The 2018 Golden Globe Awards had the #MeToo movement taking the spotlight. Most stars in attendance wore black outfits and Time’s Up pins in solidarity with sexual assault and harassment survivors and to send a message: the film industry is changing, and the Hollywood patriarchy’s days are numbered. A number of A-List actresses brought feminist activists as guests to the ceremony including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke.
The sexist practices of the industry were continually brought up in acceptance speeches and by presenters; most effectively by Natalie Portman when she introduced the “All-male nominees” for best director. Barbra Streisand pointed out how she’s the only woman to have ever won a Golden Globe for best director which was 34 years ago in 1984. This disconnect between the praise and power of the Time’s Up movement and the sexist award nominations was emblematic of the event and the surface level nature of award show activism. Besides the all-male nominees for best director, all the nominees for best original score were male composers, and of the 25 categories only 12 had any nominees of color. No women of color were nominated for best actress in a motion picture in either category and only one woman of color was nominated in either category for a television show. Only two men of color were nominated for these categories. Men won for best screenplay, best director and best drama motion picture.
Greta Gerwig was nominated for best screenplay for “Lady Bird,” and the film won best picture in the comedy/musical category. However, the fact that she was not even nominated for best director shows the patriarchy still calls the shots behind the scenes. Despite “Get Out” being nominated for best picture in the musical/comedy category — a controversy in its own right that a horror film about the experience of black men in America was taken as comedy — Jordan Peele was also not nominated for best director.
Though it was a night for Time’s Up, there was still a standing ovation for longtime actor and alleged rapist Kirk Douglas. Aziz Ansari made history as the first Asian male to win for best performance of an actor in a television series in the musical/comedy category. He wore a Time’s Up pin to the event, but less than a week later he himself was accused of sexual assault.
On a lighter note, there are some genuine triumphs to acknowledge about the 2018 Golden Globes. Sterling K. Brown was the first black actor to win for a leading role in a television show. The two films that won for best motion picture and the film that won best foreign language picture were all stories centered around a female protagonist, and the three shows that won for best television series also featured female protagonists, demonstrating the growing desire for women’s stories to be told.
The highlight of the evening was Oprah’s speech upon being the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Oprah gave a rousing and empowering speech for all people, but especially for young black girls. “There are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this award.” Oprah said, “It is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening along with all of them.” The speech started a discussion about the prospects of an Oprah 2020 presidential race, though Oprah has said she has no plans to run. This writer prefers his president not be a billionaire with no previous experience in public office, but that’s just his take.
This article first appeared in the Friday, January 19, 2018, Edition of The Echo.