It seems that Hollywood is ready to ditch the drama and indulge in some cinematic escapism. On January 8th, at the 74th Golden Globe Awards, the movie-musical La La Land danced its way into film history by receiving seven awards including best actress in a musical or comedy for Emma Stone and best actor for Ryan Gosling, beating out the previous top record holders – Midnight Express (1979) and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) each won six Golden Globes. La La Land’s awards haul cemented the millennial takeover of Hollywood – most of the film’s key figures were under age forty, including Damien Chazelle. The thirty-one-year-old took home the best director award for the film.
No one was surprised that La La Land won big at the Globes as the film had the most nominations. However many were stunned by that lack of awards garnered by Moonlight. The coming-of-age tale of a gay black man growing up in Miami was second to La La Land in the number of nominations but only took home one trophy – the globe for best drama. It was thought that actor Mahershala Ali was a shoo-in to win the award for best supporting actor for his role in the film but the honor ended up going to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for his role in the fashion designer/director, Tom Ford’s, movie Nocturnal Animals.
The much acclaimed film, Manchester By The Sea, was similarly shut out of the ceremony. Out of five nominations, only lead man Casey Affleck won an award for the film, a surprising turn of events given the films high ratings and the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Affleck. Other upsets included the award for best actress in a drama. Critic predictions indicated that Natalie Portman would win for Jackie but the title ended up going to Isabelle Huppert for her role as the lead in the French film Elle. The category for best supporting actress was far less eventful – it went to a much deserving Viola Davis for her turn in the Denzel Washington directed family drama, Fences.
In television, the Golden Globes were more predictable. The People vs O.J. Simpson: Crime Story won best mini-series and Emmy winner Sarah Paulson took home a win for her role on the show. Donald Glover’s show, Atlanta, took home the title for best comedy and the actor-rapper won for best comedic actor for his role in the FX series. This year at the globes, Netflix was in competition with itself. The streaming service had two nominees for best television drama and ended up having its first win in the category with The Crown which beat out the much loved Netflix original, Stranger Things.
Despite an awkward gaffe (tv personality, Jenna Bush Hagar and actor Michael Keaton both mixed up Hidden Figures and Fences – two dramas starring mostly black casts – by saying “Hidden Fences”) diversity was a big winner at the globes this year. The best television actress award went to Tracee Ellis Ross for her role in ABC’s Blackish. In her speech she acknowledged “all of the women, women of color and colorful people whose stories, ideas and thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important,” continuing, “I want you to know that I see you. We see you.” Ellis was the first black actress to win the title since 1983 when Debbie Allen won for Fame.
While a song-and-dance fantasy won big at the awards, Meryl Streep used the Golden Globes as an opportunity to bring things back to reality. The most talked about moment of the night came courtesy of the actress who used her platform as Hollywood’s favorite female to make a political statement. Although she was accepting Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement she did not focus on her own career during her speech. Instead she used her time on stage to criticize Donald Trump and to embolden the liberal Hollywood elite to use their status to take a stand against the continuously disheartening political climate. In his usual way, Trump was quick to insult Streep in defense of himself. He told a New York Times reporter the day after the Globes that the much beloved performer was “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood,” and a “Hillary flunky who lost big.”
Much like First Lady, Michelle Obama, Streep never once mentioned the president-elect by name. However it was obvious to all that she was referring to him as she said:
“There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.”
Streep then went on to stress the importance of protecting the freedom of the press. She ended her speech with words of wisdom from the recently departed, Carrie Fisher, saying:
“As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art.”
Watch Meryl Streep’s full speech below:
-Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine