Entertainment awards shows have long been a venue for actors to deliver political messages to the masses, from Marlon Brando orchestrating a protest against the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood at the 1973 Oscars to Meryl Streep speaking out against Donald Trump at the 2017 Golden Globes. Sunday’s Globes ceremony continued the rich tradition of stars promoting progressive politics.
The topic of the evening was the bushfires ravaging Australia. The fires, which have been affecting the country since September, have killed 20 people, destroyed thousands of buildings, and burned 14.8 million acres so far this season.
Australian Russell Crowe was not present to accept his award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film for his portrayal of Fox News boss Roger Ailes in “The Loudest Voice” because he was home with his family in the fire-ravaged country.
Jennifer Aniston read a statement on Crowe’s behalf: “Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate-change based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy, and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is.”
Fellow Australians Cate Blanchett, Margot Robbie, and Nicole Kidman were all Golden Globes nominees, and Naomi Watts was a presenter.
“When one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster,” Blanchett said.
In her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or TV Film for “The Act,” Patricia Arquette addressed both the fire and the state of affairs between the US and Iran. That country’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, was killed January 3 by a US drone strike, prompting Iranian officials to vow revenge against the US.
“I know tonight, January 5, 2020, we’re not going to look back on this night in the history books. We will see a country on the brink of war, the United States of America, a president tweeting out a threat of 52 bombs, including cultural sites, young people risking their lives traveling across the world, people not knowing if bombs are going to drop on their kids’ heads, and the continent of Australia on fire,” Arquette said. “So while I love my kids so much, I beg of us all to give them a better world. For our kids and their kids, we have to vote in 2020, and we have to get — beg and plead for everyone we know to vote in 2020.”
But for Joaquin Phoenix, who won Best Actor, Drama for “Joker,” Hollywood elite should do more.
“It’s great to vote, but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives and hope that we can do that. We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs for the awards,” he said. “I’ll try to do better, and I hope you will too.”
Phoenix, who is vegan, praised the Globes for offering a strictly plant-based menu at the ceremony, a topic he elaborated on when talking to reporters backstage by highlighting the ecological benefits of moving away from animal agriculture and meat-eating.
“I’ve never been so proud to attend an awards ceremony as I am tonight,” he said.
Michelle Williams focused on abortion rights in her acceptance speech for best actress in a miniseries for “Fosse/Verdon” — a speech during which NBC’s telecast cut several times to Busy Philipps, who heartily approved of Williams’ message — and Kate McKinnon, who is a lesbian, highlighted the importance of Ellen DeGeneres’s character on “Ellen” becoming the first gay sitcom lead when presenting DeGeneres with the Carol Burnett award.