TV and movie stars gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 8 to celebrate the stars of the entertainment industry at the Golden Globes. Following its tradition as a chaotic, drunken version of the Oscars, the Golden Globes wreaked immediate havoc with a broken teleprompter seconds into host Jimmy Fallon’s monologue. Fallon himself was a weak host to begin with; despite his likability, he simply did not have the humor necessary to carry the mess of a show forward in a way that wasn’t painful.
Standout nominees included Moonlight (a drama about a gay black man in Miami), Manchester by the Sea (the story of a janitor who must take responsibility for his newly-orphaned nephew), The People vs. OJ Simpson (a miniseries following the infamous murder trial), and Atlanta (Donald Glover’s new series about hip hop in Georgia). But the biggest winner of the night was La La Land, which garnered seven Golden Globes, including best actor and actress for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, best original screenplay, best original score, and best comedy or musical film.
More than anything, though, politics seemed to dominate the stage. Fallon’s monologue compared Donald Trump to King Joffrey (the petty tyrant from Game of Thrones). Hugh Laurie accepted an award with quips about how this would be the “last ever” Golden Globes, due to Republican disdain for “Hollywood, Foreign, and the Press.” (The Golden Globes are awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association). Meryl Streep’s speech after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award revealed her devastation at the recent election in an industry “crawling with outsiders and foreigners.” She then brought to light the most terrible “performance” of the year, in which Trump mocked a disabled reporter on the campaign trail. With a call to action for the artists and the press to stand against the president-elect, Streep followed the increasing trend of celebrities using their platforms for politics. (See: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar acceptance speech that spoke out in support of indigenous peoples.)
Streep’s condemnation of the president-elect has sparked backlash from those who believe actors, singers, and other stars should stick to their industries, rather than using their influence for political purposes. This then raises the question: Isn’t all entertainment political? The people Hollywood chooses to represent all have some greater implications as to what we as a society want from our entertainment. They cater to us, the public, for their ratings and their ticket sales. Is it any surprise that, in the wake of one of the most vicious presidential campaigns in American history, entertainment is reflecting politics?
The Golden Globes prove this union of politics and celebrity. With their nominees and winners, this award show seemed determined to avoid a nightmare similar to the #OscarsSoWhite outrage. Several more diverse films and TV shows––including ones specifically detailing hip hop culture, racial tension in legal situations, the modern black family, and the plight of African-Americans––were recognized at the Golden Globes. Even the animated film winner, Zootopia, had themes of equality and tolerance for all.
The execution of the Globes was not thoroughly impressive. Its political messaging was undeniably one-sided. But at least, at yet another award show packed with banal Game of Thrones jokes, the star-studded occasion was not boring.