With the ongoing reports on sexual harassment, which have had many popular faces emerged to share their stories, the just concluded golden Globes Awards held on Sunday, held history as celebrities stormed the red carpets with black sophisticated gowns to show their support against sexual harassment.
Known for celebrating the best in film and television, this year’s Golden Globe Awards was dominated by one topic: sexual harassment against women.
Various celebrities arrived at the event on Sunday wearing black in a show of solidarity against the culture of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, with several men donning pins in support of the “Time’s Up” initiative.
First-time host Seth Meyers told the audience as he opened Sunday’s show in Los Angeles, “It’s 2018: marijuana is finally allowed, and sexual harassment finally isn’t,” the NBC “Late Night” host said to applause.
Capping off the evening as she introduced the night’s biggest prize, the award for Best Motion Picture Drama, singer and actress Barbara Streisand delivered a stirring message to the celebrity-packed room.
“I’m very proud to stand in the room with people who speak out against gender inequality, sexual harassment, and the pettiness that has poisoned our politics,” she said.
“I’m proud that our industry, faced with uncomfortable truths, has vowed to change the way we do business.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis C.K. were just some of the prominent entertainment figures to face allegations of sexual harassment, assault or misconduct last year in a wave of accusations that swept through Hollywood and prompted the #MeToo movement.
Several winners used their acceptance speeches to address the hot-button issue.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up,” Oprah Winfrey declared as she accepted the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award. “Their time is up!” Winfrey said to a standing ovation.
Laura Dern, Best Supporting Actress winner for HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” said: “Many of us were taught not to tattle. It was a culture of silence and that was normalized.”
“I urge all of us to not only support survivors and bystanders who are brave enough to tell their truth, but to promote restorative justice. May we also please protect and employ them. May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture’s new north star,” Dern said during an emotional speech.
Nicole Kidman, who also picked up a Golden Globe for her role in “Big Little Lies,” told the audience: “I do believe and I hope we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them. Let’s keep the conversation alive.”
“Handmaid’s Tale” actress Elisabeth Moss, who won in the Best Actress in a TV Drama category, quoted the author of the book that inspired the apocalyptic Hulu series.
Afterward, she said: “Margaret Atwood this is for you and all the women who came before you and after you, who were brave enough to speak out against intolerance and injustice, and to fight for equality and freedom in this world.”
Last week, a bevy of A-list actresses — including Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Judd and Natalie Portman, among others — writers and female entertainment execs announced the creation of “Time’s Up,” an initiative aimed at combating systemic sexual harassment.
Many actors and actresses also participated in a sartorial show of force at the awards ceremony, opting to wear black in support of “Time’s Up,” and as form of silent protest against sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond.
Another highlight of the night was the profound speech, of the world’s most influential woman Oprah Winfrey; the media mogul’s acceptance of the career honor defined the evening more assuredly than Seth Meyers’ able if understated performance as host, or any other moment in the three-hour, eight-minute broadcast.
Thundering through a speech that cut through the perfume of self-congratulation and social justice-as-accessorizing, Winfrey hit the pause button to remind the audience just how much work still needs to be done. She acknowledged the awe-inspiring power inherent to standing on that stage, describing how she felt at seeing Sidney Poitier accept such recognition so many years ago. Without pretentiousness, she recognized what seeing her occupy that same rare air meant to younger women determined to take their shot in a world that long has stacked the deck against them.
Then Winfrey used her power to invoke the name of a black woman unknown to most: the main subject of the 2017 documentary “The Rape of Recy Taylor.” Briefly recounting the story of her case, Winfrey explained that in 1944 Taylor was walking home from a church service when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left by the side of the road.
Through the NAACP and the efforts of Rosa Parks, Taylor sought justice that was denied her but, Winfrey revealed, she died 10 days ago, shortly before her 98th birthday.
“She lived, as we have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men,” Winfrey said. “For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”
Has the Globes ever been capable of genuinely moving viewers to tears? If so, it’s been a long while. Expecting Winfrey to deliver a rousing oration is reasonable, but the level of emotional release sparked by her words felt unprecedented and necessary. Entertainment industry visibility has been crucial to maintaining the momentum of #MeToo and keeping the conversation about gender inequity alive and top-of-mind, but Winfrey employed her singular talent for bridging privilege and fame to everyday people, cementing the night’s efforts as something more than simply fashion. Her gratitude at the honor bestowed upon her was exceeded only by her honest deference to the labors of all women who quietly keep going while enduring abuse, “because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.”
It was entirely in line with an evening that balanced the completely expected with a few moments that were refreshingly unpredictable, starting with the symbolic sartorial blackout for the Globes red carpet and ending with Natalie Portman’s sucker punch to the nards in the wake of Winfrey’s speech. As if she knew people wondered how anyone could follow that tour de force, Portman introduced the Best Director category at Ron Howard’s side by way of brightly stating, “And here are the all-male nominees!” with wicked precision. “The Shape of Water” director Guillermo Del Toro won the category this year, but Portman won the sisterhood for the foreseeable future.
That also means Winfrey was the only woman of color to go home last night with an individual honor from the HFPA.
Sunday night’s telecast of the awards exemplified everything great and awkward about the industry’s highly publicized efforts to confront the surge of sexual harassment scandal and embrace the age of #MeToo.
As planned and well-publicized, the pre-show couture parade of black gowns, many relatively demure in comparison to past showings, provided a respectable show of solidarity with the embattled women of the world.
Social media captured it under the umbrella of #WhyWeWearBlack, part of supporting the recently established ‘Time’s Up initiative’, a celebrity-backed effort dedicated to confronting abuse of power and promoting equality in the workplace.
Several nominees brought activists as guests, notably Meryl Streep, who walked the carpet the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen Poo, and Michelle Williams, who was joined by #MeToo founder and civil rights activist Tarana Burke.