Arts & Culture

Oprah, Three Billboards, and Black: Recapping the 2018 Golden Globes

Last night, I found myself sitting down to watch the 75th Golden Globes. To be honest, I don’t like awards shows as much as I feel I should (given the way I “brand” myself), but I really had nothing else going on, and I was curious to see how the #MeToo black dress protest played out. Also, I realized watching it that I’ve actually seen a lot of the films featured. Nonetheless, this isn’t an all-inclusive recap so much as a collection of my opinions on the night. So here we go:

#TimesUp and the red carpet

To be fair, I didn’t watch much of the red carpet coverage. I really want to like the idea of the all-black protest, and I think it did a lot of good things, but there are still some areas of it that made me uneasy. The night got off to a fairly good start with actresses and their activist guests on the red carpet; I particularly was impressed by Michelle Williams deflecting attention from herself to give her guest Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, a platform.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but the “protest” seemed somewhat lacking to me. One could propose to just not attend the award show in the first place. The reality is, the men aren’t really doing anything. They always wear black in the first place, and were surely advised by their PR people that it was in the best interest to play along. One specific point I found compelling is that plenty of those men could still be harassers or rapists who have yet to be revealed. Surely Harvey Weinstein would’ve worn black had he not been disgraced and exposed.

I’m going to single Justin Timberlake out here, because he exemplifies exactly what was problematic to me about it all. He walked the carpet with his wife, Jessica Biel, both clad in black, sporting the ubiquitous “Time’s Up” pin. And yet…Justin happily took part in Woody Allen’s latest film, Wonder Wheel. Given the fact Allen’s been shrouded with scandals of sexual abuse for years now, Timberlake is the epitome of hypocrisy by working alongside Allen while claiming to not tolerate harassment and abuse in Hollywood.

I’m all for asking the women about the movement and their black dresses on the red carpet, but I would argue that we need to be asking men like Timberlake the hard questions, like why they continue to work with and share in the profits of the men who perpetuate this dangerous culture.

Seth Meyers’s monologue

I’m a fan of Seth Meyers, and I think he was doing the best he could with his attempt at making light of the situation. It was understandably awkward, but he had some good lines? I slightly cringed at his claim that sexual harassment is no longer allowed, since I’m not entirely convinced of that.

He poked fun at the various men who’ve been exposed in a good-natured way, and ultimately I don’t blame Seth for acting as he did, but I think he was giving everyone a little too much credit after watching the night progress.

Wins for women

A lot of great women won last night for great work, so I think some things went right there. Big Little Lies’s wins alone show a lot of progress for women. Reese Witherspoon is truly one of Hollywood’s best, and her work with Hello Sunshine is groundbreaking in terms of reversing the power dynamics of Hollywood with female leadership and dynamic roles for women. I was incredibly pleased to see Big Little Lies take home the awards it deserved.

Lady Bird is another great example of women in Hollywood creating such dynamic roles, and I truly believe Greta Gerwig will go down in history as one of the greats. I was absolutely thrilled to see Saiorse Ronan win her incredibly well-deserved award for Best Actress (in the musical / comedy category), and hope she gets the same recognition at the Oscars. However, there is a pretty large consensus (of which I am a part) that Gerwig was snubbed for the Best Director category, and I applaud Natalie Portman for drawing attention to the sexist nature of that category.

Now, I really liked Lady Bird, I really did, and I was glad to see it win in the Best Motion Picture category, as that’s certainly a victory for women. However, I think Get Out was ridiculously overlooked (taking home ZERO awards with only two nominations), and would’ve rather see that win. I maintain that Get Out was the best movie I saw out of all those nominated.

The men of the evening

*Obligatory interjection asking what the hell Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is* Okay, so we got off to a rough start here. I saw The Disaster Artist this past weekend (way late to the party, I know), and I liked it a lot, given my familiarity with the iconic movie The Room that it chronicles the making of. So, I kind of understand James Franco’s win, as I was impressed by his portrayal of the “eccentric” Tommy Wiseau. But on the other hand…why, Golden Globes, why? James Franco has come under fire in the past for pursuing underage girls, so I don’t think it was a particularly good look for the Globes to give him the award while pretending to champion #TimesUp.

Truthfully, Hugh Jackman’s face said it all, and I’m disappointed that his expression has yet to become the iconic reaction meme it deserves to be. Daniel Kaluuya was amazing in Get Out, and I truly believe he deserved the award, but I also would have gladly accepted Hugh Jackman for The Greatest Showman. James Franco winning just leaves me a little uneasy.

Another win I’m going to address is Aziz Ansari for Master of None. I know everyone’s thinking “Aziz? What do you have against Aziz?”, and truth be told, I don’t think Master of None is a bad show. It is well written, and addresses a lot of good topics. Aside from the fact that I don’t think he deserves an acting award for playing himself (by his own admission, Dev is a fictionalized version of himself), I think it again reflects a covert tolerance for the harassment in Hollywood. Master of None has an episode dealing with sexual harassment in its first season, and Ansari is quick to draw on that as an example of his “activism”, but he has declined to comment on the behavior of his mentor, Louis CK, one of the many men outed for harassment.

Other thoughts

Oprah was incredible and I need to mention that. Definitely one of the redeeming moments of the evening.

I have mixed feelings about them putting Kirk Douglas on stage last night, but have ultimately just come to the conclusion that it was in poor taste. The 101 year-old man was clearly not coherent, and it seemed like he was being taken advantage of. And then there’s the fact he allegedly raped Natalie Wood when she was 16. I think we could’ve just skipped that recognition and all would have been well.

Lastly, I just need to say I was really glad The Greatest Showman won for Best Original Song. Really underrated movie with an all-star cast and great soundtrack. Go see it. I liked it so much more than I expected to.

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