With the Golden Globes, it’s less about who wins than what the winners say, especially during today’s politically charged #timesup climate. It’s also a chance for winners to practice their acceptance speeches and spin some Oscar campaign memes. Only last year, Meryl Streep rode her incendiary Golden Globes Cecil B. DeMille achievement award speech to an Oscar nomination for not-in-the-bag “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
This year, Oprah Winfrey’s rousing call to arms could yield a run for president. “I want all the girls watching tonight to know that a new day is on the horizon,” she said. “Take us to a time when nobody has to ever say #metoo again!”
As host of the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards, vocal Donald Trump naysayer Seth Meyers walked the line between sharp brickbats and belly laughs. “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen,” he began. “It’s 2018. Marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t, it’s gonna be a good year! This was the year of big little lies and get out — and also television series ‘ Big Little Lies’ and the movie ‘Get Out.'”
When it comes to Golden Globe predictions, it’s always a good idea not to be too cocky, as this idiosyncratic group of 90 Hollywood foreign press always throws a few curves. 2018 was no exception. While the HFPA didn’t go with “All the Money in the World” star Christopher Plummer for Supporting Actor or Ridley Scott for Director, they did reward “The Greatest Showman” with Best Song — as the second-year-in-a-row winning songwriters Justin Paul and Ben Hasek hugged presenter and “La La Land” star Emma Stone as they left the stage.
After last year’s “La La Land” seven-win sweep, this year the Hollywood Foreign Press spread the love. Fox Searchlight’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” lead the drama field with four wins, for Best Drama, Actress Frances McDormand, Supporting Actor Sam Rockwell and Screenplay Martin McDonagh. This gives “Three Billboards” a boost going forward, as frontrunners McDormand, Rockwell and McDonagh compete for Oscars with a strong wind in their sails.
“It was great to be in this room tonight,” said Frances McDormand as she accepted her Best Actress award, “and be part of the tectonic shift in the industry’s power structure. Trust me, the women in this room are not here for the food, we are here for the work!” Backstage, she added, “there’s no going back.” Notably, McDormand did little campaigning for this win, nor did her rival, “The Shape of Water” star Sally Hawkins.
Supporting Actor Sam Rockwell beat out “The Florida Project” star Willem Dafoe with his role as a bigoted cop in “Three Billboards.” “Yeah, baby wow,” said the indie character veteran, thanking Searchlight (with a total of six awards for the night) for releasing a movie people actually wanted to see, and writer-director McDonagh for “not being a dick. Frances McDormand, you are a badass, a force of nature,” he continued. “It was really fun to be your sparring partner. Thanks for making me a better actor.”
It was a good day for Mexico, too, as Disney/Pixar’s “Coco” won Best Animated Feature on its inevitable road to an Oscar win. Searchlight’s “The Shape of Water,” which led the 2018 Globe nominations with seven nominations, took home Best Director for Guillermo del Toro (his second nomination and first win) and Composer Alexandre Desplat. “Somewhere Lon Chaney is smiling upon all of us,” said monster-lover Del Toro, who gains momentum for a Best Director Oscar nod.
Not getting a boost was Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” with six nominations, which went home with nothing, along with such popular Oscar contenders as Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” which has been a notable no-show in recent guild nominations.
Gaining ground in the Oscar race is Greta Gerwig’s comedy frontrunner “Lady Bird” (A24), which wound up with two Golden Globes, Best Comedy and Comedy Actress Saoirse Ronan for her role as a rambunctious teenager eager to escape Sacramento. Backstage Gerwig reminded that her title character was not like her at all, in fact, but closer to who she would have liked to be.
Supporting Actress went to Neon’s “I, Tonya” star Allison Janney, who had scored six Globe nominations and no wins on the TV side, and was delighted to win for a film. On the red carpet she called beleaguered skater Tonya Harding’s mother “a loving, nurturing mom.” Janney will continue to duke it out at SAG and the Oscars with another actress playing a formidable mom, theater star Laurie Metcalf, in “Lady Bird.”
Inevitably, Gary Oldman’s Winston Churchill took home Best Actor Drama for World War II drama “Darkest Hour,” his first Globe nomination and win. “I’ll be learning about the man for many years to come,” said Oldman. “Words and actions can change the world, and boy does it need to change.” The British star is still the frontrunner for Best Actor at the Oscars.
Auteur James Franco won Best Comedy Actor for A24’s true show business story “The Disaster Artist,” which pushes him into position for a Best Actor Oscar nod — along with his graceful speeches on and backstage, thanking collaborators Tommy Wiseau, Seth Rogen, and brother Dave.
German filmmaker Fatih Akin’s “In the Fade” beat out shortlisted Oscar contenders “The Square,” “Loveless,” and “A Fantastic Woman” for Best Foreign Film, partly because it was his most personal film to date, he said. Cannes Best Actress winner Diane Kruger returned to her native Germany to star as the woman who fights back against terrorists. Will it make the final Oscar five? Only the foreign language committee knows for sure.
Many women took advantage of the Globes stage to make pointed comments, from movie star Nicole Kidman, who followed up her Emmy win with an drama acting award for Globe-winner “Big Little Lies” (along with fellow repeaters Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgard), thanking her mother Jenelle for fighting so hard for women’s rights, to #timesup leader Reese Witherspoon, who told women who are harassed and abused: “We will tell your stories.”
“Here are all the male nominees,” declared Best Director presenter Natalie Portman, and Best Drama presenter Barbra Streisand made the point that it’s been 34 years since a woman (Streisand, for “Yentl,” in 1983) won a Best Director Golden Globe. “Folks, time’s up,” she said. “We need we more women directors and more women to be nominated for best director!”
Film and TV star Elisabeth Moss (“The Square”) also nabbed a second award for “Handmaid’s Tale,” which won again for Best TV drama. “We want to tell stories that reflect our lives back to us,” said Moss. “We want to see those stories, we want to see ourselves. We also believe in having as many women behind the scenes as possible. It’s also what people want to see.”
Laura Dern added: “Many of us were taught not to tattle, it was a culture of silence. Let’s support restorative justice. May we teach our children that speaking out without the threat of retribution is our culture’s new north star.”
First-time winner Rachel Brosnahan won Best TV Actress Comedy for Amazon’s “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” which also won Best TV Comedy. She plays “a bold, brilliant, and complicated woman,” she sad. “Let’s continue to hold each other accountable and invest in and make and champion these stories.”
Men spoke out, too: “The issue is bullying,” said Rockwell backstage. “People have to stop being bullies. We’ve all been taking a big look inside ourselves.”
The shift in the industry, Oldman said backstage, “is an evolution, a wheel is turning, a notch in the evolutionary wheel. We’re still coming out of the mists of time. What we do, what we say and how we do it and say it and who we do it to, are very important, and if that is exposed it’s a good thing. I’m wearing black, I was in solidarity with this #timesup movement. The film illustrates what can come from standing up and saying ‘no more, we’re not going to take it anymore.'”