Oprah makes the Golden Globes matter
Most years the Golden Globes is a meaningless awards show in which the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hands out often head-scratching hardware for movies and television shows. Not this year.
More on that in a minute. This year, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and the #MeToo movement and the chance for women who have been mistreated and abused as a matter of course for years to speak out, the Globes actually seemed like a step on the right path.
It was anyone’s guess how the ditziest awards show out there would deal with serious subjects, but the answer was heartening: Led by host Seth Meyers, bolstered by a remarkably inspiring speech by Oprah Winfrey, quite well.
The mood started on the red carpet, typically an environment in which questions rarely get deeper than, “Who are you wearing?” But this year many, though not all, nominees and presenters and famous people talked about the current climate instead of how fabulous their gown was. Viola Davis called it “a coming out, all these women expressing solidarity with each other.”
Debra Messing, star of “Will & Grace,” called out the E! network for pay inequality among men and women — while being interviewed by the E! network.
Meyers set the tone with a superb monologue that was funny, relevant and pitch perfect.
“There’s a new era underway, and I can tell because it’s been years since a white man was this nervous in Hollywood,” he said to laughs. “By the way a special hello to hosts of other upcoming awards shows who are watching me tonight like the first dog they shot into outer space. For the male nominees in the room tonight, this is the first time in three months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud.”
It was just right, giving him time to address the topic everyone was thinking about, if not talking about (yet): “Harvey Weinstein isn’t here tonight because, well, I’ve heard rumors that he’s crazy and difficult to work with,” Meyers said. “But don’t worry, he’ll be back in 20 years, when he becomes the first person ever booed in the In Memoriam.”
But it was Oprah who didn’t just elevate the room, but blasted it into space.
She was there to accept the Cecile B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, but that was just a jumping-off point to light a fire of inspiration rarely heard in these days of stable-genius tweets and bitter, partisan bickering.
“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” she said, while using that tool with brilliance. For instance:
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. 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.”
If you didn’t cheer, you weren’t watching. She helped do the impossible: Make the Golden Globes relevant. And she, along with the others, did a whole lot more.
Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goody email@example.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk.
Oprah Winfrey poses at the Golden Globe Awards.