'We became the story:' Oprah leads chorus of Hollywood women shouting #TimesUp
Social activism took centrestage at Golden Globes, with an underlying theme of underrepresented community finally getting their due.
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The darkest Golden Globes in recent memory — literally, as attendees were all wearing black in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment — managed to strike an upbeat tone in an evening that was all about lifting up the voices of people who normally aren’t heard.
On nearly every lapel and jacket cuff there was a button honouring the #TimesUp movement, founded by women in Hollywood to tackle workplace sexual harassment and provide legal aid to poor and immigrant women facing harassment in less glamorous and visible industries.
Oprah Winfrey, recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, stole the show with a speech that shook the audience to their feet and brought them to tears.
She used her place on the stage — her pulpit for the night — to spotlight the story of Recy Taylor, who died in December at the age of nearly 98. As a young Black woman in Alabama in 1944, she suffered a horrific, hate-motivated sexual assault that was never solved.
“She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. 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,” Winfrey said to raucous applause.
“I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on … it's here with every woman who chooses to say, 'Me too.' And every man … who chooses to listen.”
“Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story,” she said.
Elisabeth Moss touched on some of the same ideas in her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a TV Drama for portraying June in A Handmaid’s Tale.
She quoted directly from Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, which the series is based on: “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories."
Then she put her own twist on Atwood’s words: “We no longer live in the blank white spaces at the edge of print … we are the story in print, and we are writing the story ourselves.”
The theme of underrepresented communities finally getting their due continued as the awards were given out.
Coco, the Pixar film about a 12-year-old Mexican boy who finds himself transported to the land of the dead, won for best animated feature.
Sterling K. Brown, won Best Actor in a TV Drama for his role in This is Us, and in his speech he thanked creator Dan Fogelman for going beyond “colour-blind casting” and writing a “role for a Black man that can only be played by a Black man.”
Host Seth Meyers, faced with the tricky task of being funny about sexual harassment and the overdue reckoning with Hollywood’s 100-year history of discrimination, managed to elicit a steady stream of laughs.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association tried to get a woman to host, thinking it fitting, Meyers said, adding, “(They asked) ‘How would you like to come be judged by the most powerful people in Hollywood? It's at a hotel. Long story short, I'm your host.”
Meyers went on to say that disgraced produced Harvey Weinstein would be back at the Golden Globes in 20 years, as “the first person ever booed during an In Memoriam.”
“It will sound like that,” he said to a chorus of oooooh—oohs.
Reese Witherspoon may have summed up the message of this most unusual of awards evenings the best, when she took a turn to speak as Big Little Lies was honoured for Best Limited TV Series: “People out there who are feeling silenced by harassment, discrimination, abuse … time is up. We see you. We hear you. And we will tell your stories."
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