For 74 years, The Golden Globe awards have recognized excellence in domestic and foreign film and television as identified by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Political statements vary from year to year, but last night was memorable. Jimmy Fallon opened the program by calling the selection as “one of the few places left where America still honors the popular vote.” He wasn’t necessarily on target because only the HFPA makes the choice, but it was a nice jab.
Fallon wasn’t alone in his criticism of the recent election. Hugh Laurie, who won an award for The Night Manager, said that he accepted his accolade “on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere.” Winner of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Elle), Isabelle Hupert, finished by saying, “Do not expect cinema to set up walls and borders.” Animated feature Zootopia co-director Byron Howard added a statement about “embracing diversity, even though there are people in the world who want to divide us using fear.”
The Mooncast cast and crew accepted an award for Best Picture by saying:
“No one could have anticipated that we would be sitting on the president-elect that we have coming into office in the next 12, 13 days; however, we all made these films because we felt something was lacking in the soil at the root: These stories that hadn’t been told.
“Honestly, we have to give people things… to reaffirm. If you’re feeling something and you want to speak it, you speak it, and someone will be there to hear your truth, and I think that’s been the spirit of ‘Moonlight’ so far.”
Supporting actress Janelle Monae, winner for her performance as a NASA mathematician in Hidden Figures, talked about racism and hate speech:
“I’ve been very supportive of love, and at the end of the day I think that no matter where you come from and who you love, you deserve to have a right to the American Dream. I think anybody who is representing hate is part of the problem. I hope we can all remember that at the end of the day, we all bleed the same color.”
The viral internet presence, however, was Meryl Streep in her acceptance of the Cecil B. Demille award for her lifetime achievement. Following is part of her speech, that she delivered in a scratchy voice because, according to Streep, “I have lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend”:
“Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said, you and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments of American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.
“But who are we and, you know, what is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey, Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, R.I. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio, Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates?
“And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in Lon—no, in Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts….
“An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, compassionate work.
“But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good, it was—there’s nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.
“It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege and power and the capacity to fight back. It, it kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. OK, go on with that thing. OK, this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.
“That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, ’cause we’re going to need them going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”
Donald Trump (DT), who has never seen a criticism that he could ignore, denied mocking a reporter in 2015 during his campaign and attacked Meryl Streep in angry tweets. Starting at 3:27 am this morning, he tweeted:
Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a…..
Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him…….
“groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!
It’s hard for DT to keep himself to 140 characters. And by the numbers, Streep has received 29 Golden Globe nominations and won eight awards. The tweets followed questions from New York Times reporter Patrick Healy about Streep’s statements. DT told Healy he wasn’t surprised by the comments from a “Hillary lover” and “liberal movie people.”
A video shows DT cruelly imitating New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a disease that limits the function of his joints. DT jerked his arms and said, “Now, the poor guy, you ought to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said, I don’t remember, I don’t remember, maybe that’s what I said.’” Kovaleski had denied his 2001 article supported DT’s claim that “thousands” of people in New Jersey cheered the fall of the World Trade Center. DT was never able to find evidence to substantiate his statement.
DT’s incoming counselor, Kellyanne Conway, did what she’s paid to do—try to mope up DT’s screwups. On the Fox network she used the GOP ploy of blaming others for what they themselves as she attacked Streep for “inciting people’s worst instincts.” Streep’s speech was about empathy for others and opposing bullying. An hour later Conway told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that people listening to DT should ignore anything he says because he doesn’t mean his words. She asked, “You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this and he’s telling you what was in his heart?” Conway added, “You always want to go by what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”
Streep’s words have far more impact when you hear them.
[Update: Andy Borowitz’s satire column today is headlined “Trump Urges Spy Agencies to Lay Off Russia and Focus on Threat Posed by Actresses.” Read more!]