“Here are the all-male nominees,” Natalie Portman underscores while standing next to Ron Howard to present the award for Best Director (which, by the way, Ridley Scott should have won for the wizardry he performed on replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World). Yes, Hollywood and the animatronic men that run it have been massively humbled over the last year. And one can only hope that Harvey Weinstein was watching the broadcast somewhere from his “rehab” center. But there’s still a very long way toward genuine change, and Portman made that searingly clear with her impish sense of humor, which seemed to immediately make every white male nominated suddenly look extremely ashamed.
Portman’s quip came right after Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, during which, among other talking points besides stealing the premise of City High’s “What Would You Do?,” she declared, like the American Psychology Association catchphrase was her own, “Time’s up!” To this, all the women dressed in black (except for HFPA president Meher Tatna and Blanca Blanco, whoever that is) in the audience rose up in a clamor, as though Oprah was the good dictator of the matriarchal society that they had been waiting for. And who knows? Maybe she will be. With her impassioned speech, a swirl of rumors and wishful thinking has many speculating on her bid for a presidential run. Christ knows she has the money, and certainly literally anyone has the qualifications after bearing witness to the thing we saw slither into the White House last year. But, sadly, even after all the silence breaking and rallying cries, the overall tameness–the diet misandry of it all–of the Golden Globes shows that the age-old battle of the sexes is a power shift that requires the remaining straight men’s willingness to concede. Sure, they said, “All right women, we’ll dress up in black and put on pins that say ‘Time’s Up,’ but just know we’re going to act exactly the same when this ceremony is over.” A case in point of the sort of man who will ultimately do what he wants is James Franco, whose win not only proved scandalous for beating out Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out, but also for literally pushing Tommy Wiseau away from speaking into the mic. Now, of course, it was Franco’s award, but anyone who knows the story of Wiseau knows that being able to say something about the film would have meant everything to him. Plus, without Wiseau, The Disaster Artist wouldn’t exist. It’s just so-called “little” details like this that speak to the insanity of male consideration, or lack thereof. Which is probably why both Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were nowhere to be seen, the former because of recent insensitive comments about sexual harassment and the latter because he probably didn’t want to be in the same room with both Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.
With some of the focus on the actual movies nominated, the big winners of the night were Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Speaking to Portman’s comment, it made absolutely no sense that Greta Gerwig was not nominated in the Best Director category, making it almost impossible for anyone to usurp Barbra Streisand for the title of being the only female to ever have won in this facet. And it was for Yentl of all things. Hollywood must still be recovering from the excesses of womanhood and Judaism, hence the inability to give out another award to anyone other than a man. Ah, but Judaism is alive and well in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which also received solid recognition in the TV realm. Winning for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Musical or Comedy, Rachel Brosnahan, her face a vague replica of Natalie Portman’s, is the perfect replacement muse for Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, signaling what looks to be another prolific series for Amy Sherman-Palladino.
But back to the so-called “political” side of the show. By the end, it felt like Seth Meyers was the only one brave enough to say anything about the “the elephant not in the room. Harvey Weinstein isn’t here tonight because, well, I’ve heard he’s crazy and difficult to work with. But don’t worry, he’ll be back in twenty years when he’s the first person ever booed during the in memoriam.” The audience wasn’t so receptive to the joke, making faint noises of disapproval, to which Meyers responded, “It’ll sound like that.” Kevin Spacey was also briefly touched on (poor choice of words?) by Meyers, but other than that, the spotlight stayed far away from shaming the predators that prompted the collective’s all-black fashion statement. Personally, I think red would have made a bolder statement. Rose McGowan probably would have too.
And on the red carpet, the peak example of why this Golden Globes is primarily fanfare with no action behind it (other than perhaps Oprah trying her hand at presidential oration) came in the form of Jessica Biel, nominated for Sinner. She appeared with Britney’s ex, Justin Timberlake, to be interviewed by Natalie Morales and Carson Daly (number one animatronic in H’wood), who commented when the couple left that it was “nice of him to let her have her moment.” Yes, so nice. Thanks for allowing her that luxury. Carson’s tone deafness is, to be honest, a mirror of most everyman’s cluelessness about why women are so “up in arms.” As Eva Longoria had to explain to him, “This is not a moment. This is a movement, and tonight is just one small part of that.”
So even if this isn’t the awards show Valerie Solanas would have approved of, women don’t need to engage unbridled misandry the way men have long employed misogyny as a means to dominate the throne of decision-making. They’ve got a weapon far more powerful: the patience of a tick waiting to drop on just the right subject–and the subject, of course, is society. Which they will continue to wait and fight for as they make their moves to remedy all the damage that has been wrought by their gender counterpart.