it is important to note that she is the first African American woman to be receiving this award. And even though Oprah was a TV star she's also been in movies, produced movies and really transcends the different mediums. And she is a serious humanitarian.
She is also just the sixth woman ever out of 33 recipients. (thank you wikipedia)
The other women who have been awarded the honor previously include:
Martha Raye - 1969
Rosalind Russell - 1973
Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor - 1993 (Hepburn was awarded posthumously)
Sherry Lansing - 2007