By Greg Braxton Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Greg Braxton reports, "it was women who dominated the ceremony with strong words onstage and backstage about feminism, a woman's right to choose, LGBTQ acceptance and the president's order to kill a top Iranian military leader."
A missive from Russell Crowe, sent from Australia where he stayed to protect his home and family as more than 145 fires burn, may have started what turned into a night of political speeches, despite host Ricky Gervais' half-joking advice during his opening monologue to not use the podium "as a platform to make a political speech."
And, yes, Joaquin Phoenix admonished stars who take "private jets to Palm Springs" while praising the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. for "the evening's plant-based menu."
But it was women who dominated the ceremony with strong words onstage and backstage about feminism, a woman's right to choose, LGBTQ acceptance and the president's order to kill a top Iranian military leader.
Michelle Williams spoke about choice as she accepted the Golden Globe for actress in a limited series or made-for-TV movie award, for playing actress and dancer Gwen Verdon in FX's "Fosse/Verdon." "I'm ... grateful to have lived in a moment in our society where choice exists because as women and as girls, things can happen to our bodies that are not our choice." She said she's tried "to live a life of my own making ... sometimes messy and scrawling, sometimes careful and precise, but one that I have carved with my own hand. And I would not have been able to do this without employing a woman's right to choose."
She added, "So women, 18 to 118, when it is time to vote, please do so in your own self interest. It's what men have been doing for years." Pausing as the audience cheered, she said, "It is what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them. Don't forget we are the largest voting body in this country. Let's make it look more like us."
Standing nearby after presenting the award, Tiffany Haddish chimed in with an enthusiastic exclamation: "I'm all about that women's choice!"
In presenting the honorary Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television to Ellen DeGeneres, "Saturday Night Live" star Kate McKinnon said she was inspired when she was younger by the entertainer's courage in coming out: "In 1997, when Ellen's sitcom was at the height of its popularity, I was in my mother's basement lifting weights in front of the mirror thinking, 'Am I gay?' And I was. And I still am. But that's a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It's sort of like doing 23andMe and discovering you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV."
She went on to say of DeGeneres, "She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it. ... If I hadn't seen her on TV, I would have thought, 'I could never be on TV. They don't let LGBTQ people be on TV.' And more than that, I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien and that I maybe even didn't have a right to be here. So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot at a good life."
Later in the show Patricia Arquette, accepting the award for supporting actress in a limited series or made-for-TV movie for Hulu's "The Act," went directly at the president in her speech. "I know tonight, Jan. 5, 2020, we're not going to look back on this night. In the history books, we will see a country on the brink of war, the United States of America. A president tweeting out a threat of 52 bombs, including cultural sites. Young people risking their lives traveling across the world. People not knowing if bombs are gonna drop on their kids' heads. And the continent of Australia on fire. So while I love my kids so much, I beg of us all to give them a better world. For our kids and their kids, we have to vote in 2020, and we have to beg and plead for everyone we know to vote in 2020."
This isn't the first time Arquette has brought politics to the awards podium. At the Emmys in September, when she won for supporting actress in a limited series, also for "The Act," she spoke about her late transgender sister, Alexis Arquette, and said that "trans people are ... being persecuted." She added, "They are human beings, let's give them jobs. Let's get rid of this bias that we have everywhere."
And at the Oscars in 2015, Arquette spoke out about equal pay: "To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
It's a subject that came up again this past September when Williams won the Emmy for her "Fosse/Verdon" performance. In accepting that award, she talked about the pay gap between men and women in Hollywood, something that hit home for her when news emerged that Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million while she got less than $1000 for reshooting the Ridley Scott film "All the Money in the World" after Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer. "The next time a woman, and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart _ tells you what she needs in order to do her job," Williams said, "listen to her, believe her." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.