Golden Globes: Superficial Activism Plus Oprah

The 2018 Golden Globes were the first big Hollywood event since WeinsteinGate. With the tidal wave of sexual misconduct allegations, many called this a watershed moment in the industry’s history. “Time’s up,” said actresses and a small, small band of actors, on the patriarchy.

Well, obviously that is not true. The award show was unusually political—many actresses forwent dates in favor of activists. Michelle Williams, for example, brought Tarana Burke, the activist who started #MeToo over a decade ago. But while women in the industry used the night to talk about breaking the silence, men kept their mouths shut on the subject. And the actual awards part of the evening were a stark reminder that women and people of color are still not welcome.

“Shut out” was the theme of the evening
As Natalie Portman savagely pointed out, all the nominees for Best Director were men.

Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig was nominated for best screenplay but lost to Three Billboards director Martin McDonagh. She got her chance to speak about her historic movie (the highest ever reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes) when Lady Bird won best motion picture but still, she was not personally recognized by name for her work. In a telling moment, male producer Eli Bush was given the mic to accept the award. Gerwig only got to speak when he conceded the floor to her.

A movie about a bad movie bested a good movie
In yet another tone-deaf Hollywood moment, James Franco won Best Actor for Disaster Artist over Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out. I hear Disaster Artist was good. At the same time, Franco won for playing a man who made the official Worst Movie Ever. This is how low the bar is for white male artists. Even their bad work can be warped into fine culture. Meanwhile, a critically acclaimed movie about liberal racism was passed over. Big shocker: a black man’s best work is still considered not as good as a white man’s worst work.

We still love giving men awards for bravely portraying evil men
Alexander Skarsgård won Best Actor for portraying an abusive husband in Big Little Lies. While actors are not (necessarily) the characters they play, this is further proof that this is not quite the tide-turning moment that Hollywood elites gushed about on the red carpet.

We wear black
Because it’s easier than paying women a fair salary and recognizing their work with shiny trophies. Hollywood Foreign Press Association President, Meher Tatna, abstained, choosing instead a loudly embellished red gown. She told AP her decision was because her gown was already made and also because her mother would be “appalled” if her daughter wore all black.

Also wearing all black is nothing but an empty, lazy gesture of solidarity.

Reporters asked male stars nothing about #MeToo
Hollywood’s “remaining gentlemen” were asked nothing consequential about sexual harassment or their part in the prevailing culture of misogyny in the industry. Likewise, men did a real good job of not talking about it.

Ryan Seacrest did note Armie Hammer’s “Time’s Up” pin: “I see your Time’s Up pin right there. Well done.”

Yeah. Hammer is a real hero sticking metal into cloth.

Susan Sarandon was Susan Sarandon
While her Thelma and Louise moment with Geena Davis was cute and timely given the movie’s woman-centric theme, it was jarring seeing her talk about women “uniting” given her blatant disgust for our almost first female president. This is the woman who still defends her third-party vote for Jill Stein, which many argue was essentially a vote for Trump.

Sarandon also had some utterly useless things to say about the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and director James Toback.

Kind of sours the grrl power moment Sarandon was aiming for.

Oprah was Oprah
In one of the few genuinely stirring moments of the evening, while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award, the media mogul delivered a speech that had many screaming President Oprah. While that might be a little hasty considering she has zero experience, you know, governing, it was a moving speech about black women’s empowerment.