On Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards were held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and televised across America for all to see. Before the award ceremony even began, audiences across the country knew that this would be so much more than just a night to honor the best of the best in Hollywood.
In the weeks leading up to the award ceremony, many of the women and men in Hollywood made the decision to wear black to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment. However, this was only the beginning of the impact that would be made on the day of the show.
Before all of the guests and honorees even entered the venue, many made statements of their own on the red carpet. In addition to dressing in all back, many members of the Hollywood community chose to accessorize their outfits with a “Time’s Up” enamel pin. The pins, which give support to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, stands up for those victims of sexual assault, abuse and harassment in the workplace, saying that time’s up for the perpetrators.
In addition to the issue of sexual assault and harassment throughout America, many members of the Hollywood community also chose to speak out on the wage gap issue that has been prevalent. A couple of weeks before the award ceremony, on Dec. 19, “E! News” co-host Catt Sadler stepped down from her position with the network upon learning that her male co-host, Jason Kennedy, made twice the amount of money E! was paying her.
While the entertainment news network claims that Kennedy was paid based on his duties within the network, the large difference Sadler claims to be between their salaries is still jarring. Many stars leapt to Sadler’s defense during interviews at and prior to the Golden Globe Awards.
One of, if not the most vocal of Sadler’s defenders, was Debra Messing of “Will and Grace,” who showed her support for Sadler during an interview with E!’s own Giuliana Rancic while on the red carpet. Some of the actresses that followed suit were Eva Longoria, Laura Dern and Sarah Jessica Parker, just to name a few.
Once inside the venue, and once the show itself began, it was clear that the atmosphere was different from any other of the award ceremonies that had come before. In his opening monologue, Seth Meyers even referred to himself and the show as the one for the hosts of the award shows happening later in the year saying that they’re all watching him “like the first dog they shot into outer space.” Although Meyers tried to lighten the mood with jokes, it was clear from the beginning that the night would be so much more than just an award show.
Throughout the night, presenters made jokes and took jabs at the current situation happening in Hollywood. When presenting the award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, Jessica Chastain made reference to the pay wage gap happening in Hollywood.
Although it may have just been a quick moment that could have easily been missed, one of the more impactful jabs at gender inequality in Hollywood came from Natalie Portman. While presenting the award for Best Director of a Motion Picture with Ron Howard, Portman announced the nominees by saying, “And here are the all male nominees.” While it was just a quick moment, Portman’s comment definitely made the impact she seemed to be hoping for, with the nominees of the category looking somewhat stunned and uncomfortable as their names were read off.
With the acceptance speeches of the night also came comments on the current state of Hollywood, demonstrating the strength of women. When accepting the award for Best Actress in a Limited Series, Nicole Kidman, whose character on “Big Little Lies” was a victim of domestic abuse, dedicated her award to the power of women, also mentioning her costars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz in her speech. Laura Dern, who won for her role in “Big Little Lies” as well, also used her acceptance speech as a platform for something much larger, condemning the normalization of silence culture within the film and television industry.
In addition to “Big Little Lies,” women-centric shows “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won big, and were used as platforms for a larger cause within acceptance speeches as well. In accepting the award for her role in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which follows the lives of women within a dystopian society who are treated more like property than anything, Elisabeth Moss used the platform to speak out.
Within her speech, Moss quoted Margaret Atwood, the author of the book on which the Hulu series is based, saying, “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
The latter show, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which centers around the life of a Jewish woman in the 1950s who decides to take on stand-up comedy upon separating from her husband, garnered awards for Best Leading Actress in a TV Series: Musical or Comedy as well as Best TV Series: Musical or Comedy. In her acceptance speech, Rachel Brosnahan, who plays Midge Maisel, said, “Look, this is a story about a bold and brilliant and complicated woman and I am endlessly proud to be a part of it, but there are so many women’s stories out there that still need and deserve to be told. So as we enter this new year, please let’s continue to hold each other accountable and invest in and make and champion these stories.” Proving to be just as fierce as the woman that she plays in the Amazon Prime original, Brosnahan ended her speech on a powerful note, urging all of Hollywood to continue taking action in the new year.
Last but not least, the most powerful speech of the night undoubtedly came from the Cecil B. Demille Award honoree Oprah Winfrey. Earlier on in the show, Seth Meyers joked about Oprah running for president in 2020 and, for many, her speech later on in the night just added fuel to the fire.
The speech, which was met by much criticism in the days following the Golden Globe Awards, centered around the current state of Hollywood and of the nation. It touched upon the subject of sexual abuse and assault in all communities, not just Hollywood, as well as her personal journey and life events that turned her into the Oprah that America knows today. By the end of Winfrey’s speech, the crowd was up on its feet, seeming empowered by her words.
As the first award ceremony of the new year, the 75th Annual Golden Globes had all eyes on it as it set a precedent for the later award shows of the year. It proved to be so much more than an award show and if this is any indication of what is to come, there is sure to be much more empowerment and outspoken members of the Hollywood community in the coming award shows of 2018.