Archive for January, 2018

11th January
written by Mad Cow

What to say about the Golden Globes? There was minimal talk on the red carpet about designers, and most of the women work black gowns as part of the “time is up” movement against sexual harassment. It was good. Even better, wanting to demonstrate the presence of the issue at all levels of occupation and income and that they are concerned with all women, not just those who are rich and famous, eight actresses brought notable activists to the awards as their guests. They were as follows:

Emma Watson: Marai Larasi, Executive Director of ImKaan, a British network of organizations working to end violence against black and minority women. Michelle Williams: Tarana Burke, Senior Director of Girls for Gender Equity and founder of the #MeToo movement. Susan Sarandan: Rosa Clemente, a community organizer focused on political prisoners, voter engagement and Puerto Rican independence.

Meryl Streep: Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Laura Dern: Mónica Ramiŕez, activist for Latina empowerment and preventing sexual violence against farmworkers.

Shailene Woodley: Calina Lawrence, Native American activist. Amy Poehler: Saru Jayaraman, advocate for workplace justice for restaurant workers. Emma Stone: Billie Jean King, who founded the Women’s Tennis Association and whose activism brought visibility and equity to women’s tennis.

Seth Meyers did a good job in his opening with soft jokes about the elephant in the room, offending no one (except Harvey Weinstein, who wasn’t there) and yet being kind of funny. One wonders who was on the list. As Seth himself was quoted as saying “When they ask you to host the Globes in November, you weren’t their first choice.” So the women wore black and some of the men sported buttons that read “Time’s Up.” Several women took the opportunity to mention other ways in which women are demeaned in Hollywood.

Barbara Streisand, on hand to give the Best Picture Award, mentioned that she was the only woman ever to win a Golden Globe for Best Director, and that was 34 years ago. And by the way, only four (Four, count ‘em) have ever even been nominated. Brave Natalie Portman, co-presenter of the Best Director award, noted that it was an all-male line-up. The audience was stunned by her impudence, but she was on point. Indeed, why didn’t Greta Gerwig, the writer and director of Lady Bird, which won “Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy,” get nominated?

Jessica Chastain and Geena Davis both mentioned the wage gap for women, about 23 percent. But we should all know that it can be worse than that. It was just revealed that, after Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg were asked to re-do some scenes for All the Money in the World, he was paid $1.5 million to reshoot and she made less than $1000. Williams By the way, they both are represented by the same agency. To make matters worse, director Ridley Scott publically stated that everyone did the reshoot “for nothing.”

People in the audience, especially the men, looked a little grim. Denzel Washington seemed to be texting or something, looking down most of the time, and Liev Schreiber only smiled for the camera. People gave Oprah a huge round of applause and standing ovation for her rousing speech about women’s inequality upon winning the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Oprah is a phenomena unto herself, smart, generous, outgoing. Her speech was wonderful, invoking little girls who might be inspired by her win as she was in 1964 upon seeing Sidney Poitier accept the same award. She promised “a new day,” perhaps signaling a run for President. The response to her speech was rousing.

Something bothered me about the over-the-top enthusiasm. We know that the room was full of unindicted “co-conspirators” so to speak. There were people who knew what was happening to their close associates and let things happen. There were likely also people who have harassed lots of omen but haven’t been caught. Harper’s Bazaar noted that none of the award-winning men mentioned the #MeToo movement or “Time’s Up.”  There were probably women in the room who felt guilty because they hadn’t summoned the courage to speak out and were not among the eight leaders mentioned here. And women who, at that very moment, knew that they had given in and would give in again, to abusive pressure in order to get ahead. Unbelievers were likely there too. Some may have been  skeptics who ascribe to the masculinist notion that when a woman or women speak feminism, they are talking about all men and really hate men. (This last is so tiresome.)

It is notable that the wonderful Frances McDormand wore not black, but dark blue, and no make-up. She looked like one of her characters (with the possible exception of her wonderful performance as Linda Litzke in Burn After Reading, the hilarious Coen brothers’ movie). She commented that she keeps her politics to herself but then made what I consider a forceful feminist statement. She said that the women in the room were not there for the food but “there for the work.” It is rare that, both in real life and in films, women are recognized for their work and their work alone. For me, this was the biggest take-away of the evening.

As to the actual nominees and winners, the Golden Globes, covering both movies and TV, poses a special challenge to ordinary viewers. How can one have a favorite if one hasn’t seen all of the nominated movies, screenplays, and shows? I have a day job and (yes) other interests. On top of that is the fact that movies come out at the END of December now, in probably one theater, so that voters from the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will have them in mind. Yuck. In tiny Cleveland, Post is just coming out and some movies haven’t arrived yet. I have been forced to choose winners when some of their opponents were equally praiseworthy but unseen by Mad Cow. Oh dear.

Anyway, on TV I have seen Big Little Lies, which I loved, and got “Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture for Television.” For that show Nicole Kidman got Best Actress, Alexander Skarsgard best supporting actor, and Laura Dern, best supporting actress.  I also cheered for The Handmaid’s Tale as best dramatic TV series and the wonderful Elisabeth Moss who won best actress for that series.  Sterling K. Brown won for best actor in a TV series for This is Us. This show is one of the best I’ve ever seen on TV. One of the things I noticed right away was the “realness” of the black characters. I realized, almost viscerally that on other shows they are either “white” black people or stereotypical black people. Brown expressed gratitude that that the part written for him was written for an actual black man. I love this guy.

As for the motion pictures on the big screen, Gary Oldman’s award for Darkest Hour, well-deserved, brought home to me that the Globes honor only writers, directors and actors. I immediately thought of his make-up artist who surely contributed greatly to his role, and in fact Oldman did too! I was thrilled at Lady Bird’s win for ‘Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy,” and the win by Lady Bird herself, Saoirse Ronan as best actress. I wished it could have won for the screenplay as well. That award went to Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. While I adored Three Billboards Billboards   it was hiccups in the screenplay that I most objected to. Again, Lady Bird, my favorite, or perhaps The Shape of Water, should have won. Guillermo Del Toro did win as Best Director for The Shape of Water and he did do a fantastic job of it.

The Oscar nominees will be announced on January 23rd and the big show will be on March 4. Jimmy Kimmel will host. I’ll be rooting for the make-up artist for Darkest Hour to win. And at this point, not having seen them all, I’m hoping that the fantastic, original, funny, serious, and incredible Lady Bird LadyBird will win for best picture.


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