By Jennifer Brett, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Golden Globe Awards, often a night of silliness running up to the Oscars, took on a much darker tone this year, both literally and figuratively.
“Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen,” began host Seth Meyers, addressing a ballroom full of entertainers wearing black in a show of solidarity stemming from the Harvey Weinstein scandal and other sexual assault and harassment allegations rocking Hollywood for months now. “It’s 2018. Marijuana’s finally allowed and sexual harassment isn’t.”
The red carpet protest came after some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington and Meryl Streep, launched the #TimesUp campaign, a “unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere.”
“From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live,” reads the website of the campaign inspired by #MeToo.
Meyers’ monologue rarely strayed from social awareness and political commentary, and the intersection of serious and satire was sometimes cringe-inducing.
For the male nominees, this will be the first time in months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud,” he said in an attempt to add levity. A “Get Out” joke later fell pretty flat.
Remarks from presenters and award winners and posts tweeted ahead of time underscored the more serious nature of this year’s ceremony.
“This character I played represents something that’s at the center of our conversation: abuse,” said actress Nicole Kidman after claiming best actress/limited series honors for “Big Little Lies.” “I do believe and hope that we can elicit change.”
During his opener, Meyers was if nothing else self-effacing and self-aware.
“I’m a man with absolutely no power in Hollywood. I’m not even the most powerful Seth in the room tonight,” he said, pointing to Seth Rogen and pivoting to politics. “Hey, remember when he was the guy making trouble in North Korea?”
That set up a joke about how the “Hollywood Foreign Press” Association combined President Donald Trump’s three least favorite words, other than “Hillary, Mexico and salad.”
Meyers didn’t shy away from the origin of the #MeToo movement.
“Harvey Weinstein isn’t here tonight. I’ve heard rumors he’s crazy and difficult to work with,” he said of the disgraced mogul whose career collapse preceded a number of other prominent denouements.
“I hear they’re doing another series of ‘House of Cards.’ Is Christopher Plummer available for that, too?” he said, a reference to Plummer stepping in at the last moment to play J. Paul Getty in “All the Money in the World.” Kevin Spacey was supposed to play the role but was fired from that project and the Netflix series amid a series of abuse allegations.
“I sure hope (Plummer) can do a Southern accent,” Meyers said. “Kevin Spacey sure couldn’t.”
Meyers’ monologue felt shorter than some of his predecessors’ and far more somber. He concluded by acknowledging viewers might see the ballroom full of wealthy, beautiful stars professing allegiance to social justice from a cosseted, lofty perch.
“Everyone in this room knows Hollywood is so much more than that,” he said, noting that most people on film sets work unglamorous jobs and got there by virtue of hard work, not powerful connections. “Those people aren’t there thanks to their rich dad.”
Oprah Winfrey was also a hot topics at the Golden Globes. She brought people to their feet after this inspirational acceptance speech.
She became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B DeMille Award. Twitterverse couldn’t get enough and the hashtag #Oprah2020 started trending.
So would Winfrey actually run?
“It’s up to the people,” her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. “She would absolutely do it.”
That night, the Los Angeles Times told Winfrey that “the Internet is saying Oprah for president in 2020. What does Oprah say?”
“I say, I’m just glad I got through the speech!” she answered. “I thought a lot about it. I wanted this to be a meaningful moment.”
– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report
More from the Golden Globes: