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Culture

Oprah Winfrey, black dresses and #MeToo: Golden Globes dominated by female voices

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The 75th annual show took a turn for the political, with women coming out on top

Anna Freeman

08 Enero 2018 17:46

The glamour and exuberance of awards season was overshadowed last night at the Golden Globes by the elephant (not) on the carpet: Harvey Weinstein and everything he has come to represent about Hollywood's problem with sexual harassment and structural inequality.

In a night of impassioned speeches, politicised fashion and historical firsts, the ceremony has been hailed as a turning point for the film and TV industry. Although we should exercise caution when talking about change within an establishment like Hollywood, what was undeniable on the night was that women set the tone and narrative. Not only did women’s stories and voices win big during the ceremony, but everything from the dress code to speeches struck an overtly feminist note.

Here, we take a look at what went down on the 75th annual Golden Globes.

Harvey Weinstein, invisible yet seen

As The New York Times pointed out, it only took four minutes for Harvey Wesintein to be booed at the ceremony. Host Seth Meyers turned directly to what he called ‘the elephant not in the room’ when he opened the show by saying, ‘Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen.’ While disgraced Weinstein was not in attendance, nor were other high profile men accused of assault, namely Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K, and Woody Allen, his calamitous fall from grace was seemingly everywhere and nowhere.

Meyers prompted the collective lambasting of Weinstein with a joke about the deaths section of the Oscars telecast. ‘Harvey Weinstein isn’t here tonight because, well, I’ve heard rumors that he’s crazy and difficult to work with, he said. ‘But don’t worry, he’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the “In Memoriam”.’

This year’s Golden Globes was the first time Hollywood’s elite have convened since the explosive Times report on the allegations against Weinstein. There was a veritable shift in mood from previous ceremonies. What was once seen as a rather frivolous and celebratory event in the calendar was pulled sharply into focus on themes of structural abuse, sexism and changing the establishment.

Oprah Winfrey packed a punch

The most memorable moment of the night by far was delivered by Oprah Winfrey. She was given a lifetime achievement award for her unrivalled career, and offered up a poignant and tear-inducing speech about women’s rights, race and empowering the women of the future. The clincher came at the end, where she directly addressed young girls watching at home, prompting a standing ovation from everyone in the audience.

‘I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon,’ she said, ‘And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.’

#WhyWeWearBlack

The colour pallette for this year’s Golden Globes was undeniably black. Many of the female guests in attendance donned black gowns to show solidarity with the #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up campaign, which is a unified call for change in the entertainment industry. Some men also dressed in black to show their support, and many guests wore ‘Time’s Up’ badges as accessories.

Red carpet and stage as subversive spaces

Natalie Portman made a not-so-subtle dig at the lack of female representation in the Best Director category. ‘Here are all the male nominees,’ she said before introducing the category. The category included Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards), Steven Spielberg (The Post), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) and Ridley Scott (All The Money in the World).

Debra Messing and Eva Longoria used their red-carpet interviews on E! to side with Catt Sadler, the former E! host who left the network in December because she said her male colleague, Jason Kennedy, was paid twice as much as her. ‘I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-host the same as their male co-host,’ Messing said to E! commentator Giuliana Rancic. ‘I miss Catt Sadler, so we stand with her. And that’s something that can change tomorrow.’ Longoria told Ryan Seacrest: ‘We support gender equity and equal pay, and we hope that E! follows that lead with Catt as well. We stand with you, Catt.’

A number of attendees invited activists to join them as their guests – with Meryl Streep joined by Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Michelle Williams by founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke and Emma Watson by Marai Larasi, the executive director of IMKAAN, a UK organisation that addresses violence against Black disenfranchised women and girls.

Seth Meyers encapsulated the mood also when he told the audience: ‘It’s 2018, marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t.’

Women won the night

In spite of directorial snubs and a noticeable silence among men about Hollywood’s harassment problem, women came out on top. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won the most awards last night – scooping four prizes for best drama motion picture, best screenplay, best supporting actor (Sam Rockwell) and best actress for Frances McDormand.

McDormand used her acceptance speech to address the overshadowing political climate: ‘I keep my politics private, but it was really great to be in this room tonight, and to be part of a tectonic shift in our industry’s power structure. Trust me: the women in this room tonight are not here for the food. We are here for the work.’

Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age masterpiece Lady Bird beat James Franco’s Disaster Artist and I, Tonya to win best picture (comedy or musical), while Saoirse Ronan, who plays Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson, won best actress.

In TV, the big winners were the HBO series Big Little Lies, which received four Globes, including awards for Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, with two prizes, including best TV comedy; and The Handmaid’s Tale received two Globes, including best TV drama.

History made for equality

Aziz Ansari became the first Asian person to win Best Actor for Comedy, while Sterling K. Brown won the award for best performance by an actor in a TV series drama, for his part in This is Us – the first black actor to win the prize in history. Ansari scooped the prize for his part as Dev Shah in Master of None. Brown triumphed for his performance as Randall Pearson, the black adopted son of two white parents in This is Us.

Biggest snubs of the night

However, the were some films that were woefully overlooked. Both Call Me By Your Name stars Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer were up for awards, but the coming-of-age gay drama pretty much walked away with nothing. Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya also failed to win an award despite the critical acclaim of Jordan Peele’s horror.

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