2018 Golden Globes Winners: Oprah and the Simmering Rage of Women

There were two Golden Globes ceremonies last night. One where men went about their business as usual, answering inane and unobtrusive questions on the red carpet before proceeding inside to collect most of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s trophies. And then there was the other ceremony, coordinated by the Time’s Up initiative, that saw nearly every woman on the red carpet wearing black, with many of them trading out their husbands, partners and parents for dates with activists, to whom they gladly handed over their microphones when they were stopped by cameras and entertainment reporters. Michelle Williams brought Girls for Gender Equity director and #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke. Amy Poehler brought Restaurant Opportunities Centers United co-founder Saru Jayaraman. Emma Watson brought Marai Larasi, director of Imkaan, a UK-based organization that supports Black women. Laura Dern brought Monica Ramirez, co-founder of the women’s farmworker activist organization, Alianza Nacional de Campesina. Meryl Streep brought Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which represents 2.5 million nannies, house cleaners, and home care workers.

The sea of women in black dresses and the occasional tux was a stunning visual of solidarity, and it also forced red carpet hosts to ask why they were wearing black, as opposed to what designer they were wearing. Kerry Washington answered critics who thought women should have stayed home in protest by saying, “The reason we’re here, the reason we didn’t just stay home, is because we feel we shouldn’t have to sit out the night, give up our seats at the table, our voice in this industry because of bad behavior that wasn’t ours.”

“It’s our job right now, the time is now for us to do the work that will make women and all people more safe and more equal in their workplaces and in their lives,” echoed America Ferrera.

Debra Messing didn’t give E! a chance to ask her about her dress. When she stepped in front of the camera she did so to drag the network for the income inequality that caused Catt Sadler to leave E! in December.  “We want diversity,” she told host Guiliana Rancic. “We want intersectional gender parity, we want equal pay. I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts.” She didn’t stop there: she said she wanted more diversity in Hollywood, in front of and behind the camera, especially with respect to women and people of color. And then she threw out an actual number: 50/50 by 2020.

It was a jarring speech on a surreal red carpet; I could feel the rage and power of the women gathered there buzzing through my TV. And it didn’t stop when everyone got inside. Men wore their pins and largely ignored the whole thing, but nearly every woman who took the stage used her time to allude to Harvey Weinstein and talk about the toxic, sexist, abusive culture of Hollywood — and the world, in general — and promise a new day is coming. Laura Dern spoke about restorative justice, and said it’s time to teach our children that “speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture’s new North star.” Frances McDormand noted the “tectonic shift” in the industry. In her acceptance speech, Nicole Kidman said, “I do believe, and I hope, we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them.”

Natalie Portman shocked the crowd the most, using her few seconds on stage as a presenter for Best Director to coldly say “and here are the all-male nominees” before stepping back, stone-faced, from the microphone.

All of these women set the stage for Oprah, who became the first Black women to win the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille award. She delivered a rousing, enchanting, unapologetic speech that wove other social justice movements around her lifetime of experiences and the experiences of other Black women in this country. Reading her words can’t do it justice; you have to watch it for yourself.

While the Time’s Up movement did contain and control much of the conversation at last night’s Golden Globes, and the internet is even buzzing with presidential speculation after Oprah’s speech, I’d be remiss not to talk about that first Golden Globes ceremony I mentioned, the one where, as usual, men and white people did take home most of the hardware, and where even the men who traded in their white shirts for black ones and donned pins on their lapels refused to actually speak up for the women in the room. They accepted their awards, thanked their agents and their casting directors, their wives and girlfriends, and walked off the stage with even more capital and power in Hollywood, and no plan to use that advantage to stand in solidarity with women. James Franco, specifically, gleefully accepted a Best Actor Award for The Disaster Artist that I think we all can agree should’ve gone to Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out. Seth Myers, yet another white male host, made jokes as if the room was comprised entirely of men who were not implicated as predators or harassers, that the reckoning was over and only good people remained. This was, we know, not the case.

Natalie Portman knocked the room on its heels, but the fact remains that the top three grossing films of 2017 starred women, and that one of those films — Wonder Woman — was also directed by a woman. And that Lady Bird won Best Comedy but Greta Gerwig didn’t even get a nod for the film she directed. Things are even worse for women of color directors. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative recently found that only four black female directors have worked across the top 1,100 movies in the last ten years. Women can’t get the nominations if they can’t get the work, and even when they do get the work and prove themselves as both critical and commercial successes, that doesn’t mean they’ll get a chance to take home the trophies that men in their positions very obviously would.

And while it’s heartening that most of the women who did have a chance to speak used their voices to amplify the movement, it’s also important to note that nearly all of those women were white.

However, at the end of the night, it was Oprah whose voice carried the loudest: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! 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.”


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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1246 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I am a survivor of child abuse and molestation and I have my own opinions about the #MeToo and #WhyWeWearBlack movements that probably aren’t very popular so I’ve largely kept to myself because arguing with non-survivors who think they know better and white women especially who want to cape for celebrities that don’t even know them is triggering for me so I’ve tried to save myself the headache.

    That said, What struck me most about last night(and what I feared was going to happen) was that there were quite a few people in that crowd wearing black that are known abusers and enablers. People who have worked with and continue to sing the praises of known abusers wearing black, appearing in PSAs, and posting on their socials about these movements. There were men who got up on that stage and won awards who have a reputation of domestic abuse, soliciting underage girls for sex, and sexual assault. And there were women and men who put on their black attire “in solidarity”, got on that red carpet and/or up on that stage and said nothing about TimesUp in their speeches. And all of it induces a rage in me that is beyond my own comprehension at the moment.

    Also, it seemed that a good number of the women who have been the loudest about MeToo and organizing this “Lets Wear Black To The Golden Globes” idea weren’t even invited to the Golden Globes. They were sitting at home watching it with the rest of us. I think it would have been great if maybe they had gotten with some of the nominees to discuss speaking on the movement in interviews and onstage because from all that I watched last night the majority of the winners said nothing about either movement. It also would have been cool if maybe some of the people who did get invites brought some of the actresses who have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein as dates along with the ones who brought activists(I think their were only like 5 or 6 who did). I understand not everyone is an activist or eloquent with their words but if you are going to claim to be apart of the movement then you should speak about it when they put a mic in front of you. Most of us plebs don’t have these major opportunities or platforms to do so.

    I’ve tried not to be too critical of MeToo and TimesUp in general because I do believe their are a lot of good things being said and done along with the bad and their are some celebrities involved with these movements who do have good intentions. I just wish they wouldn’t involve the enablers and the hypocrites just because they are their friends. Just one example, I saw Lena Dunham in a picture last night with many of the organizers of TimesUp. The last we heard from that woman she was PUBLICLY accusing a rape victim of lying and has yet to issue a PUBLIC apology that mentions the victim by name but here she is cheesing for pictures. Are none of these women who are publicly trying to make themselves the faces of the movement(i.e Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrara, etc.) going to pull her aside and have a conversation with her about all the ways she’s been loud and wrong? I hope they have but I doubt it. Mostly I’m just hoping that all these women keep up the momentum and are still talking about these issues weeks from now, months from now, a year from now. This isn’t going to change overnight.

    Anyways, those are my very long two cents on the matter. And God Bless Oprah for giving the sermon that we all needed but probably didn’t deserve.

    • thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We often ignore the great amount of planning and coordination that goes into executing a broadly effective protest/movement. It is so easy to send a tweet or use a hashtag, but you point out so accurately that without effective messaging and strategic use of power/publicity. I think sometimes the excitement of being part of something can blind people to how to most effectively use their soapboxes collectively rather than based on individual whims. While I applaud all the steps that women took to change the conversation at the Golden Globes, I agree that much more could and should be done. And Seth Meyers joking about harassment and abuse as if all the men in the room were innocent was particularly offputting. There is also much to be said for those who have been complicit in the knowledge of others’ behaviors. Lots to think about! Thanks for your two cents.

    • @turkish, You’re absolutely spot on. I think, during Seth Meyers’ monologue when he made the joke about how HW would return to the Globes in 20 years and become the first person booed during the “In Memoriam” segment…and that joke got booed…I thought, “well, this isn’t going to go like I thought it would.” Jokes about Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen fell equally as flat. Hollywood still places too much value in being comfortable, in maintaining decorum and going along…all things that allow monsters like HW to thrive…and that was clearly evident on Sunday night.

      I mean, I guess no one there is responsible for whom the HFPA picks to win any given award but seeing James Franco with a pin on was revolting…seeing the sustained applause for a known rapist in Kirk Douglas…the celebration of Tonya Harding on a night folks are supposed to unite against violence against women…it was all just so terrible.

      I was proud of Tessa Thompson for saying something about Lena Dunham but I woke up today to read an apology from Tessa and just sighed.

      • I was really disappointed when Tessa Thompson apologized. She didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. But you know Lena Dunham still has very powerful friends and the celebrity feminist movement is pretty much run by them so it wouldn’t surprise me to find out they swiftly gathered her up and told her not to burn bridges.

        Isn’t it interesting that for all of Lena’s public scandals, other actresses have yet to speak out negatively against her? I believe there is a reason for that and it reeks of hypocrisy. Funny how you have an entire movement centered around “not being silent” and not letting powerful men use their clout to intimidate people but a WOC can’t speak the truth about Lena Dunham without having to issue a whole ass apology hours later. And a good one at that. She had to extent more thought and courtesy to this powerful white woman than that very same woman was willing to give to someone she accused publicly accused of lying about a rape. Think about that. A WOC who DID put in the countless hours to get TimesUp off the ground has to apologize to a white woman who literally showed up to get her picture taken for celebrity activist PR!

        The general public sees this hypocrisy and things like this are why celebrity activism is often criticized and ridiculed and continues to keep WOC from wanting to be apart of feminist circles. Once you allow people like Lena Dunham a seat at the table unchecked, well, I’m sorry you have to throw the whole movement away.

    • Thank you for taking the time to articulate this – I wish I could not only copy and paste add this to absolutely everything said about these things, but give your rationale and ability to communicate it lucidly to others – and in a way that is forwarding and specific yet flexible action-centered rather than “this is not working” with no solution. There’s always room to do it better but not always this prime time to capitolize before a door gets smaller.

  2. I want all of Hollywood cleared out. It makes me feel so grossed out to think about how much of pop culture has been shaped by literal rapists, and how many women stand up for them because these rapists have been nice to them individually.

    And men in comedy just need to shut up. I have not heard a single funny joke by a man about the recent hollywood allegations, because they dont exist. After all of the work done by all of these people to have their allegations be taken seriously by the mainstream, men (and women not affected by sexual misconduct) still will not shut up with their uncalled-for opinions.

    Let’s just take out all the garbage while we’re at it and get a brand new academy.

    P.S. how did franco win over Kaluuya?! HOW. oh right we live in a shit world.

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