The 2018 Golden Globes: Shining the Spotlight on Sexual Assault


Courtesy of CBS News

Perhaps the most talked about event of the Globes was Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille lifetime achievement award.

Fiona Flaherty, Sentry Staff Reporter

The 75th Golden Globes arrived at a time of uproar in the entertainment industry. In October of 2017, famed producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault, igniting a call for change from women industry-wide. When coupled with a turbulent political year, this upheaval and controversy made the Golden Globes, the first major entertainment awards ceremony of 2018, a complex and widely publicized event. The awards, hosted this year by Seth Meyers, also gave viewers a heads up for which films, actresses and actors might be major contenders for the Academy Awards (or for president) coming this March.

First and foremost, the films and performances. 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri snagged four awards, most notably Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Actress for Frances McDormand’s performance. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the film deals with many current issues including sexual assault and racism, both prevalent topics in the Golden Globes Awards ceremony itself. Best Actor in a drama went to Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour. The award for Best Director went to the favorite, Guillermo del Toro, for The Shape of Water. Composer Alexandre Desplat’s work on The Shape of Water also won the Globe for Best Original Score, beating out the work of famed composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer. Arguably, the biggest snub of the night was The Greatest Showman, a musical film starring Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams. Fans expressed outrage, saying that the nominated star, Jackman, deserved the award more than James Franco, who won the Globe for Best Actor in a motion picture comedy for his work in The Disaster Artist. Most of the aforementioned films and performances received Academy Award nominations in their respective categories in addition to a Globe.

Despite the wins, the red carpet and the snubs, the 2018 Golden Globes were about much more than giving awards. Numerous allegations of sexual assault and violence raised in response to ‘The Weinstein Effect’ at end of the 2017 made the Globes the first public forum for discussion by the women who had taken the brunt of the harassment for decades. In response to these finally publicized years of abuse, the women in film and television created Time’s Up, an organization that acts as a “unified call for change from women in the entertainment industry” (Time’s Up). Time’s Up’s mission is to “address the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential.” With this movement, women who worked in any big industry and whose voices had before been silenced are now making themselves heard.

Almost all of the Globes’ guests, both women and men, donned black dress to protest the injustices of the film industry, making a unified statement that they would no longer put up with inequality (The Telegraph). Many of them also brought women’s rights activists as their guests; Michelle Williams, who was nominated for her performance in All the Money In the World, brought activist Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo Movement, which supports survivors of sexual violence. Throughout the evening, more and more women delivered gibes against the patriarchy, one example being Natalie Portman, who presented the award for best director; “… and here are the all-male nominees,” Portman said.

There was relative silence from the men during the Globes, but many stars, including Justin Timberlake, Timothée Chalamet, Gary Oldman and Armie Hammer, wore pins bearing the insignia for Time’s Up. Because Timberlake and Chalamet had worked with director Woody Allen, who was notorious for his predatory actions, fans raged that they had no right to wear the pins. Chalamet soon after donated the entirety of his salary from his work with Allen to Time’s Up, the Lesbian, Gay, Bixesual and Transgender Center in New York and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

Controversies aside, perhaps the most talked about event of the Globes was Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille lifetime achievement award. Winfrey is the first black woman to ever have received this award. Her speech, described by many as ‘inspiring’ and ‘remarkably delivered,’ moved powerfully from topic to topic, and by the end many of the Globes’ audience members were in tears.

Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story… It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed, bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” Winfrey said.

Her eloquence and powerful delivery inspired many to take up the cry of #Oprah2020, calling for her to run for president. The idea of a black female executive and the bravery of the victims who challenged their abusers at the Globes inspired the whole entertainment industry to prepare itself for change.