You know what? It could’ve been worse.
Lest we sound glib, consider that the 2018 Golden Globes marked Hollywood’s most prominent public showing since the horrific allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Harvey Weinstein broke in October, sparking waves of similar revelations both inside and outside of the entertainment industry. For months, sexual abuse has been at the forefront of the nation’s minds, and as ground zero, Hollywood has become the somewhat unlikely face for a concerted push to change the very fabric of how society (mal)functions.
In other words: The atmosphere at the Golden Globes wasn’t exactly primed for a feel-good night full of splashy accolades. By and large, however, attendees mostly came prepared to face that fact, even though the Globes are traditionally known for being one of the splashiest nights of the awards season. A week ahead of the ceremony, a coalition of more than 300 women working in Hollywood announced the Time’s Up initiative, which aims to combat sexual abuse in workplaces across all industries. Then on the Globes red carpet, most women wore black as a symbol of protest; some even walked the red carpet with activists like #MeToo founder Tarana Burke to drive home the breadth of the movement.
And to its credit, the ceremony didn’t shy away from addressing the awful shadow looming over the room. Many of the night’s speeches incorporated the movement in one way or another. Host Seth Meyers even opened the evening with, “Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen,” a nod to how many powerful men in the entertainment industry have been disgraced thanks to allegations of sexual harassment and assault against them. On a night when so much could have gone wrong, the night struck a surprisingly decent, if inevitably uneven, tone.
To break down how Hollywood addressed some of its deep-seated issues — as well as who actually took home the night’s trophies, for better or for worse — here are 6 winners and 5 losers from one of the most memorable Golden Globes ceremonies in recent memory.
Loser: E!’s attempt to cover #MeToo with anything resembling gravitas
Look, not everything went smoothly, and honestly, how could it? But it was still impressive to watch how hard E! fumbled in its attempt to cover a red carpet that was explicitly being used as a platform for protest. Between pre-show coverage rife with breathless anticipation for accessories women would wear with their black dresses, cutting off activists while asking after their more famous dates’ nominations, and Debra Messing calling out the network for being embroiled in an equal-pay lawsuit while she was being interviewed by E!, the coverage was a general mess.
Thankfully, however, E! was not a harbinger of overall tone-deafness to come.
Winner: Seth Meyers
Meyers was tasked with a near-impossible challenge in hosting this year’s Globes. If he came out of the gate too somber, he’d sink any energy the room had. If he erred on the punchier side, he might come off as too glib.
But in a straightforward, unsparing monologue, the Late Night host struck an impressive balance. He went hard at the men who have fallen under the weight of sexual harassment allegations, especially when he declared that 20 years from now, Weinstein would be the “first person to be booed during the ‘In Memoriam.’” He even handed the mic to a series of actors who were more qualified to land punchlines about sexism, racism, and Kevin Spacey’s alleged history of targeting minors.
Meyers toed a tricky line and then got the hell out of the way, appearing only briefly throughout the rest of the evening. And that’s about as much as he could have done, given the circumstances.
And as a bonus: Meyers barely mentioned President Trump at all. In fact, he only ever referred to him as “our president,” in glancing references that would be difficult for even the most defensive Trump supporter to turn into a knee-jerk tweet about liberal Hollywood and its hatred of the current administration. And for that, we are truly grateful.
Winner: Big Little Lies
HBO’s mesmerizing miniseries Big Little Lies, the big winner on the TV side, matched Three Billboards’ four prizes, with three acting awards for stars Alexander Skarsgard, Laura Dern, and Nicole Kidman, as well as an award for being the year’s best limited series. (We’ll get to why this is a farce in a second.)
Already an Emmy behemoth and a ratings winner, Big Little Lies looks likely to keep scooping up awards once it arrives at the various industry awards that mark the next stage of awards season, including a few — like the Producers Guild awards — where it’s been classified as a drama series, thanks to the fact that it will have a second season coming at some point. Give or take a Handmaid’s Tale, it’s the biggest TV awards winner from 2017.
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Loser: every other limited series (in more ways than one)
Hey, since Big Little Lies just announced a second season, about the same characters, starring the same actors, it’s really not a limited series anymore, is it? But there it was, sucking up all the prizes that might have been won by Feud or Fargo or, hell, The Young Pope (also on HBO!). Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon should have marched around outside the hotel ballroom where the Globes are held, holding signs reading, “CATEGORY FRAUD!”
Winner: 20th Century Fox
The Golden Globes have 14 awards for motion pictures, and a full seven of them were won by movies made by some arm of the 20th Century Fox machine. Four went to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, from Fox Searchlight; two went to The Shape of Water, from Fox Searchlight; and one went to The Greatest Showman, from 20th Century Fox proper. Add to that two TV awards (the aforementioned prizes for Sterling K. Brown and Ewan McGregor) for 20th Century Fox productions, and you have the night’s most dominant studio.
You can go beyond even that, however. Though it won no prizes, The Post, also a 20th Century Fox production, was nominated for six awards, and both Billboards and Shape were nominated for numerous more prizes that they didn’t ultimately win. All in all, 27 of the film nominations across 14 categories went to 20th Century Fox, a hugely dominant performance from one studio.
So, naturally, the studio’s assets are being sold to Disney. Good work, Hollywood!
Loser: The Post
On paper, Steven Spielberg’s journalism blockbuster The Post looks like a major awards contender in every category, almost by default: It boasts Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep at the center of an absurdly stacked cast, and though it’s about events that took place during the Nixon administration, it’s been seen as a direct answer to the Trump administration’s assault on the free press.
But though the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated the film in six categories — Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score — it lost in all of them, to three different films. And any time Meryl Streep is up for an award and doesn’t win it, that’s a little surprising.
Since the Globes aren’t a surefire Oscar predictor — and because the HFPA is a very different voting body from the Academy, which began voting on Oscar nominations two days before the Globes took place — The Post’s losses at the Globes don’t mean much regarding its chances at the Oscars in March. Then again, the film didn’t receive any nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, which often helps pave the way for Oscar nominations. It could still pick up steam over the next two months, but its performance at The Globes didn’t earn any early votes of confidence.
Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The caustic, darkly comic ballbuster Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri walked away from the Globes with trophies in four of the six categories it was nominated in, and the most awards of any feature film of the night: The movie took the Best Motion Picture — Drama) prize, stars Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand both took home acting awards in their categories, and director Martin McDonagh won for his screenplay.
Unfortunately for awards prognosticators, the Globes aren’t especially reliable awards predictors. Last year, the winner of the Globes’ Drama prize, Moonlight, did end up winning Best Picture, and the awards’ big winner La La Land also performed well at the Oscars. But the overall match rate between the Drama winner at the Globes and the Oscars Best Picture winner is still less than 50 percent.
Oscars aside, Three Billboards is also a controversial win. Though a sizable swath of critics and audiences have praised the film, it’s garnered some vociferous criticism for offering an oblivious outsider’s perspective on the American Midwest (McDonagh is Irish), and it’s particularly bad in how it handles issues of racism and police brutality. On a night when violence against women was being discussed and decried from every corner, the praise for the film made some sense — but its tone-deafness on race lines up with a bigger trend of focusing on predominantly white victims in a year driven by women’s anger.
Loser: women directors
During a night of pointed statements about gender in Hollywood, Natalie Portman may have needled the most. In presenting the award for Best Director alongside Ron Howard, she slipped in some pointed commentary: “And here are the all-male nominees.” (Howard responded with nervous laughter.)
Portman’s characterization was perfectly accurate — and the lack of women nominees became even more clear when Barbra Streisand took the stage to present the Best Motion Picture (Drama) prize and noted that she is the only woman to have ever won Best Director, for Yentl in 1984.
Though Hollywood’s record in hiring women directors leaves much to be desired, 2017 featured a number of great films directed by women, three of whom were considered to have awards season potential: Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman, Dee Rees for Mudbound, and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird. (Battle of the Sexes, for which Emma Stone was nominated for a Globe, was also co-directed by a woman, Valerie Ferris.) Two of these films, Mudbound and Lady Bird, have been major players in awards conversations thus far, and Lady Bird won the Globes’ Best Motion Picture Comedy prize. Gerwig in particular has been in contention for Best Director prizes from critics’ groups throughout the end of the year, including winning that honor (along with Best Screenplay and Best Picture) the day before the Globes by the National Society of Film Critics.
But the HFPA nominated an all-male slate of directors: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World), and Steven Spielberg (The Post). Del Toro won it in the end.
Loser: the Golden Globes’ reputation for being hip and with-it when it comes to TV
In the past, the Globes often led the way when it came to the TV prizes, awarding new series that the Emmys often weren’t hip enough to touch.
But due to the way TV’s awards calendar is increasingly turning the spring into the medium’s equivalent of Oscar season — the better to qualify at the last minute for the Emmys — the Globes (which take the full calendar year into account) increasingly have to follow the lead of the Television Academy, as they did in rewarding both Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale.
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Winner: streaming networks
Though Big Little Lies was the big winner of the night on the TV side, there was a quieter, sneakier winner just off to the side — the big three streaming networks, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Indeed, the only TV awards not won by Big Little Lies or a streaming network were two of the three Best Actor prizes, with Sterling K. Brown of NBC’s This Is Us winning the Drama Series acting prize and Ewan McGregor of FX’s Fargo winning the Limited Series acting prize.
But beyond that, the other TV awards went to Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale (Drama Series and Elisabeth Moss for Actress in a Drama Series), Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Comedy Series and Rachel Brosnahan for Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series), and Netflix’s Master of None (Aziz Ansari for Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series). This wasn’t the world-shaking dominance of Big Little Lies (which won four awards all on its own), but it was a sign of the way the TV tides are turning.
Will this last forever? Probably not. HBO, FX, Showtime, or some other TV network can always land a Globe-dominating project starring lots of British people (the Globes’ forever secret love), but for now, streaming networks have their finger on the pulse of what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association wants.
Winner: Oprah Winfrey
If the overriding theme of the night was Hollywood’s attempts to reckon with the horrible actions exposed by the #MeToo movement, then it only seems fitting to give the last word to Oprah Winfrey, winner of the Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement, who gave a rousing, moving speech that took listeners from her childhood self, watching Sidney Poitier become the first black man to win the Oscar for Best Actor, to a present when the stories of those seeking justice need to be listened to more than ever.
“I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon!” she said, in the way only Oprah Winfrey can, where it seems like a proclamation has been issued from on high. “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.”
Just go read the whole thing.