Film & Television

The Golden Globes: Time’s Not Up Yet

What a difference a year makes. Or does it really?

Last year’s Golden Globes came at a watershed moment for women in Hollywood. Amidst seemingly countless accusations of sexual harassment and assault at its highest levels, the film industry was deservedly subdued. Nearly all of the women who attended wore black in a combined act of protest and solidarity for the brave victims who had come forward and galvanized the #MeToo movement. Presenter Natalie Portman went off-script as she slyly announced “and the all-male nominees for best director are. . .” Oprah Winfrey, in accepting her Cecil B. Demille Award for lifetime achievement, gave a speech that many hoped would launch a run at the White House. After talking about racism, as well as the need for a free press, she ended with a triumphant call-to-arms:

“So, I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! 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.”

The 2018 Golden Globes also served as the public launch of “Time’s Up,” a legal defense fund to support harassment and abuse victims in any industry, led by influential Hollywood actresses, producers, executives, and lawyers. Their mission includes addressing “the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential” and they strive to “change the face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more women and men to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable.”

This year, many of the attendees wore white or black rubber bracelets that read “Time’s Up x2,” observing the movement’s second year. But, by and large, the mood at the Beverly Hilton was quite different. The change was noticeable as soon as celebrities began walking the red carpet, hours before the show itself.

Perhaps feeling hampered by last year’s somber dress code, attendees wore lots of color. There was also a considerable amount of cleavage, with many actresses choosing gowns that had deep — and wide — plunging necklines. The fact that there weren’t any on-air “wardrobe malfunctions” is a marvel. (Before readers take me to task for suggesting that women should censor their own sexuality, let me say that I fully support a woman’s right to express herself and love her body. But, I do wonder whether some women were sending a mixed message: “I should be taken seriously and not treated as a sex object. And, by the way, here are my breasts.”)

Last year, the press was encouraged to ask women substantive questions about their work, and not to default to the ubiquitous question “Who are you wearing?” Alas, we were back to that fashion-first mentality.

Inside, the celebratory mood was contagious (supposedly, the Golden Globes serves 1,800 bottles of champagne to its 1,100 guests, as well as wine, beer, and mixed drinks). Co-hosts Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg were congenial, even if a few (all right, several) of their jokes fell a bit flat. The biggest news of the night, at least until the winners were announced, was that Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians had proved that movies featuring predominantly black and Asian casts could excel at the box office. Neither film, however, left with an award.

The first woman to win an award was Patricia Arquette, for her role in the limited series Escape at Dannemora. Arquette, who was extremely vocal about wage inequality when she won an Oscar for Boyhood in 2015, stuck to her notes, except for accidentally referring to her “fucked-up teeth,” twice.

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