“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” dominated the 75th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, picking up a leading four awards, including a best drama statue. But it wasn't the only big winner to focus on steely female protagonists on the night. “Lady Bird”, a perceptive coming-of-age story about growing up in Sacramento, was named best musical or comedy while nabbing a best actress prize for Saoirse Ronan for playing a sardonic teen. On the television front, Hulu's “The Handmaid's Tale”, a show about a dystopian future in which women are conscripted into sexual slavery by a monied elite, picked up a best TV drama award, while HBO's “Big Little Lies”, a look at domestic abuse in a posh seaside community, earned a leading four awards including one for best TV movie or miniseries. Amazon's “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, a period show about pioneering female comedians in the 1950s, earned two statues, including a best TV comedy or musical honor.
This year's awards were unveiled against the backdrop of a massive sexual harassment and abuse scandal. As the list of big-name actors and power brokers continues to sweep, politics was front and center during the three-hour telecast. Stars used their time at the podium to draw attention to abuse, sexism, and racism.
It wasn't the typically festive and inebriated occasion that usually generates big ratings for the annual show. Actors and filmmakers dressed in black to show their solidarity for victims of harassment, and outfitted their dresses and tuxedos with pins that read “Time's Up”, a call to arms against discrimination and inequity. The message was reflected both in the choice of presenters as well as the performances, films, and shows that were singled out.
Elisabeth Moss, who nabbed a best actress in a television series drama for her work in “The Handmaid's Tale”, dedicated her award to women “brave enough to speak out against intolerance and injustice and to fight for equality and freedom.” Nicole Kidman captured best actress in a TV movie or miniseries, while praising her mother, a supporter of women's rights, in an emotional speech. Kidman's co-star Laura Dern praised whistleblowers who have helped topple Harvey Weinstein and other accused harassers, while accepting a best supporting actress in a TV drama prize.
Frances McDormand, who captured a best actress prize for playing a vengeful mother in “Three Billboards”, sauntered up the steps to claim her prize, looking like a gunslinger entering a saloon.
The show's host Seth Meyers wasted no time addressing the harassment scandal that has subsumed Hollywood. “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen,” he said, adding, “It's 2018, Marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment isn't.”
Harassment wasn't the only hot-button issue to surface during the broadcast. Best actor in a TV drama victor Sterling K Brown used his speech to thank Dan Fogelman, the creator of NBC's popular sudser “This Is Us”, for writing a role for a black man at a time when minorities are underrepresented on the small screen.
Gary Oldman solidified his status as the leading actor to beat after nabbing a best actor in a drama award for channeling Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”. James Franco may also see his chances bolstered by handicappers after earning a best actor in a comedy or musical for playing Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist”.
Other big screen winners included “Coco”, a fable based on the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead that was recognized as the year's best animated film, and “In the Fade”, a German film about the aftermath of a bomb attack, that was named the best foreign film.
On the television front, it was a big night for streaming series. Not only did Hulu and Amazon score with “The Handmaid's Tale” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, but Netflix's “Master of None” earned a best actor in a TV musical or comedy prize for Aziz Ansari.
Oprah Winfrey, the recipient of the Cecil B. Demille Award for career achievement, spoke to the power of representation. The talk show host and actress said that as a little girl she remembered vividly watching as Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win a leading actor Oscar.