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20 Best, Worst and Most WTF Moments of Golden Globes 2018

From Seth Meyers putting abusers on blast to that historic Oprah speech – the highlights (and low points) of this year’s politically charged broadcast

Hollywood’s big awards shows haven’t been shy about wearing activism on their sleeves in recent years, ever since 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign took the Academy to task for its racism by omission. But never before has Tinseltown’s admonishment of its own failings been so front-and-center than at last night’s 75th Golden Globe Awards. 

The specter of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry cast a massive, Harvey Weinstein-shaped shadow over the evening, and the night felt like an exorcism of those demons. The guests were even dressed for an exorcism: Almost the entire assembly wore black (or variants thereof – we saw those navy accents) in solidarity with Time’s Up, a newly founded initiative dedicated to combatting gender inequality and sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond. And the night was marked by frank, politically charged moments from female presenters and honorees, most memorably a rousing, powerful speech from Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Oprah Winfrey and a thrillingly unscripted reproach from presenter Natalie Portman.

Though the awards themselves almost seemed like an afterthought, there was still plenty to talk about. Here are the best, worst and just plain bizarre WTF moments from the 2018 Golden Globes.

Best Worst Golden Globes 2018 Read Watch

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Best: Outsiders Get a Seat at the Beverly Hilton

Who would ever guess that the man behind the infamously terrible The Room would wind up onstage at the Golden Globes? Tommy Wiseau’s materialization during James Franco’s acceptance speech for portraying the cult-movie auteur in The Disaster Artist was one of the night’s more unexpected absurdities … but there was also something really nice about it. Both Wiseau and Tonya Harding’s presence at the ceremony, as unlikely subjects for two of the year’s best biopics, were a welcome and rare instance of Hollywood opening up its gilded gates. And they weren’t the only outsiders at the Globes: Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler and other actresses brought activists from outside the entertainment industry to attend the ceremony, including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and Latina gender equality advocate Mónica Ramírez. Their presence was vital to ensuring that all those black dresses were more than just a fashion choice, but a promise to do better. JS

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Worst: ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Gets the Cold Shoulder

One of the year’s most critically beloved films, Call Me by Your Name crystallized the experience of infatuation with delicate, slow-burning grace. But the HFPA were less than enthused, snubbing it in all three categories for which it was nominated – Best Motion Picture, Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Armie Hammer). Not to mention that both director Luca Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory were snubbed in their categories nomination-wise, despite having crafted what’s arguably the most evocative cinematic mood piece since Moonlight. This quietly unfolding gay romance may lack the bombast of other films the Globes favored, but its subtlety is also the source of its power. The film’s failure to bring home any gold was a crying shame. JS

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WTF: ‘The Post’ Is Ignored … by a Press Association

Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg together for the first time, in a movie about the importance of journalism? Seems like a gimme for the HFPA, right? At the top of the show, Meyers even included a bit in which Globes were hauled out at the first mention of The Post, but this turned out to be wildly premature – the movie and its megawatt team were entirely ignored. This was doubly surprising given that the story of Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of the Washington Post, and her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers have taken on an unexpected relevance in the wake of Trump’s vicious attacks on the freedom of the press. That a movie with this pedigree could walk away empty handed is a testament to its stiff competition. PR

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Best: Sterling K. Brown’s Historic Win

It was refreshing to see history made when the supremely talented This Is Us star became the first black man to take home the best actor statue for a TV drama. Brown, who plays the adopted son of a white family, brings a certain gravitas to NBC’s notorious weepfest and has helped the series tackle a range of current, often fraught topics. But instead of calling attention to the historic distinction, Brown thanked series creator Dan Fogelman for writing a role explicitly for a black man. “Throughout the majority of my career, I’ve benefited from colorblind casting, which means, ‘Hey, let’s throw a brother in there,'” Brown said. “What I appreciate so much about this is that I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am, and it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or dismiss anybody who looks like me.” PR 

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Best: Frances McDormand’s Best Actress Speech

The sheer amount of shade that Three Billboards star Frances McDormand was throwing at the camera throughout the night promised that she most definitely had something to say. And deliver she did, in a speech so apparently laden with expletives that we couldn’t actually hear about a quarter of it. McDormand offered to buy all her fellow nominees a round of tequilas, praised the HFPA for the fact that they “managed to elect a female president” and acknowledging that though she doesn’t like to talk politics, “It was really great to be in this room tonight and to be a part of a tectonic shift in our industry’s power structure.” JS

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WTF: ‘Three Billboards’ Cleans Up…Maybe a Little Too Much

It was a year of cinematic riches, many of which – though not all – were on display in the Golden Globes’ nomination pool. But in a surprise twist, the HFPA awarded the lion’s share to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress and Supporting Actor in the Drama categories, and Best Screenplay. It features a blisteringly powerful central performance from Frances McDormand as a woman bent on avenging her daughter’s rape and murder. But it’s a controversial pick – “problematic” is a word that’s been used by many to describe the film’s politics – and in the same year as the near-perfect Call Me By Your Name, Get Out and The Post, shutting them all out in favor of this film can’t help but feel like a missed opportunity. JS

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Best: Allison Janney Wins for ‘I, Tonya’

Between I, Tonya, Lady Bird and Three Billboards, 2017 was a year for stories about just how fraught and dramatically compelling the relationships between mothers and daughters can be. And this year’s most acidic cinematic matriarch was certainly LaVona Golden, the woman who dragged her daughter Tonya Harding through a childhood of competition and abuse. Allison Janney’s bombastic take on the role struck the perfect balance between high camp and true darkness, with a bird on her shoulder and poison in her heart. In her Best Actress speech, the actor took the opportunity to thank the actual Tonya Harding (who was there!) for sharing her story – one that we can only appreciate with the hindsight of how blithely sexist and classist shit was in the Nineties. “What everyone in this movie did is tell a story about class in America,” said Janney, “tell a story about the disenfranchised, tell a story about a woman who was not embraced for her individuality.” JS

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Best: The Powerful Effect of the All-Black Attire

Despite attempts in recent years to improve the conversation around award shows, such as the #AskHerMore campaign, these events tend to remain an extravagant, candy-colored parade of beautiful people in stunning costume. By contrast, the Golden Globes’ sea of black dresses and tuxes, while not exactly funereal, had a sobering effect. It was an acknowledgment of those who’ve suffered losses personally and professionally in a culture of silence that protected the industry’s worst abusers, and also a powerful statement of intent to be seen as more than sex objects. Last night’s ceremony was hardly fun – even Aziz Ansari, who somehow managed to lighten the mood of Inauguration weekend when he hosted SNL last year, was uncharacteristically muted. But at the same time the atmosphere felt appropriate, and even forced the question: What is all the hoopla about? This year, at least, it was about fighting back. PR

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