The Golden Globes were last night. They’re pretty fun for being so scattered and silly and since they include TV AND movies AND split movie categories up into comedy/musical and drama (which is often an insanely relative line). The Hollywood Foreign Press Association - a group of 90ish journalists from around the world who, if you believe 30 Rock, can be easily bribed for their vote - select winners from the realm of movies and television. They’re a mysterious group of reporters and reviewers, so the “validity” and “integrity” of the awards are suspect. I kind of like that.
The 89th Academy Awards (aka Real Movie Awards) are still over a month away (they’ll be held Sunday, February 26th), but the Golden Globes are often a good predictor of what’s gonna happen at the Oscars. The Hollywood Foreign Press likes to set trends, sort of like me when I tried to convince everybody the most fun thing to do at a roller skating rink was sit in the snack bar area and talk about feelings, just because I didn’t know how to rollerskate. I was 13.
Since our current Chalkboard Podcast series is “Movie with Friends,” here are some highlights we plucked out from last night’s eternal affair of acceptance speeches.
All La La Land Everything
Damien Chazelle won Best Director for La La Land.
Damien Chazelle won Best Screenplay for La La Land.
Emma Stone won Best Actress, Comedy or Musical for La La Land.
Ryan Gosling won Best Actor, Comedy or Musical for La La Land.
Best Movie, Comedy or Musical went to La La Land.
I guess some people must think La La Land must be pretty good. Though to be fair, its competition here included Deadpool and Florence Foster Jenkins, a film which is probably awesome since it has Meryl Streep but is a movie about a “socialite/soprano” so.... It’ll be interesting to see how La La Land - which was so obviously beloved at the Golden Globes and fits the “Hollywood loves movies about movies” narrative - fares against dramatic films like Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight (which won Best Motion Picture - Drama) when the Oscars come around.
Meryl Streep tackles Hate
I usually close my ears during segments like the Cecil B. DeMille Award and other “lifetime achievement” award speeches. Even though dope folks like Denzel and Jodie Foster have won in recent years, it comes across as Hollywood patting its velvet back and giving plaques for the sake of it. Awards, in my opinion, should be based on merit, and good gosh, Meryl Streep has won 3 Oscars, why does she need a participation trophy?
But it was worth it for her speech, which criticized Donald Trump’s bullying and the meanness he’s spawned. Streep told the audience one performance stuck out to her from this past yer - which had folks thinking, I'm sure, that she was gonna highlight one actor's work on stage - a true honor, like having Ruth Bader Ginsburg tell you your moral judgment is sound.
“There was nothing good about it, but it did its job," Streep said of the mystery performance - then surprised the crowd when she told them she was speaking about a campaign rally where Trump mocked a disabled reporter. She said it broke her heart, and that his kind of intimidation just begets more cruelty and hate.
I’m sure some people would rather “politics” stay out of “fun stuff” like an awards show, but art is at its most genuine and effective when people are true to themselves. Meryl Streep is a national treasure, and whatever your political affiliation you can’t disagree with this part of her speech: “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” We need art and good artists. Streep is one of them, and just because she's an actress doesn't mean she can't know truth or isn't allowed to speak it when she has a platform.
Casey Got It
Some people theorized - including us with our friend Alex Hetu on our Movies with Friends podcast about Manchester by the Sea - that allegations of sexual harassment might keep Casey Affleck from winning major acting awards for his haunting portrayal of Lee Chandler. (NY Mag covers the situation in detail here). But the Golden Globes gave its award for Best Actor, Motion Picture Drama, to Affleck. The competition was stiff (Denzel Washington, Fences and Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge) but Affleck’s performance is just too emotionally raw and powerful to deny. Denzel is Denzel and Fences is a literary masterpiece of a play, but my guess is the Hollywood Foreign Press valued an original screenplay over an adaptation, and my goodness, just go see Manchester by the Sea because it’ll break your heart but also make you feel like loving other people no matter what is doing your part to save the world. It’ll be interesting to see if Affleck can repeat at the Academy Awards - especially if Ryan Gosling winds up in his category. Either way, his beard was truly fierce.