“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Lady Bird” took top honors at Sunday’s Golden Globes, but it was Oprah Winfrey’s impassioned speech and reactions to Hollywood’s sexual harassment allegations that took center stage.
Winfrey, the first black woman to receive the Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement, brought the crowd to its feet twice when talking about role models and inspirations. “I want all the girls watching here, now,” she said, “to know that a new day is on the horizon.”
Host Seth Meyers wasted no time talking about the issue on everyone’s mind during the first big show of this year’s awards season.
“Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen,” Meyers said upon taking the stage. Meyers, known for his topical monologues on his own late-night show, kept his jokes mostly on the gentle side.
“It’s 2018,” he said, “marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t.” He noted that for male nominees, the Globes would be “the first time in three months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud.”
Meyers’ meanest joke targeted the producer Harvey Weinstein, currently Hollywood’s poster-boy for ugly behavior toward women. “He’ll be back in 20 years,” Meyers said, “to become the first person ever booed in the ‘In Memoriam.’”
Other sore spots about gender also appeared throughout the evening. Natalie Portman, presenting the category of best dramatic film director, said pointedly, “And here are the all male nominees.” Jessica Chastain, presenting the best actress in a comedy award, joked that “the winner of this award will also receive the 23 percent of her salary that went missing in the wage gap.”
Many women worked into their speeches the new organization Time’s Up, a legal-defense fund established to help those who have experienced sexual harassment. Barbra Streisand, presenting the best dramatic film award, noted that she was the only woman to win a best directing Globe. “That was 34 years ago,” she said. “Folks, time’s up! We need more women directors.”
“Billboards” led the pack with four awards, including best dramatic film and best actress for Frances McDormand, who plays a small-town woman seeking justice for her dead daughter. Guillermo del Toro’s romantic monster movie “The Shape of Water” and Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age comedy “Lady Bird” followed with two awards each.
Just about every winner went out of his or her way to thank or acknowledge women. Nicole Kidman, winning lead actress for the limited series “Big Little Lies,” thanked her feminist mother for inspiring her to succeed.
Elisabeth Moss, winning best actress in the series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” thanked the author Margaret Atwood and said, “We are the story in print, and we are writing the story ourselves.”
Producer Eli Bush, accepting the award for “Lady Bird” as best comedy, instantly turned the microphone over to director Greta Gerwig, calling her “the only person who should speak for ‘Lady Bird.’”
Even Gary Oldman, winning best dramatic actor as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” seemed to connect the World War II drama to current events. “It illustrates that words and actions can change the world,” he said, “and boy, oh, boy, does it need some changing.”