It’s one of those non-secrets that we all agree not to acknowledge: that many a gay man holds a barely veiled contempt not just for women, but for powerful women, wanting in their own way to literally be them, but knowing they never can. Elton John is just one such example, his notorious feud with Madonna officially documented upon declaring of her win for best live act for the Re-Invention Tour in 2004, “Madonna – best fucking live act? Fuck off! Since when has lip-synching been live? Sorry about that, but I think that everyone who lip-synchs on stage in public when you pay, like, £75 a seat should be shot.”
So the gauntlet was thrown, and evidently Elton’s longtime boyfriend, now husband, David Furnish was obligated to become a part of the feud. Particularly when the two found themselves professionally collaborating on the shittaytay that was Gnomeo and Juliet (the only movie you might ever have heard of that Furnish has been involved with). With Elton composing the soundtrack, his nomination in the Golden Globe category of Best Original Song for “Hello Hello” was lost to Madonna’s win for “Masterpiece,” from her often unjustly maligned film, W.E. It was a rather embarrassing moment for Elton, who prior to the ceremony had declared on the red carpet, “Mary J. might win it for The Help… Madonna doesn’t have a fucking chance.” And Madonna might have been fully vindicated as she took the stage to give her acceptance speech had she not felt compelled to bow to the then untouchable Harvey Weinstein. No stranger to working with him (who was, really?) since the early 90s, Weinstein had his hand in distributing the following Madonna movies: Truth or Dare, Four Rooms, Arthur and the Minimoys and, finally, W.E. Thus, in addition to women in the business like Meryl Streep, who have profited greatly from working with Weinstein, it’s been something of a surprise that Madonna has remained largely silent on the matter, save for an Instagram post featuring a dinosaur with its back turned and a t-shirt labeled “Harvey Weinstein” with the caption, “Comes back to you.” Not exactly as searing as some of the things she’s said about Elton, like, “Was he wearing a dress?” And so, that Madonna felt inclined to thank Harvey in addition to her co-songwriters, co-producer, manager and lead actress was perhaps, in retrospect, the biggest faux pas she could have made as a feminist (many undeclared feminists, LDR included, have also remained largely mum with hindsight). Can we blame women who “didn’t know” what was going on? Of course not–though something tells one that occasional bestie Gwyneth Paltrow might have tipped Madonna off at some point about Harvey’s grotesquerie. Still, she said, “Finally, I’d like to thank Harvey Weinstein, um, the Punisher that’s his nickname. Yeah, the Punisher. For believing in my film. Thank you Harvey.” Ah, so close to an untainted win. The taint of which would soon escalate.
Possessed by Elton’s warlockry, David Furnish took to Facebook almost immediately after the ceremony to say, “Madonna. Best song???? Fuck off!!! Madonna winning Best Original Song truly shows how these awards have nothing to do with merit. Her acceptance speech was embarrassing in its narcissism. And her criticism of Gaga shows how desperate she really is.”
He would later take another opportunity to mouth off to the New York Post, “Can you sing Madonna’s song? Can you hum it? It’s a song nobody has heard from a film few have seen. The award should have gone to Mary J. Blige or Elton.” With such vitriol, one is surprised that Furnish didn’t further contend that Weinstein rigged the entire win. Maybe he did. In any case, the 2012 Golden Globes certainly was a simpler time to enjoy the bliss of ignorance. And the height of petty drama. Cherish it for what it was before going into what will inaugurate the official post-#MeToo Hollywood era of cinema and awards ceremonies at this year’s GGs.