NEW YORK (AP) – The Golden Globes have always been the less serious stop in route to the Academy Awards – the boozy, bubbly awards show put on by a little-known group with sometimes confounding taste. But this year, a funny thing has happened: The Golden Globes mean something.
The 75th Golden Globes, to be presented in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday night, will be the most prominent and public display yet for the “MeToo” movement that has swept through Hollywood and left a trail of disgraced men in its wake. What has long been, first and foremost, a star-studded primetime party may this Sunday take on the tenor of a protest rally.
Out of solidarity with the victims of sexual harassment and assault, many women have said they will be dressing in black for the Globes. It’s a plan that, on the red carpet and on the stage, will ensure the spotlight remains on the film industry’s endemic gender imbalances.
“That will be really powerful,” Allison Janney, a supporting actress nominee for the Tonya Harding tale “I, Tonya,” said earlier this week. “I will be in a black dress and be proud to be standing there with the other actresses.”
The Globes have traditionally been a celebration, a good time and, frequently, a punchline. But they have had their political high points as well, like last year’s speech by Meryl Streep, the Cecil B. DeMille recipient for lifetime achievement. She spoke forcefully against then President-elect Donald Trump, who the next morning responded that Streep was “overrated.”
This year’s recipient is Oprah Winfrey, who earlier called the fallout following the allegations against Harvey Weinstein “a watershed moment” for women.
Winfrey is among the hundreds of women in the entertainment industry who have banded together to form Time’s Up, an initiative to advocate for gender equality among studio and talent agency executives. It has also created a $14 million legal fund for victims of sexual harassment.
Time’s Up – whose members include many Globes attendees, including Reese Witherspoon, Gal Gadot and Emma Stone – unveiled itself Monday with full-page newspaper ads. But already there is fresh fodder for its cause. The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released its latest findings Thursday on diversity in directing. By examining the top 100 films of 2017 in box office, researchers found that just 7.3 percent of the movies were directed by women. That’s an increase from 4.2 percent the year before, but still below the decade-ago high point.
“Diversity in the director’s chair is virtually nonexistent and gender in the executive ranks of major companies remains grossly imbalanced,” the study concluded.
That lack of change will be on display Sunday, too, where five men will compete for best director despite several potential nominees in Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), Dee Rees (“Mudbound”) and Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”). The category will be much watched when Oscar nominations are announced January 23.
Still, the Globes are starting to see some of the same criticisms on diversity that have trailed the Academy Awards in recent years. But unlike the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which has revamped its 6,000-plus membership to make its ranks more inclusive, the same pressure hasn’t been applied on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an organization of about 90 largely unknown foreign journalists.
But the HFPA’s quirks have drawn increased scrutiny, including this year’s oversight of one of 2017’s most acclaimed comedies, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon’s interracial rom-com “The Big Sick.” Also snubbed was “Girls Trip” breakout star Tiffany Haddish. Her co-star Jada Pinkett Smith last month took HFPA members to task for not taking “Girls Trip” seriously for its awards.
And then there’s the choice to slot in Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” as a comedy, for the film and star Daniel Kaluuya. That provoked the Globes’ largest backlash, and helped make “Get Out” the most tweeted about nominee in the two weeks after nominations were announced in December, Twitter said Thursday.
“Get Out” is one of the favorites in the mix on Sunday, along with Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” which led all films with seven nods. Close behind is Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” and Martin McDonaugh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” both with six nominations. One wildcard is Ridley Scott’s J. Paul Getty drama “All the Money in the World,” which landed three nominations, including one for Christopher Plummer. His performance was inserted at the last minute to replace Kevin Spacey, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several men.
The top TV contenders are female-led dramas: HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” which Witherspoon stars in and produced, and the FX anthology series “Feud: Bette and Joan.”
More than ever before, though, the Globes seem to be worth arguing about. All of the turmoil could make Seth Meyers’ hosting gig a little trickier. Meyers will follow his late-night partner, Jimmy Fallon, whose Globes broadcast last year was watched by 20 million viewers on NBC, an eight percent increase.
“We don’t want this night to be a session where we’re just scolding everything that happened because it is really important for us to remember that great movies came out of this year,” Meyers said in an interview. “A lot of people, we’re realizing, worked really hard in environments that were not that conducive to working really hard. So the goal is to have people have a wonderful night and an enjoyable party in a year which everyone deserves it.”
But this year, many in Hollywood are wondering if they deserve something more than a party.