Why the 2018 Golden Globes Will Matter More Than Ever

Golden Globes
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This year’s ceremony will take on new meaning following Hollywood’s sexual misconduct scandal, setting the tone for a #MeToo awards season.

When the Golden Globes are handed out at the 75th annual ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 7, it will mark the official start to the 2018 awards season -- a season that comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement and women speaking out against sexual misconduct, particularly in Hollywood.

In the last few months of 2017 (which saw female-led movies top the year-end box office and female stories dominate the Emmys), the entertainment world was rocked by scandal, starting with the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, which were followed by accusations against executives, longtime actors and some of the industry’s most powerful men. As women grew more confident in speaking openly about allegations of rape, sexual assault and harassment, the hashtag #MeToo became a staple on social media, used by women -- famous and not; in Hollywood and elsewhere -- who were united in their experiences of unwanted attention at work.

This problem -- a systemic imbalance of power in the workforce confounded by issues of gender disparity in jobs and pay leading to ongoing injustice and inequality -- is what led 300 prominent women in Hollywood, including Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon and America Ferrera, to form a coalition called Time’s Up.

Launched on Jan. 1, this new movement to empower women in the entertainment industry and beyond took shape just six days before Hollywood’s biggest stars and most powerful people will come together to celebrate the onscreen achievements of 2017. The celebration will now also be, in some ways, a reckoning. According to The New York Times, one of the Time’s Up tenets is “a request that women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and raise awareness by wearing black.” (In a somewhat mockable decision, male allies will also wear black to this year’s ceremony.)

“[It's] a really positive moment, one that's going to change our culture forever,” Allison Janney, who is nominated for her portrayal of LaVona Golden in I, Tonya, recently explained to ET. “I think the #MeToo movement showed how pervasive sexual harassment has been, and now Time's Up is a call to action. I'm very excited to be a part of that and stand in solidarity with all of the women that are going to be at the Globes wearing black dresses. And I'm proud. It's a proud moment.”

While the idea to wear all-black was met with some criticism, most notably from Rose McGowan, who has been at the center of the allegations against Weinstein and the #MeToo movement, most women, especially those who are part of Time’s Up, are rallying around the idea.

A nominee for Lady Bird, Saoirse Ronan told ET that “it’s been incredible as a young person … to really feel a part of a community of women.”

“It's been a really interesting time to actually open up the conversation and have it open your eyes to the environment and how it needs to change,” she added.

With the Golden Globes as the first major awards show of the year (a televised one, no less), it will be on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, host Seth Meyers and winners alike to set the tone for the rest of the season.

Meyers, who has used his position as host of Late Night With Seth Meyers to address ongoing sexual misconduct revelations in Congress, Hollywood and the media, has said that his opening monologue will focus squarely on what he calls Hollywood’s “internal politics that obviously deserve to be talked about.”

“People are going to want to hear about that from him,” Tina Fey, who hosted the awards three years in a row, recently told ET about her former Saturday Night Live co-star taking over emcee duties this year. “He knows the room and knows the gig. He’s a really smart and thoughtful person, so he’ll figure it out.”

In addition to interviews on the red carpet, which will likely be less about fashion and more about the Time’s Up movement, there’s no doubt that this year’s winners will make the most of their platform when accepting their trophies. “I think we will hear many speeches by awards winners denouncing sexual harassment in Hollywood and in the United States in general,” Steve Ross, a history professor specializing in Hollywood and politics at the University of Southern California, told CBC News.

That’s not entirely uncommon, though less so at the Globes, where celebrities tend to imbibe freely as the night goes on and the atmosphere is largely convivial in tone. Most notably, Meryl Streep, who is nominated this year for her portrayal of publisher Kay Graham in The Post, used her time accepting the 2017 Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award to clap back at President Donald Trump’s antagonistic stance on the arts and media. Last year’s ceremony was easily the Golden Globes’ most political ever.

Ultimately (and hopefully), the speeches and commentary, the movement and the fight will all be reflected in the HFPA’s selection of winners. While there were some missteps in the selection of nominees -- no woman was nominated for Best Director, for example -- the Globes did shut out House of Cards and Transparent, which have been marred by controversy surrounding each of their lead actors, while largely recognizing female-driven narratives.

The film nominees include Battle of the Sexes, I, Tonya, Lady Bird, Molly’s Game and The Post, while Big Little Lies, Feud: Bette and Joan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and SMILF were recognized in the TV categories. But the most notable nominees are The Handmaid’s Tale, a show about a woman’s escape from a totalitarian society that practices ritualized rape, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand as a mother seeking vengeance and justice for the rape and murder of her daughter. (Meanwhile, the biggest surprise was a nomination for Christopher Plummer, who replaced Kevin Spacey in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World.)

How any of these nominees are recognized at the Globes will largely been seen through the lens of the #MeToo movement -- not that that’s a problem. In fact, it will encourage and spur the conversation at the next awards show and the one after that.

The Critics’ Choice Awards, which will be hosted by Olivia Munn (who came out with allegations against director Brett Ratner and has spoken candidly about the #MeToo movement) will be the first to follow the Globes on Jan. 11 on The CW, with the Screen Actors Guild Awards the next major televised ceremony after that, on Jan. 21 on TNT and TBS. The latter will feature all-female presenters and will be hosted by Kristen Bell.

“Culturally there’s always been a conversation about equality,” Bell told The New York Times. “Now there’s some mega-spotlights on this conversation and, dare I say, some pyrotechnics in the background.”