The 75th Annual Golden Globes were a curious night for Hollywood. After months of a business-wide reckoning where many powerful men have seen histories of sexual assault, harassment and abuse lead to career-ending consequences, the film industry’s biggest stars gathered for what’s typically one of the more uproarious, loose nights of award show season. For the first time, activism and glamor mingled all night long, to mixed results.
The well-intentioned movement on the red-carpet had many wins but often missed the mark.
Many of the performers who walked this year’s red carpet made it a point to wear black in solidarity with the brave victims who’ve come forth with allegations of sexual misconduct. It was revealed later that the initiative was connected to Time’s Up, a movement backed by hundreds of members of the industry. To make their statement even more powerful, many actresses brought an activist as their date – including Meryl Steep who arrived arm-in-arm with Ai-Jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The action brought a refreshing change to the red carpet interviews, with the actresses discussing their dates’ world-changing work as well as issues of gender inequality in the workplace instead of shouting out their dress and jewelry designers.
But the cheerful tone of the hosts were often inappropriate in the face of the somber topics. At one point, a host on E! News’ red carpet exclaimed “Our coverage is woke!” before discussing the various 360-degree cameras. Still, the hiccups did not fully take away from the strong showing of solidarity and empowerment.
Seth Meyers dared to not hold back on a hilarious, poignant monologue.
The Late Night host was savagely precise and funny while confronting Hollywood’s misogyny problem head-on. “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen,” he proclaimed at the beginning, taking specific shots at Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen along the rest of his time on the stage. His classiest move was to include his popular “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” segment from his show, a bit where Meyers sets up a joke that tackles sexism, racism and more before having one of his writers who’s not a white, cisgender man deliver the punchline. For the Globes, he included Issa Rae, Jessica Chastain, Billy Eichner and Amy Poehler in the bit, and each were as equally confrontational as the night’s host.
The conversation didn’t stop with the night’s host.
The female winners of the night used their platform for speaking out in support of Time’s Up, as well as the many women and men who have bravely and publicly confronted their traumas. Laura Dern, Elisabeth Moss, Frances McDormand and Nicole Kidman were just a few of the women to carve out space in their acceptance speeches to make a statement and show solidarity. Still, it’s unfortunate in this moment of reckoning that very few of the male winners, presenters and attendees showed solidarity beyond the pins on their jacket lapels.
Natalie Portman went into savage mode and poor Guillermo del Toro never saw it coming pic.twitter.com/DF0BAcReSt
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 8, 2018
After Oprah, all bets were off.
Oprah’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award was clearly going to be a highlight of the night even before it happened. She did not disappoint: The entertainment industry’s greatest tour de force delivered with a heart-wrenching, honest, eloquent and radical battle cry that declared “Your time is up” to all those who abuse their power. Immediately following, Natalie Portman joined Ron Howard to present the award for Best Director and declared “Here are the all-male nominees,” with a much-needed spike of spite. Jessica Chastain presented an award alongside Chris Hemsworth where they confronted the wage gap between male and female actors; Geena Davis also mentioned the topic when she and Thelma & Louise costar Susan Sarandon took the stage as well. Whether intentional or not, Oprah lit an extra fire in the room to help everyone take full advantage of this unique moment.
There is still more work to be done.
On social media, viewers were quick to point out some of the questionable pasts of many male winners and presenters, including assault charges against Gary Oldman, rape allegations against Kirk Douglas and a cryptic tweet from The Breakfast Club‘s Ally Sheedy about James Franco. Harking back to complaints from the last few award seasons, the winners and nominees were starkly white at this year’s ceremony across both film and television catregories. It was a night buzzing with a palpable thirst for change that was still trapped in an outdated culture that in no way reflects the real revolution across small and big screens everywhere.