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.)
The legend of the Confederate leader’s heroism and decency is based in the fiction of a person who never existed.
The strangest part about the continued personality cult of Robert E. Lee is how few of the qualities his admirers profess to see in him he actually possessed.
Memorial Day has the tendency to conjure up old arguments about the Civil War. That’s understandable; it was created to mourn the dead of a war in which the Union was nearly destroyed, when half the country rose up in rebellion in defense of slavery. This year, the removal of Lee’s statue in New Orleans has inspired a new round of commentary about Lee, not to mention protests on his behalf by white supremacists.
The myth of Lee goes something like this: He was a brilliant strategist and devoted Christian man who abhorred slavery and labored tirelessly after the war to bring the country back together.
If the president is concerned about violence on the left, he can start by fighting the white supremacist movements whose growth has fueled its rise.
In his Tuesday press conference, Donald Trump talked at length about what he called “the alt left.” White supremacists, he claimed, weren’t the only people in Charlottesville last weekend that deserved condemnation. “You had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he declared. “Nobody wants to say that.”
I can say with great confidence that Trump’s final sentence is untrue. I can do so because the September issue of TheAtlantic contains an essay of mine entitled “The Rise of the Violent Left,” which discusses the very phenomenon that Trump claims “nobody wants” to discuss. Trump is right that, in Charlottesville and beyond, the violence of some leftist activists constitutes a real problem. Where he’s wrong is in suggesting that it’s a problem in any way comparable to white supremacism.
The scientists are all talking like it’s a sure thing.
On August 21, the “moon” will pass between the Earth and the sun, obscuring the light of the latter. The government agency NASA says this will result in “one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights.” The astronomers there claim to have calculated down to the minute exactly when and where this will happen, and for how long. They have reportedly known about this eclipse for years, just by virtue of some sort of complex math.
This seems extremely unlikely. I can’t even find these eclipse calculations on their website to check them for myself.
Meanwhile the scientists tell us we can’t look at it without special glasses because “looking directly at the sun is unsafe.”
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”
Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”
Charlottesville marks a new era of even bolder assertion of the right to threaten violence for political purposes.
It could have been so much worse.
Like ISIS attackers in Europe, the Charlottesville murderer used a car as his assault weapon. But Charlottesville this past weekend was crammed with anti-social personalities carrying sub-military firearms. It could just as easily have been one—or more—of those gun-carriers who made the decision to kill. If so, Americans might this week be mourning not one life lost to an attack, but dozens.
As recently as 2009, the nation retained a capacity to be shocked when individuals carried weapons to political events. Such was the case in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 18, 2009:
A man toting an assault rifle was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside President Obama's speech to veterans on Monday, but no laws were broken. It was the second instance in recent days in which weapons have been seen near presidential events.
Antifa’s activists say they’re battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead?
Since 1907, Portland, Oregon, has hosted an annual Rose Festival. Since 2007, the festival had included a parade down 82nd Avenue. Since 2013, the Republican Party of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, had taken part. This April, all of that changed.
In the days leading up to the planned parade, a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.” The alliance said it didn’t object to the Multnomah GOP itself, but to “fascists” who planned to infiltrate its ranks. Yet it also denounced marchers with “Trump flags” and “red maga hats” who could “normalize support for an orange man who bragged about sexually harassing women and who is waging a war of hate, racism and prejudice.” A second group, Oregon Students Empowered, created a Facebook page called “Shut down fascism! No nazis in Portland!”
Anti-Semitic logic fueled the violence over the weekend, no matter what the president says.
The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was ostensibly about protecting a statue of Robert E. Lee. It was about asserting the legitimacy of “white culture” and white supremacy, and defending the legacy of the Confederacy.
So why did the demonstrators chant anti-Semitic lines like “Jews will not replace us”?
The demonstration was suffused with anti-black racism, but also with anti-Semitism. Marchers displayed swastikas on banners and shouted slogans like “blood and soil,” a phrase drawn from Nazi ideology. “This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal niggers,” one demonstrator told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve during their march. As Jews prayed at a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, men dressed in fatigues carrying semi-automatic rifles stood across the street, according to the temple’s president. Nazi websites posted a call to burn their building. As a precautionary measure, congregants had removed their Torah scrolls and exited through the back of the building when they were done praying.
The House resolution faults the president for failing to adequately condemn white supremacists “and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism.”
When Donald Trump failed to single out and denounce Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and their allies Sunday, even after they marched by torchlight through an American city, where one among them ran down an anti-racist protester, I noted the historic failure of presidential leadership—a failure underscored by the praise that white supremacist leaders heaped on his approach—and called on Congress to step into the breach, reasserting the nation’s conscience by censuring the president.
In the days that followed, Trump buckled to widespread pressure to single out the white-supremacist groups, naming them in a statement that he read from a teleprompter. But he subsequently declared, in a combative, unscripted press conference Tuesday, that there were some good people on both sides of the Charlottesville protest, implying that good people marched alongside swastikas and KKK members.
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
When did America become untethered from reality?
I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush’s political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in “the reality-based community,” he told a reporter, “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” A year later, The Colbert Report went on the air. In the first few minutes of the first episode, Stephen Colbert, playing his right-wing-populist commentator character, performed a feature called “The Word.” His first selection: truthiness. “Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books.
If you want to see where the language is going, you find a young, urban woman.
When I taught linguistics to undergraduates, I would start each semester off by asking students what sort of assumptions they would they make about a speaker who said, "I ain't got no money." The responses were always similar—"ignorant," "uneducated," "stupid." If I pressed, one brave student would eventually come forward and say "African American."
After writing up the list of associations on the board, I'd point out that for nearly a thousand years, double negation was standard in English. "I ne saugh nawiht" in Middle English; "I don't see anything" in Modern English. Today, one can find it in French, which negates verbs by affixing the particles ne and pas to either side of the verb, as well as in Afrikaans, Greek, and a number of Slavic languages. The point: There is nothing inherently "ignorant" or "stupid" about double negation; judgments about speech are judgments about the speakers themselves.