Last night, the Golden Globes descended once again on the Beverly Hilton ballroom in Los Angeles to acknowledge the finest achievements of the past year in film and television, which turned out to be Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody.
While the slate of winners came as something of a surprise to many – the most polite way of characterizing a white-hot fury that consumed cinephile corners of the internet in seconds following these announcements – the show itself remained a source of entertainment and spectacle all its own.
Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg took on an unenviable task when they agreed to host the proceedings in a year chockablock with controversy, but they kept the mood light while duly acknowledging the shifting mores of race and gender in Hollywood. Topical concerns dominated the awards speeches as well, as talent voiced their support for women and people of color still staking out their corner of a crowded, largely homogeneous business.
Below, we’ve singled out a handful of soundbites from the evening’s events as a sort of awards-show digest, a condensed version of an event where everyone’s got something to say.
“Gracias familia, y gracias México.”
Alfonso Cuarón gave one of the night’s most enthusiastically applauded speeches as he accepted the Best Director prize for his monumental Roma, emphasizing a sentiment of unity across America’s southern border. Though he didn’t make any explicit mentions of the current Commander-in-Chief, he called on cinema to “tear down walls and build bridges to new cultures,” and his final words render the personal as political. In issuing a simple thank-you to his community through his native Spanish, hardly a notable phrase, he created a tacit symbol that a global presence in American excellence should be understood as the norm from here on out.
“We are women and nurturers, we have our children, and our husbands, if we are lucky enough, our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfilment.”
After having mistakenly not given Glenn Close a Golden Globe several times over the past few decades, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association got it together and recognized the actress for her role in relationship drama The Wife. In it, she plays a stymied writer held back both professionally and romantically by her husband, and Close used her speech to issue a call-to-arms to women everywhere that they must seek their own happiness. As industry initiatives encourage young girls to expand their ambitions beyond movie stardom to producing, shooting, and editing, this message of possibility rings a touch louder.
“I’m not fooling myself, next year could be different, it probably will be, but right now this moment is real. Because I see you, all of these faces of change, and now, so will everyone else.”
Between the one-liners, Sandra Oh used the platform of the opening monologue to issue some weightier thoughts about the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements purging sexual predation from the entertainment business. She expressed the nagging doubt that the progress made so far may not be sufficient, or lasting, or ongoing, but stressed the vitality of hope in such trying days. However a person might define our current “moment”, it’s given due cause for optimism. One scan of the assembled crowd confirmed it for her.
“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration to play this role.”
Perennial awards favorite Christian Bale picked up some new hardware for his turn as the grumbling, paunch-bellied Dick Cheney in Adam McKay‘s satirical Vice. Up at the podium, he made no bones about his model for the former Vice President, trading the usual comparison point of Darth Vader for a more traditional personification of evil on Earth. Whether these inflammatory words have gotten back to the iron chrysalis in which the real Cheney slumbers, we do not yet know.
“You know what race of people gets under my skin? The Hollywood marathon.”
Andy Samberg massaged some timely material into his side of the opening monologue as well, though he stuck with levity while doing so. Here, a groan-worthy pun carries more weight than usual; the first half cues up oxygen-draining discomfort in the room, until the second half reframes bigotry as a pedestrian traffic complaint. Phew.