The first award ceremony of the year had a different feel in Hollywood. For the first time in history, the role of women and sexual abuse following the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the latter half of 2017 had a strong influence on the fashion, speeches and awards. Both men and women of Hollywood united to stand against sexual violence against women in both a symbolic and physical manner.
"Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen," the host, Seth Meyers, said in his monologue, with reference to the notable absence of men – producers, actors, directors – absent due to the multiple allegations of harassment and assault.
The global #MeToo movement played a pivotal role in the ceremony last night, following the first major award show since the fiery allegations against Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, shook the entertainment industry. The Weinstein saga had a spiral effect with many other women sharing their stories of assault by movie moguls, makers and co-stars in the Hollywood entertainment industry. In an unplanned and seemingly spontaneous manner, activism and engagement surrounding this severe issue highlighted the need for change in this cut-throat industry.
The Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement went to Oprah Winfrey; a prestigious award with former winners such as Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and Robin Williams. Winfrey used her award speech to commend and praise the legions of women who have come forward to share their #MeToo stories. Winfrey’s rousing remarks earned a well-deserved standing ovation to which she told viewers “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you all have”
Winfrey remarked in reference to the newly-formed union to fight sexual misconduct, "for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”
The globes boosted the Oscar fortunes of “Three Billboards” and “Lady Bird”, two critical favorites that have officially broken through in an awards seasons that began without clear front-runners.
“Three Billboards”, a resilient drama with a comedic edge, follows the life of a mother (Frances McDormand – winner) struggling to avenge the killing of her daughter. The film also attracted accolades for its screenplay and supporting actor Sam Rockwell.
The sweet coming-of-age comedy, “Lady Bird”, follows a quirky teen (Saoirse Ronan – winner) during her rowdy senior years of high school. Greta Gerwig made her debut direction for the comedy, which makes her someone that Hollywood should keep their eye on.
“Big Little Lies”, the HBO fan favourite, following the life of a posh California community won the award for the best limited addition television series. Nicole Kidman earned gold for her agonizing performance on the show as a survivor of domestic abuse; a prominent issue in both Hollywood and broader society. Kidman dedicated her award to the “power of women” in her award speech.
Laura Dern, another “Big Little Lies” actor condemned the “culture of silence” and highlighted how “normalised” it is in her industry. “May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture’s new north star” Dern proclaimed in her award speech.
In addition, “The Handmaid’s Tale” a Hulu hit about women fighting for survival in a dystopian society in which women are treated like biblical handmaids (the property of their male superior) won the award for best TV drama and the lead Elizabeth Moss, won for the best actress in a drama series.
In an attempt to highlight the severe issues of violence against women in Hollywood and the broader society, A-List actors, from Natalie Portman to Jessica Chastain, served up jokes about gender inequality in their industry. Seth Meyers remarked in a jokingly yet serious manner, “There’s a new era underway, and I can tell because it’s been years since a white man was this nervous in Hollywood” and made important comments about both Weinstein and Kevin Spacey about their allegations remarking “Twenty years from now, Weinstein will be the first person ever booed during the In Memorium segment”
In a symbolic manner, the red carpet was filled with black dresses and suits in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct. Various actors wore pins saying “Time’s Up”. And keeping in theme of the Golden Globes this year, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave prizes to other projects that portray strong, empowered women.