LOS ANGELES: The Golden Globes red carpet is usually awash with colour as the industry artists put forward their best fashion fronts. However, this year Hollywood spoke with one voice at the Golden Globes on Sunday to declare war on the film industry’s culture of sexual harassment and abuse.
Women and men alike strutted into the Beverly Hilton for the gala event in their finest, the wide majority of them in basic black, with only the slightest hints of color.
Many men wore pins supporting the Time’s Up initiative launched by hundreds of prominent women in Tinseltown to shine a light on sexual misconduct – starting with Sunday’s “blacklash.”
Referred to as the most raucous event in the showbiz calendar, the champagne-drenched Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual prize-giving is a draw for filmmakers and actors looking to create some buzz ahead of the Oscars in March.
But this year’s ceremony, seen as the first big opportunity for the industry to unite and deliver a message about how Hollywood can move forward, struck a more serious tone.
“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” actress and media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey told the audience at the Beverly Hilton as she accepted a lifetime achievement award.
“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,” she added, earning a standing ovation.
Actors and actresses turned out in black in solidarity with victims of Weinstein and numerous other figures exposed by the harassment and abuse scandal, including Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner and Dustin Hoffman.
And the overall message was a call for continued change.
“People are aware now of a power imbalance. It’s led to abuse in our industry. (…) It’s everywhere,” Meryl Streep, who was contending for a Globe for her work in media drama The Post, told E! network on the red carpet.
The women behind the Time’s Up initiative called special attention to their “sisters” in less than glamorous blue-collar jobs.
Streep, who came under fire over her denials that she knew about Weinstein’s misconduct brought Ai-jen Poo, the head of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, as her plus one.
Streep was not the only actress who walked the red carpet with an activist. Michelle Williams from All The Money in the World, arrived with Tarana Burke. The creator started the Me Too movement more than a decade ago, that exploded on social media in the wake of the revelations about Weinstein as women recounted their experiences online.
Oscar winner Viola Davis also commented: “It’s all of these women just embracing their authentic voices and standing in solidarity with each other.”
However, the protest movement did not prevent Hollywood’s finest from making fashion statements. Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, who starred in last year’s hit TV series Feud: Bette and Joan, opted for a daring sheer lingerie-inspired black gown with plenty of artfully placed sequins and emerald green earrings, while Alicia Vikander’s gown had a rather Victorian buttoned-up bodice with full coverage, sheer sleeves and a bare back.
Interestingly, Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s president Meher Tatna opted to not don the dark color and wore a bright red ensemble. Speaking at the event, she said, “My mom and I planned this together a couple of months ago, it is a cultural thing. When you have a celebration, you don’t wear black. So she would be appalled if I were to [have] worn black. And so this is, for my mom.”
Nonetheless, Tatna did proudly represent the Time’s Up movement by wearing the initiative’s black pin. “I do have my Time’s Up button, so [I’m] standing in solidarity with all these other women,” she expressed. “The HFPA is 60 percent women, we’ll have our stories. We are also journalists, so anybody who expresses themselves, especially on this topic, we are in solidarity with.”
The trending topic at the awards was definitely that of sexual abuse and harassment. Seth Meyers who made his debut as Globes host opened the show with joke after joke about Hollywood´s post-Weinstein reckoning.
“It’s 2018, marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t. It’s going to be a good year,” the late night NBC host said.
“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.”
Nicole Kidman who was named best actress in a limited series for her role as an abused wife in the show Big Little Lies said, “I hope we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them.”
Laura Dern who also won an award for the series also urged Hollywood to support survivors of abuse and to promote restorative justice.
“May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture´s new north star,” she said.
Elisabeth Moss, who took home the prize for best actress in a drama, for The Handmaiden’s Tale, thanked Margaret Atwood, who wrote the best-selling dystopian novel on which the Hulu series was based.
“Margaret Atwood, this is for you and the women who came before you and after you who were brave enough to speak out against intolerance and injustice and to fight for equality and freedom in this world,” Moss said.