Golden Globes 2019: Back to Normality

After the Saturday deluge left mudslides in Malibu, Sunday afternoon was blue skies adorned by puffy white clouds in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hilton was rain ready, but not a drop fell as the stars walked the red carpet for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 76th Golden Globe Awards ceremony. After the last two years of protests, this year was back to more low key rumblings. Last year’s Me Too and Times Up advocacy was not entirely forgotten with some stars wearing wristbands and ribbons.

Even the choice of Jeff Bridges as the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment seemed to signal a less confrontational approach to the socio-political scene. Bridges’ rambling speech didn’t touch on politics. As the first recipient of the Carol Burnett TV Achievement Award, Burnett focused on nostalgia. Neither Bridges nor Burnett came backstage to answer question from the press.

That doesn’t mean the Golden Globes was without political and social commentary. Just by choosing Sandra Oh, the HFPA seemed to acknowledge a new era of Asian awareness. Oh said on stage, “”I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change and I’m not fooling myself.  I’m not fooling myself. Next year could be different; it probably will be. But right now, this moment is real. Trust me, it is real. Because I see you. And I see you. All these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else.” Later in the evening, Oh won her second Golden Globe for her role in BBC America’s “Killing Eve” (Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama). Her first was in 2005 for Best Supporting Actress in ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Regina King finished her acceptance speech for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture, “If Beale Street Could Talk” by challenging herself and others:

I’m going to use my platform right now to say in the next two years, everything that I produce, I’m making a vow — and it’s going to be tough — to make sure that everything that I produce that it’s 50 percent women. And I just challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourself and stand with us in solidarity and do the same.

Backstage, after winning Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”) commented, that “I think diversity is definitely starting to pay off for Hollywood and it probably always would have, so I’m hoping to see more of a trend towards that.”  Yet like King, she wasn’t satisfied with limiting action and change to the Hollywood movie and television industries, adding, “When I was talking about equal pay, I was talking about 98 percent of all industries. We have a lot of moms out there that are sole breadwinners or primary breadwinners for families, so we have to look at equal pay and opportunity and being in the boardroom and managerial positions and decision making decisions across the board. And I am excited about how many women we have coming into the House and government in more positions of power.”

Arquette also felt that her role in “Escape at Dannemora” was a sign of growing openness in the industry, explaining, “I never thought I would get a part like this in middle age. I’m 50 years old. I get to play a woman without a typical body type in Hollywood, who’s a sexual person, unapologetically sexual, complicated, wants love. And I have friends who are — who don’t have the typical body type, they’re bigger women, and one of them has said to me very clearly, hey, I really want to thank you for this project, everyone involved, because it’s the first time I as a big woman felt like I’m allowed to be a sexual being and not fetishized in a jokable way. And I think that’s important because when you look at America, that’s really America.”

Arquette went on to describe how her parents took her and her siblings to demonstrations and picket lines and that has translated into all of them becoming activists, something Arquette was immensely proud.

After winning Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (“A Very English Scandal”), Ben Whishaw was asked backstage if he thought that actors “should only play parts that they represent, that is representative of their own experience and character?” Whishaw, who played a fictionalized version of a real gay man responded, “I don’t think that should happen because I really believe that actors can embody and portray anything, and we shouldn’t be defined only by what we are.” He also added, “On the other hand, I think there needs to be greater equality. I mean, I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. I’d like to see all sorts of things. You know, it should be an even playing field for everybody. That would be my ideal.”

Although Christian Bale won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of Dick Cheney in the evening’s most overtly political movie to win an award, “Vice,” Bale was a no show back stage, but still the current political situation didn’t entirely escape commentary. Backstage Joel Fields, one of the executive producers of “The Americans” (Best Television Series – Drama), commented that “It’s funny, when the show began part of its strength to us was the ability to write about the Russians with the sense that people couldn’t imagine that they were our adversaries because it had been so long ago. And it’s unfortunate that the Cold War seems to have heated up again, but our hope is since it happened quickly over the course of the series, maybe we’ll find a way to quickly get back to a warmer place where we can see each other more as human beings and less as adversaries.”

There was some grumblings on Twitter regarding E!’s Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, Michael Douglas winning the night’s first award (Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method”) or the awkwardness of the absence of director Bryan Singer (Best Motion Picture – Drama for “Bohemian Rhapsody”). All three had been accused sexual misconduct.

Backstage when asked about Singer who was fired from “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but per Directors Guild of America guidelines retained credit as the director although Dexter Fletcher was brought in to complete the movie (and credited as an executive producer), the producers and cast members present, including Rami Malek who won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, declined to comment. There were gasps backstage in the general press room when “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama. People seemed to have assumed that “A Star Is Born” was going to win but that movie only won Best Original Song – Motion Picture for “Shallow.”

Mahershala Ali who won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Don Shirley in “Green Book” and the producers of the movie which included Oscar and Golden Globe winner Octavia Spencer deferred criticism by Shirley’s family wishing them the best but standing by their movie.

The wins by “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” came as a surprise at the Golden Globes and perhaps that means there will be more surprises on the way to the currently unhosted Oscars.

Jeff Bridges’ Cecil B. DeMille Award Acceptance Speech:

Thank you, Chris.  And Sam.  Where is Sam?  Oh, man.  The stranger.  Oh, man.  Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press.  This is really a wonderful honor.  I’m so challenged up here because there are so many people to thank, you know.  I mean, it’s a collaborative art form here.  I’m going to ‑‑ I’ve got to thank some folks.  I’ve got to thank my sweetheart, Sue.  My God.  Forty‑five years of support and love.  I wouldn’t be up here without you, my dear.  And my brother Beau, sister Cindy for your love and support.  And how lucky are we to have our folks, man?  Lloyd and Dorothy.  Thank you.  I’m wearing your cuffs, Dad.  I’m wearing your cufflinks.  They’re your dad’s too.  And ‑‑ oh, man.  I’ve got to thank my representatives.  I don’t know where ‑‑ wave your hands, guys.  I want to see you if I can.  They’re keeping the boat afloat.  I can’t see you.  There they are.  David Shiv, Rick Kurtzman, Gene Seavers, Bob Wallestein, Liz Darling, my trustee assistant, Becky Padretti.  Who am I forgetting?  Frank Page.  You know who I got to mention is Loyd Catlett?  He’s my stand‑in.  We’ve done close to 70 films together.  Can you believe that?  He’s the thread through the whole deal, starting from “Last Picture Show.”  And speaking of “Last Picture Show,” I’ve got to thank my dear ‑‑ my dear friend Peter Bogdanovich, who kicked the whole party off for me in that.  I was so blessed to have him start my whole career.  And let’s see.  Well, the brothers, the Coen brothers.  Come on.  I mean, true masters.  If I’m lucky, I’ll be associated with the Dude for the rest of my life.  I feel so, you know, honored to be a part of that film.  Great movie.  And let’s see.  Well, we’ll get to my brother Steve Kloves, right?  “Fabulous Baker Boys.”  First time out, he comes up with that great movie.  Got to thank him.  I I’ve got to thank Scott Cooper.  I don’t know if Scotty is here tonight, but “Crazy Heart.”  Yeah, man.  Scott, man, sets a great vibe to make wonderful stuff happen.  And, oh, another first‑time guy I was so lucky to work with, the late, great Michael Cimino, who directed “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.”  That was his first movie.  I can remember going into his office the day before we started shooting, and I said to him, “Mike, man, I am sorry, but I think you made a terrible mistake.  I’m not feeling this guy at all.  I feel so inadequate.  I’m giving you late notice, I know, but please fire me, you know.”  And he looked at me, and he said, “Jeff, you know the game tag?  I said, “Yeah.”  He says, “You’re it.””  I said, “What do you mean, I’m it?”  He says, “You are the guy.  You couldn’t make a mistake if you wanted to.  The life of this character was coming through you.  It’s a done deal.”  I said, “Oh, all right.  That’s a wonderful vote of confidence and a great perspective to look at this thing.”  And I used it, of course, in that film and all the other movies that I’ve done, as well as my life, you know.  I’ve been tagged.  I guess we all have been tagged, right?  We’re all alive right here, right now.  This is happening.  We’re alive, man.  You know what I’m saying?  And being in the life of the movies, I kind of look through my life through the filter of movies.  I find directors and fellow actors all over the place in my life.  One guy, he had nothing to do with the movies, but he’s ‑‑ I’ve taken a lot of direction from him.  That’s Bucky Fuller.  And Bucky, you know, he’s most famous for the geodesic dome, but he made a great observation about those oceangoing tankers.  And he noticed that the engineers were particularly challenged by how to turn this thing, you know.  They got this big rudder, too much energy, the rudder to turn the ship.  So they came up with a brilliant idea.  “Let’s put a little rudder on the big rudder.  The little rudder will turn the big rudder.  The big rudder will turn the ship.”  That little rudder is called a trim tab.  And Bucky made the analogy that that trim tab is an example of how the individual is connected to society and how we affect society.  And I think ‑‑ I like to think of myself as a trim tab, and all of us are trim tabs.  We may seem like we’re not up to the task, but we are, man.  We’re alive.  We can really ‑‑ we can make a difference.  We can turn this ‑‑ we can turn this ship in the way we want to go, man, where it’s love creating a healthy planet for all of us.  So I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for tagging me, and I want to tag you all.  You’re all trim tabs.  Boom.  Tag, you’re it.  Thank you.

Carol Burnett being the first recipient of the Carol Burnett TV Achievement Award:

Oh, Steve Carell, all I can say is he is as nice as he is talented, and I thank you so much.  Where are you?  Thank you, Steve.  Thank you.  And my thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  I’ve been really gobsmacked by this.  Does this mean I get to accept it every year?  But, do you know, my first love growing up was in the movies.  I’d see as many as six to eight films a week with my grandmother who raised me, and then later, when I was a teenager, we got our first television set, and then I had a new love.  But regardless of the medium, what fascinated me was the way the stars on the screen could make people laugh or cry or sometimes both, and I wished and I hoped that maybe, just maybe, some day I could have the chance to do the same thing.  Well, those childhood dreams came true sometimes on the big screen but primarily on television, on a comedy variety show that half a century later still connects with people in a way that makes me very proud.

Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over, and then I bring myself up short when I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time because, what we did then, it couldn’t be done today.  The cost alone would be prohibitive:  28‑piece live orchestra, no synthesizers, 12 dancers, an average of 65 costumes a week, and there’s the brilliance of our regular rep players:  Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggonner, Tim Conway, plus two guest stars every week.  I’m so grateful for the chemistry that we had with each other.  And there was great chemistry behind the camera too with our crew, our producer, our director, our choreographer, our writers, the cue‑card guys.  We all became one happy family for 11 joy‑filled years.  And nothing like our show and, I might add, other variety shows at the time could ever see the light of day today because, the networks, they just wouldn’t spend the money and because there are so many cable competitors.  They are not going to take a chance.  And it’s sad to say today’s audiences might never know what they are missing.  So here’s to reruns and YouTube.

But what has remained the same for every person who is lucky enough to be on television is the belief that we’ve been given an opportunity to do something special.  We’ve been granted a gift, a canvas to paint with our talent, one that can make people laugh or cry or maybe do both.  So this award, oh, my gosh, so generously named after me, is dedicated to all those who made my dreams come true and to all those out there who share the love I have for television, and we yearn to be part of this unique medium that has been so good to me.  I’m just happy our show happened when it did and that I can look back and say once more, “I am so glad we had this time together.”  Thank you.

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