LOS ANGELES, Colo. (AP) – With a red carpet dyed black by actresses dressed in a color-coordinated statement against sexual harassment and gender inequality, the Golden Globes confronted the post-Harvey Weinstein era with a ceremony at turns protest rally and party, atonement and celebration.
“Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen,” opened host Seth Meyers at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
Meyers, in his first time hosting the Globes, dove straight into material about the sex scandals that have roiled the industry and the “elephant not in the room,” Harvey Weinstein. In punchlines on Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Hollywood’s deeper gender biases, Meyers scored laughs throughout the ballroom, and maybe a sense of release.
“For the male nominees in the room tonight, this is the first time in three months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud,” said Meyers.
The first award of the night, perhaps fittingly, went to one of Hollywood’s most powerful women: Nicole Kidman, for her performance in HBO’s “The Big Little Lies,” a series she and Reese Witherspoon also produced. She chalked the win up to “the power of women.”
“Big Little Lies,” which came in the leading TV nominee, won three acting awards, including supporting actress for Laura Dern. Like seven other female stars, Dern walked the red carpet with a women’s rights activist as part of an effort to keep the Globes spotlight trained on sexual harassment. Dern was joined by farmworker advocate Monica Ramirez, Michelle Williams with “Me Too” founder Tarana Burke, and Meryl Streep with domestic worker advocate Ai-jen Poo.
“May we teach all of our children that speaking out without fear of retribution is our new North Star,” said Dern, accepting her Globe.
Other winners continued the theme of female empowerment. Rachel Brosnahan won best actress in a TV series musical or comedy for the recently debuted “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Elisabeth Moss, accepting an award for her performance in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” movingly dedicated her award to Margaret Atwood, whose book the show is based on, and the women who came before her and after her. “The Handmaid’s Tale” later added the award for best TV series, drama.
“We no longer live in the blank white spaces at the edge of print,” said Moss, referencing Atwood’s prose. “We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the stories in print and we are writing the stories ourselves.”
Hollywood’s awards season is seen as wide open, but the early returns Sunday were good for one of the leading nominees: the revenge black comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Sam Rockwell won for best supporting actor and writer-director Martin McDonagh won for best screenplay. Also in the mix are Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War-era fantasy “The Shape of Water,” which won for its score, and Steven Spielberg’s newspaper drama “The Post.”
Best actor in a comedy or musical went to James Franco for his performance as the infamous “The Room” filmmaker Tommy Wiseau. Franco dragged his co-star and brother, Dave, to the stage and called up Wiseau. When the Wiseau, wearing his trademark sunglasses, got to the stage, he moved for the microphone before Franco turned him back. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Franco as the audience chuckled.
The Globes had long been the stomping grounds of disgraced mogul Weinstein, whose downfall precipitated allegations against James Toback, Kevin Spacey and many others. Weinstein presided over two decades of Globes winners and was well-known for his savvy manipulation of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 89-member group that puts on the Globes.
Though it bills itself as Hollywood’s biggest party, the Golden Globes stroke a slightly more formal, Oscar-like tone, complete with moments of appreciation for movie legends. Kirk Douglas, 101, appearing with his daughter-in-law, Catherin Zeta-Jones, received a warm standing ovation.
Best foreign language film went to Germany’s “In the Fade.” Best animated film went to the Pixar release “Coco.” Allison Janney took best supporting actress in a comedy for the Tonya Harding tale “I, Tonya.”
Sunday night’s black-clad demonstration was promoted by the recently formed Time’s Up: an initiative of hundreds of women in the entertainment industry —including Streep, Williams, Dern and the night’s Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Oprah Winfrey — who have banded together to advocate for gender parity in executive ranks and legal defense aid for sexual harassment victims.
Ashley Judd, the first big name to go on record with her Weinstein experience, and Salma Hayek, who last month penned an op-ed about her nightmare with Weinstein, arrived together.
“We feel sort of emboldened in this particular moment to stand together in a thick black line,” Streep said.
“It’s not a fashion statement. It’s a solidarity statement,” said “The Crown” actress Claire Foy.
Just about everyone, woman and man, celebrity and red-carpet reporters, was dressed in black Sunday, many of them wearing a Time’s Up pin. “This Is Us” star Chris Sullivan even sported black fingernails. Later, his co-star Sterling K. Brown won for best drama actor. Brown, the first black man to win the category, thanked “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman.
“You wrote a role for a black man that can only be played by a black man,” said Brown. “I’m being seen for who I am.”
Though the atmosphere was still buoyant and positive, the usually superficial red carpet had unusual exchanges. While being interviewed live on E!, Debra Messing called out the network for allegedly not paying its female hosts the same as its male hosts. E!’s Catt Sadler recently departed after she said she learned she was making about half the pay of her male counterpart, Jason Kennedy.
The exchange was just another illustration of how the “MeToo” reckoning that has plowed through Hollywood has upended awards season. The ongoing scandals have derailed Oscar campaigns and prompted new ones. Among the nominees Sunday is Christopher Plummer, who was brought in at the last minute to erase Spacey from “All the Money in the World.”
By JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer … Associated Press writers Andrew Dalton and Lindsey Bahr contributed to his report from Beverly Hills.
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