The 2017 awards season kicked off in earnest on January 8 with the 74th Annual Golden Globes, and it turns out: The voters of la-la land love La La Land.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestowed a record number of trophies on Damien Chazelle’s original musical about two lovers trying to make it in Hollywood. The other major contender of the evening, Barry Jenkins’s quietly powerful Moonlight, didn’t win the Best Supporting Actor and Best Director awards it was tipped for, but it did come away with the Best Motion Picture (Drama) prize over Manchester by the Sea. Other big winners included The Crown, Elle, Atlanta, The Night Manager, and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Read more updates below, or check out our full wrap-up of the evening.
After being shut out for the majority of the 2017 Golden Globes, Moonlight finally triumphed where it really mattered, with a win for Best Picture (Drama). Barry Jenkins’s stunning film about the coming-of-age of Chiron, a young boy growing up in Miami, was nominated for six awards but took home only one, with the loss of Mahershala Ali in the Best Supporting Actor category coming as a particular surprise. Moonlight will now have some extra momentum heading toward the Oscars in February, although whether it can beat this year’s Globes juggernaut, La La Land, is anyone’s guess.
Jenkins adapted Moonlight from a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who grew up in the same Liberty Square housing project in Miami as the director. If you haven’t seen it already, this New York Times story by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who visited the area with the two men, is well worth a read.
Jimmy Fallon at the Globes: Game, Charming, and Barely There
When it was announced, this summer, that Jimmy Fallon would be hosting the 2017 Golden Globes, The Guardian’s Brian Moylan argued that Fallon’s selection could herald a new era for the awards show. Fallon, Moylan wrote—as opposed to the show’s previous hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and certainly to Ricky Gervais—“promises to be a totally different kind of host.”
As Moylan put it,
As the steward of The Tonight Show, he’s not known for telling jokes in the same way that Gervais or Fey and Poehler are. Instead his most resonant bits are ones of collaboration, when he brings out the best in other celebrities and gets them to engage in wacky games or silly stunts. Also, his humor doesn’t have the sardonic edge of the previous hosts. Fallon has the temperament of a labrador retriever: always happy to be there, excited for anything that comes his way, and just dying for someone to scratch his belly.
Fallon did, indeed, offer moments of wackiness this evening. He began the Globes telecast with that La La Land-inspired musical number. He brought Questlove in as the show’s DJ. He did an “Oprah-Uma”-reminiscent play on the sort-of-rhyming names of Jessica ChastAIN and Eddie RedMAYNE.
Beyond that, though, the most notable aspect of Fallon’s hosting approach was … his general non-presence as a host. He had, overall, very little screen time.
That wasn’t Fallon’s fault. It was a reminder, though, of how different the demands that are made of the hosts of the Globes versus, say, the hosts of the Oscars. Fallon’s semi-presence during the evening highlighted the extent to which the “host,” at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual affair, is really more of an emcee than anything else. He introduces other people. He makes fun, but he also, more importantly, makes way. Fallon does indeed, as Moylan put it, “bring out the best in other celebrities”—which is a good thing, since that, apparently, is the job he was tapped to do for the evening.
As the night winds down, it’s a clean sweep for La La Land, the L.A.-set original musical that will surely be tipped for similar Oscar success next month. The film won seven Golden Globes in total: Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), Best Actor and Actress for stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Damien Chazelle, and Best Original Score and Song. In winning all seven of the awards it was nominated for, La La Land became the most-awarded film in the 70-plus year history of the Globes.
Could such sweeping success lead to a backlash for La La Land, which is now the clear favorite for the Oscar for Best Picture? Perhaps. There were some slightly awkward optics as the film’s winners repeatedly took the stage and triumphantly noted how “daring” it was to try and make an original musical. Original musicals are few and far between in Hollywood these days, to be sure, but the (so far un-awarded) Moonlight, funded independently, featuring no major stars, and sprung to surprising word-of-mouth success on the back of critical acclaim, feels a little more “daring” than a nostalgic, if well-made, showbiz musical starring Stone and Gosling.
Meryl Streep vs. Donald Trump (and Mixed Martial Arts)
Meryl Streep might be Hollywood’s best example of actor as craftsperson; now she’s making a play as statesperson. After a moving introduction from Viola Davis, Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for a career’s worth of work by giving a full-throated articulation of the current Hollywood political mindset. She reassured the entertainment world of its value, and she took aim at Donald Trump and what he might represent.
The meat of the speech came with Streep reflecting on the episode where Trump seemed to mock a disabled reporter, or as she called it, the “moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back.”
“It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life,” she continued. “This instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
She transitioned to the need for a “principled press” to “call them on the carpet for every outrage,” adding that the “famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community” should support the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Perhaps most surprisingly, in defending “the most vilified segments in American society right now”—by which she meant the type of people who attend the Golden Globes—she said something likely to be taken as a culture-war salvo: a highbrow-type aiming lower. “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” she said, “and if you kick us all out, you’ll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts.”
Cue the politically divided reads of the moment:
An important lesson from #MerylStreep for Democrats and progressives: Speak truth.
Winning will follow.
'Hidden Fences': A Terrible Gaffe, but a Pretty Great Meme
On the red carpet before the start of the Golden Globes ceremony, NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager began her question to Pharrell—who produced Hidden Figures, the new film about three black women who helped to send men to the moon in the 1960s, and for which he is nominated for a best original score—like so: “You’re nominated for Hidden Fences.”
It was a flub that would be repeated during the Globes ceremony itself by Michael Keaton, announcing the nominees for best supporting actress in a motion picture. (“Since the camera was focused on the actresses,” the New York Timesnotes, “it’s unclear if Mr. Keaton said it with a wink and a nod.”)
It was also a flub, however, that would quickly lead to some very good jokes on Twitter.
I can't believe I haven't seen #hiddenfences yet!! But you know, I still need to see Boo! A Madea Moonlight, so...I'll get to it.
Tom Hiddleston Makes a Humblebraggy Humanitarian Speech
It would not be charitable to write off Tom Hiddleston’s Golden Globes acceptance speech as a total humblebrag. But it would be inaccurate to say it was not, a little bit, a humblebrag.
First, though, it was an attempt to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis and an appreciation of entertainment’s role even in dangerous situations. Accepting the prize for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries from his turn in BBC and AMC’s The Night Manager, he launched into a story about having recently visited South Sudan with the United Nations’ Children’s Fund. He spoke of there being a “terrible situation” for children there (cue producers’ cut to the Stranger Things kids), and he dedicated his award to “those making a difference.”
But the main point of his speech seemed to be an anecdote about him grabbing a “dirty beer” with other humanitarian workers. There, he was approached by Médecins Sans Frontières doctors and nurses who told him they’d watched The Night Manager as bombs fell in the country. “The idea that I could provide, or we could provide, some relief and entertainment for the people who work for Unicef and Médecins Sans Frontières, who are fixing the world in the places where it is broken, made me immensely proud,” he said.
Reaction to the speech online was … mixed:
That was a long story Tom Hiddleston told to pay himself a compliment. #GoldenGlobes
When trying to predict the Golden Globe television winners, always remember two things: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves to pick the hot new TV show. They also love any prestige drama to come out of the UK. The Crown, Netflix’s epic chronicling of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, was both, so of course it was guaranteed a couple trophies. The first went to star Claire Foy, who dedicated her award to Elizabeth; the second was for Best TV Series (Drama).
The Crown had some hot competition this year from new dramas—NBC hit This Is Us, Netflix’s summer smash Stranger Things, and HBO’s much-discussed Westworld were among the nominees—but the Globes will always break a tie for the Brits. The same goes for The Night Manager, a BBC miniseries adaptation of a John le Carré novel that aired on AMC last April, which won four Globes tonight. Though American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson was the bigger hit with both critics and viewers, The Night Manager surprisingly beat it in every category it was nominated for (Best Miniseries, Best Actor in a Miniseries, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress).
Hugh Laurie Suggests 2017's Show Will Be the Final Golden Globes ... Because Trump
Hugh Laurie won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a limited series or TV movie for his performance in The Night Manager. The Brit used his speech—the third time he had occupied the Globes stage as an award winner—not just to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the honor, but also to take another of the evening’s swipes at the incoming U.S. president.
"Thank you, first of all, to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for this amazing honor,” Laurie began. He paused. “I suppose it’s made more amazing by the fact that I’ll be able to say that I won this at the last ever Golden Globes.”
The crowd didn’t quite get what Laurie was hinting at. They offered him a few tepid laughs; then he tried again.
“I don’t mean to be gloomy,” the actor said. “It’s just that it has the words ‘Hollywood,’ ‘foreign,’ and ‘press’ in the title. I just don’t know what—”
At this point, the crowd got it. Laurie was suggesting that a Trump administration might do away with the organization that was handing out the awards he and his fellow Hollywooders had just received. Those Hollywooders began laughing, and applauding.
“I also think that, to some Republicans, even the word ‘association’ is slightly sketchy,” Laurie continued, to more laughter.
The actor continued with more traditional acceptance-speech fare: expressions of gratitude, expressions of humility. And then—an homage to his Night Manager character, Richard Roper, and perhaps to another person, as well—he concluded his speech: “I accept this award on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere."
Viola Davis Wins a Long-Awaited Prize for 'Fences'
“This is my fifth nomination. I took all the pictures, went to the luncheon,” Viola Davis joked as she won the first Golden Globe of her career. “But this is right on time.” The trophy came for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her work in Denzel Washington’s Fences, an acclaimed adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. She praised Washington and the film’s producers for taking on such a stage-bound work, noting, “It doesn’t scream moneymaker. But it does scream art. It does scream heart.”
Fences has actually proven a solid moneymaker, already grossing $40 million since its December 16 release, buoyed by rapturous reviews and Washington’s star presence. Davis’s work in the film is extraordinary (she’s arguably a quasi-lead, taking over the film for its last act) and has been hotly tipped to win an Oscar for months; her Globe victory marks the first step. Davis thanked Washington before leaving the stage, calling herself “a friend and a fan.”
The Surprising First Golden Globes Winner of the Night
Perhaps Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Best Supporting Actor win for Nocturnal Animals shouldn’t have been a surprise—the Hollywood Foreign Press clearly enjoyed the movie, handing it three nominations including Best Director and Screenplay to Tom Ford. Still, Taylor-Johnson has largely been off the radar this awards season—his part is somewhat small and esoteric in the film, which got mixed reviews and made little impact at the box office. Aside from tonight’s Golden Globe, the only other trophy Taylor-Johnson has gotten this year is the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s “Virtuoso Award.”
The two Best Supporting Actor frontrunners were thought to be Mahershala Ali, who has cleaned up with critics associations for his work as Juan in Moonlight, and Jeff Bridges, a beloved veteran who did career-best work in Hell or High Water. Taylor-Johnson is still seen as having only an outside shot at even grabbing an Oscar nomination, but he got his moment in the sun tonight, directing most of his speech to his wife Sam Taylor-Johnson, who directed him in the 2009 film Nowhere Boy, and their four children.
Jimmy Fallon Compares Donald Trump to King Joffrey
The most controversial thing about Golden Globes host Jimmy Fallon has, historically, been in how uncontroversial he is. The SNL alum and Tonight Show host’s friendliness is legend—but when that friendliness extended to Donald Trump in September, his ruffling of the then-candidate’s hair ruffled some viewers who wondered why he hadn’t asked any tough questions.
He brought a bit more political bite to his show-opening monologue tonight. “This is the Golden Globes, one of the few places left where America still honors the popular vote,” he said early on.
Then he turned his attention to Game of Thrones. “A lot of people have wondered what it would have been like if King Joffrey had lived,” he said, referring to a vindictive school-age tyrant who once served as the show’s big villain. “Well, in 12 days we’re going to find out.”
And the firm that tabulates the Globes votes? “Ernst and Young, and Putin.”
Those quips didn’t quite pierce the typical Fallon aura of affability and awkwardness, though. The night started with a chipper pre-taped musical number that flaunted the Hollywood Foreign Press’s rolodex by enlisting many of the year’s acting nominees (highlight: Eleven from Stranger Things rapping), climaxing with Fallon and Justin Timberlake partnering for a La La Land-esque reverie. Then Fallon took the stage to a supposedly malfunctioning teleprompter; if his ensuing clumsiness—“cut to Justin Timberlake, please!”—was meant to be a joke about Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve debacle, he should have thrown in a “It just doesn’t get any better” or something.
Once he began his monologue in earnest, he made the strange choice to impersonate Chris Rock at length. The bit seemingly existed just to deliver a punchline about The People vs. O.J. Simpson nominees not being able to thank Simpson himself in their acceptance speeches. The joke wasn’t all that edgy—but apparently Fallon still felt he had to deliver it in the voice of an edgier comedian than himself.
With Jimmy Fallon behind the podium as this year’s host, the Globes promises to be a more Hollywood-friendly affair (last year’s host Ricky Gervais was perhaps too focused on mocking the inflated egos in the room). Still, the awards can be hard to predict because of the nebulous nature of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which decides on the winners.
The 90-member group votes on the best cinema and television of the year, bifurcating the former into comedies and dramas and the latter into comedies, dramas, and miniseries/TV movies. The film awards can be particularly crucial in setting the narrative for the Oscar race ahead (the Academy Award nominations are announced later this month): A publicity-grabbing speech, or shocking victory, can help catapult an actor or movie into frontrunner status. On the TV side, the Globes are less good at predicting the Emmys (which aren’t given out until September), but the Hollywood Foreign Press tends to gravitate toward new shows, so nominees like Westworld, The Crown, and Atlanta could do well.
For the best-drama category, the race seems to have come down to Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea, two critical favorites that are hotly tipped for Oscar victory. Casey Affleck and Jackie’s Natalie Portman are frontrunners in the lead-acting categories, but neither seems secure—Denzel Washington in Fences, in particular, could begin a run at his third Oscar here. On the comedy side, the musical La La Land is the obvious frontrunner in every category; it’s viewed as the consensus favorite filled with old-fashioned movie magic. Meanwhile, the best-director category—where Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight and Damien Chazelle’s La La Land are both competing—will be the most crucial indicator of which film will see more support as the Oscars draw nearer. (I broke down the nominations in more detail here.)
A controversial video of Catholic students clashing with American Indians appeared to tell a simple truth. A second video called that story into question. But neither shows what truly happened.
In a short, viral videoshared widely since Friday, Catholic high-school students visiting Washington, D.C., from Kentucky for the March for Life appeared to confront, and mock, American Indians who had participated in the Indigenous Peoples March, taking place the same day.
By Saturday, the video had been condensed into a single image: One of the students, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, smiles before an Omaha tribal elder, a confrontation viewers took as an act of aggression by a group of white youths against an indigenous community—and by extension, people of color more broadly. Online, reaction was swift and certain, with legislators, news outlets, and ordinary people denouncing the students and their actions as brazenly racist.
Next time there’s a viral story, I’ll wait for more facts to emerge.
Like many people who spend too much time on Twitter, I watched with indignation Saturday morning as stories began appearing about a confrontation near the Lincoln Memorial between students from Covington Catholic High School and American Indians from the Indigenous Peoples March. The story felt personal to me; I live a few miles from the high school, and my son attends a nearby all-boys Catholic high school. I texted him right away, ready with a lesson on what the students had done wrong.
“They were menacing a man much older than them,” I told him, “and chanting ‘Build the wall!’ And this smirking kid blocked his path and wouldn’t let him leave.” The short video, the subject of at least two-thirds of my Twitter feed on Saturday, made me cringe, and the smirking kid in particular got to me: His smugness, radiating from under that red MAGA hat, was everything I wanted my teenagers not to be.
How Fyre Fraud and Tidying Up With Marie Kondo capture a precarious cultural moment
The fifth episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, Netflix’s effervescent new reality series, deals with Frank and Matt, a couple living in West Hollywood, California. Both writers, they have a touching love story involving Tinder, a too-small apartment filled with detritus from past roommates, and a burning desire to prove their adulting bona fides. They are, in short, the archetypal Millennial couple. The dramatic hook of the episode is that Frank’s parents are coming to visit for the first time, and Frank wants to impress them, to make them see “that the life we’ve created together is something to be admired.”
Frank and Matt, in other words, want their home to reflect their identities and sense of self (as opposed to the cutlery preferences of the people Matt lived with after college). They’ve internalized the idea that the signifiers of success are primarily visual. “I don’t know that I’ve given [my parents] any reason to respect me as an adult,” Frank agonizes at one point, which is absurd, given his apparently successful career and adorable relationship. “I’m organized in some aspects of my life. Like, professionally, my email inbox is organized, I’m great. And I just get frustrated with myself that I haven’t translated that into my home life. It feels like I give it all at work and then I come home and am like, pmph.” He makes a gesture like a deflated balloon.
Insights into the little-studied realm of last words
Mort Felix liked to say that his name, when read as two Latin words, meant “happy death.” When he was sick with the flu, he used to jokingly remind his wife, Susan, that he wanted Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” played at his deathbed. But when his life’s end arrived at the age of 77, he lay in his study in his Berkeley, California, home, his body besieged by cancer and his consciousness cradled in morphine, uninterested in music and refusing food as he dwindled away over three weeks in 2012. “Enough,” he told Susan. “Thank you, and I love you, and enough.” When she came downstairs the next morning, she found Felix dead.
During those three weeks, Felix had talked. He was a clinical psychologist who had also spent a lifetime writing poetry, and though his end-of-life speech often didn’t make sense, it seemed to draw from his attention to language. “There’s so much so in sorrow,” he said at one point. “Let me down from here,” he said at another. “I’ve lost my modality.” To the surprise of his family members, the lifelong atheist also began hallucinating angels and complaining about the crowded room—even though no one was there.
Home to vibrantly colored, tiny creatures, the ecosystems floating on the ocean’s surface remain all but unknown.
Imagine you’re on a small boat in the middle of the open ocean, surrounded by what looks like a raft of plastic. Now flip the whole world upside down. You remain comfortably attached to your seat—the abyss towers above you, and all around, stretching up from the water’s surface, is an electric-blue meadow of life. What you thought was plastic is actually a living island. This meadow is made up of a diverse collection of animals. The most abundant are blue buttons and by-the-wind sailors, with bright-blue bodies that dot the sky like suns, and deep-purple snails found in patches so dense one scientist described collecting more than 1,000 in 20 minutes.
This is the neuston, a whole ecosystem living at the ocean’s surface. I once stumbled upon a raft of neuston when a storm blew it ashore in California. Many neustonic animals are vibrant highlighter colors, and the sand was saturated in bright blues and pale pinks. Together, these small creatures may function like upside-down coral reefs: an oasis of shelter and life far out to sea. As far back as the Cold War era, scientists were describing these colorful and important ecosystems, yet they still remain all but unknown. But now, as efforts to clean the ocean of plastic start up, our ignorance is putting this ecosystem at risk.
From West Virginia to Los Angeles, educators are ushering in a new era of labor activism.
In Los Angeles, more than 30,000 teachers remain on strike; it took union and city officials more than a week to eke out a tentative agreement that, they announced Tuesday morning, will likely bring them back to their classrooms this week. Last Friday, teachers from a handful of public schools in Oakland, California, staged a one-day walkout, too, and they’re planning for another demonstration this Wednesday. Meanwhile, a citywide strike is brewing a few states over in Denver, as could soon be the case in Virginia, where teachers are gearing up for a one-day rally in Richmond later this month. An educator uprising is even percolating in Chicago, where the collective-bargaining process is just getting started: “We intend to bargain hard,” the teachers’ union’s president told the Chicago Tribune last week.
The 2020 candidate is pitching herself as the one who can actually put together a winning coalition of voters, a goal Democrats have obsessed over since their shocker loss in 2016.
Kamala Harris is a half-Jamaican, half-Indian woman from Oakland, California, the daughter of two UC Berkeley grad students. She went to high school in Montreal. She married a wealthy, white, Jewish lawyer later in life, and didn’t have kids of her own. When she’s not in Washington, she splits her time between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Her first name is Sanskrit and gets mispronounced all the time. She was being mentioned as a front-runner presidential candidate before she’d even headed over to her Senate victory party, all of two years and two months ago.
She is not, by biographical measures, representative of what most would see as the typical American experience. But Harris launched her presidential campaign Monday with a challenge to the rest of the field that—as she put it to me at the press conference she held in the afternoon in the lobby of the Interdisciplinary Research Building at her alma mater, Howard University—candidates who want to win have to speak to “the complexities of each of our lives, and pay equal attention to their needs.”
Once again, Trump tried and failed to strike a deal on Saturday.
President Donald Trump is trapped. He shut the government to impose his will on the incoming Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. That plan has miserably failed. Instead, Trump has found himself caught in the trap he supposed he had set for his opponents.
Now he is desperately seeking an exit.
Trump attempted Exit One on January 8.He spoke that evening to the nation from the Oval Office, hoping to mobilize public opinion behind him, pressing the Democratic leadership of the House to yield to him. That hope was miserably disappointed. Surveys post-speech found that Trump had swayed only 2 percent of TV viewers. In the 10 days since the speech, Trump’s approval ratings have dipped to about the lowest point in his presidency. The supposedly solid Trump base has measurably softened.
Starting the process will rein in a president who is undermining American ideals—and bring the debate about his fitness for office into Congress, where it belongs.
On January 20, 2017,Donald Trump stood on the steps of the Capitol, raised his right hand, and solemnly swore to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. He has not kept that promise.
Instead, he has mounted a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law, and to the civil liberties enshrined in our founding documents. He has purposefully inflamed America’s divisions. He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us—of every race, gender, and creed—are created equal.
I am familiar with the ambiguities of video evidence—for example, through this piece I wrote from Israel more than 15 years ago, “Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura,” about the battle over the meaning of an inflammatory video there; or these two separate Twitter threads, first here then here, in the past few days from James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor for America magazine, about the meanings of the multiple videos from the confrontation on the National Mall this past weekend.
I now believe that the “meaning” or “truth” of this recent encounter is likely to remain as contested as anything in the al-Dura case. The more additional evidence comes in, the more clearly it is taken to “prove” one interpretation of the case, or its opposite. “You must not have seen the full videos” is meant to be a conclusory statement, either way.