2018 Golden Globes: Takeaways and Spare Thoughts

2018 golden globes

The Golden Globes are usually the official beginning of #OscarSeason for those of us who don’t have the time to closely watch every end of year festival and limited release. Generally, they’re pretty fun to watch and much more lively than the stuffier, longer Oscars. They’re also less regarded on a prestige scale, so everyone is a little less on edge.

At least, they were before this year’s long-overdue purge of several high-profile predators from Hollywood. It’d be naive to think that’s over completely, but last night’s ceremony represented a moment to reflect on how the industry has changed – and still is changing – just 3 short months removed from Harvey Weinstein being outed for decades of monstrous behavior.

So, the usually lighthearted Globes took on a more serious tone, therefore creating more noteworthy things to talk about. I was thinking about some of them, both film and non-film related. Here they are.*

*Also keep in mind that some of these things I’m not entirely qualified to talk about. If I’m misguided anywhere, feel free to call me out or let me know.

1. Men failed to address sexual misconduct

alex skarsgard
This guy walks up to a microphone, has several seconds to think and then refers to Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman as “girls.”

I saw a few reaction pieces and tweets about the male winners avoiding the night’s major theme in their acceptance speeches. At the very most, Alexander Skarsgård thanked the “girls” (really?) he worked with on Big Little Lies, giving a special shout out to Nicole Kidman for their difficult scenes together.

On some level, I understand the hesitance to speak boldly. It’s a tricky subject for men to address seeing as the majority of outed abusers/harassers have been men. And others like Matt Damon haven’t been great about standing up as supportive without putting qualifiers on guilt. Even so, I’d like to imagine many of the men last night were supportive, but willing to let women be the loudest voice in the room.

However, several men on stage last night had great opportunities to lay down the strongest possible condemnation: “Harassment and abuse is not OK. Period. And we support every effort to rid our industry of this cancer.” No need for filler talk; just issue the supportive statement and be gone.

And none of them did. So, while I understand the hesitance and fear of saying something out of place, the men at the Golden Globes largely failed to recognize their platform as one in support of their female colleagues. It was pretty disappointing.

2. More women and minority directors, please

portman and howard
One person in this picture is very clearly uncomfortable. I’ll let you guess which.

Natalie Portman had one of the night’s biggest cringe moments (in a great way) when she publicly called out the HFPA’s lack of diversity in the directing category. Barbara Streisand also addressed the lack of women directors represented in a presentation later in the evening.

The directing category is always tricky. Unlike the acting categories, the awards shows don’t separate male and female, so you’re always left debating who’s in and who’s out. And I’ll be the first to admit I don’t do enough to see films directed by women. If I counted all the films I watched last year that were, I’m fairly certain I’d feel embarrassed.

However, I feel like 2017 would have been an easy year to include women in this category. Lady Bird won Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture and it’s star, Saoirse Ronan, took home the Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Its director and auteur, the incomparable rising star who is Greta Gerwig? Nothing.

In my mind, it’s not really a question that Gerwig was one of the best 5 directors working in film last year. There’s a very convincing argument she was the best, and the fact she didn’t even get a nomination is a sham. And she wasn’t the only prominent director that could’ve earned a spot. Kathryn Bigelow, a former Oscar winner, directed Detroit, a problematic, albeit well-received summer release. I didn’t love Wonder Woman, but Patty Jenkins would’ve been a fine choice. Dee Rees directed Netflix’s award-season dark horse Mudbound. And Battle of the Sexes garnered several acting nominations with no directing nod for Valerie Faris.

I’d also like to point out the lack of diversity in this group. Yes, Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro took home the award. But the other 4 nominees were white men. And looking down the nomination list, it wasn’t exactly a strong group.

Del Toro for The Shape of Water: Deserved nominee and maybe winner.

Stephen Spielberg for The Post: I haven’t seen it to give a fair assessment, but he has been mentioned as an Oscar front-runner. He can stay.

Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards: He was probably worthy, but is also better known for his writing. He stays, but could’ve been swapped.

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk: I’m pretty down on Dunkirk overall. A lot of people would include him here, but I thought it was a pretty middling entry in his impressive filmography. He could’ve been replaced.

Ridley Scott for All the Money in the World: Come on. Let’s stop pretending he’s done anything undoubtedly award-worthy since Gladiator.

So you could’ve switched out at least 2, probably even 3, nominees in this category. Possible replacements, other than those previously mentioned? How about Jordan Peele who wrote and directed the year’s surprising critical and box office hit, Get Out? Or Sabaah Folayan for her rousing work on Whose Streets? Or Kitty Green for the brilliant Casting JonBenet? This would’ve been an easy year to address the lack of diversity in the directing category. Instead, the HFPA seemed to opt for nominees based on name and reputation.

3. Get Out is getting screwed

daniel kaluuya
When you’re the star of a film about the largely unspoken horrors of being black in America and people are still making jokes like it’s a, “comedy.”

I’ll probably be on this high horse until March, because it’s not looking good for my favorite movie of 2017 (as of now.) It was completely shut out at last night’s Globes after being outrageously misplaced in the Comedy category. Of course, anyone whose seen Get Out knows of its cathartically funny moments. But I’ve seen it 3 times now, and it gets progressively less funny each time.

Get Out is a film that doesn’t fit neatly into the “Hollywood as activist” archetype. Instead, Peele’s edged social horror goes after white liberals who, in their self-righteousness, choose to objectify and fetishize people of color. To say it’s ahead of its time is probably too simplistic: the movement of the moment is, deservedly, the combination of #MeToo and #TimesUp. But it’s sad that Get Out‘s cutting message won’t resonate as widely as it might have.

Still, it’s impossible to justify Get Out getting completely shutout. Between Daniel Kaluuya’s star turn as Chris, to Jordan Peele’s directing and writing prowess, to Michael Abels’ creeping, crawling score… there’s no reasonable way the Oscars can pull a HFPA and leave it out of Hollywood’s biggest night completely.

For the most part that’s it. I thought Seth Meyers was fine and admirably absent for most of the evening (the “dog being shot into space,” joke was gold.) A few more quick thoughts:

  • James Franco stiff-arming Tommy Wiseau got a few eye-rolls on social media, but I’d rather not give the mic to a well-documented narcissist on an evening where saying the wrong thing could’ve ended catastrophically.
  • Oprah’s speech was great. I’m still too cynical to get on board with the “Oprah for President!” calls, but she seems pretty determined not to run so whatever.
  • Three Billboards is getting a lot of hate for winning big, and I think it’s mostly misdirected anger. I won’t fault anyone for their opinion, though.
  • Legion deserved several TV nods over placeholder noms like Will & Grace or This Is Us. Again, personal opinion.
  • I liked The Greatest Showman, but how can you listen to this song and think the High School Musical castoff of “This Is Me,” is better?

Thanks for reading. I’ll likely do more award-season stuff, along with my upcoming Favorite Films/Oscar picks blog.



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