Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has set itself up as the film to beat this Awards Season, winning four Golden Globes in the six categories it was contesting at a Beverly Hills ceremony, overshadowed by the sexual harassment scandal engulfing Hollywood, with the vast majority of the women eschewing colourful gowns for black, in solidarity with victims.
Whether by luck or design, every film and TV production to win its category told a female-led story, often about women fighting against oppression, whether domestic or state-sanctioned.
Three Billboards was named the best drama film – the Globes equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar – with Frances McDormand being named the best actress in a drama, Sam Rockwell pipping Christopher Plummer and Willem Dafoe to the best supporting actor award and the film’s British director Martin McDonagh winning the screenplay prize. Accepting her award, McDormand said, “It was really great to be in this room tonight and to be part of a tectonic shift in our industry’s power struggle.”
McDonagh missed out in the best director category to Guillermo del Toro, for The Shape of Water, with the actress Natalie Portman, who was presenting the award, pointedly observing that all five nominees were men. Del Toro’s film, another Awards Season front-runner, also picked up the prize for the best original score, for composer Alexandre Desplat.
Actress Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut Lady Bird also picked up two awards, the best film in the musical or comedy category and the corresponding best actress honour for Saoirse Ronan. Like Three Billboards, it’s very much a female-led project.
In the other acting awards, Gary Oldman was named the best actor in a drama for playing Sir Winston Churchill in the Second World War film Darkest Hour. James Franco invited the infamous The Room director Tommy Wiseau onto the stage when he collected his Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy, for The Disaster Artist. And Allison Janney won the best supporting actress prize for I, Tonya.
With Coco being named the best animated feature, perhaps the only real surprise among the film categories was the best foreign language film going to the German film In The Fade, over the Russian drama Loveless and Sweden’s Palme d’Or winner The Square, which have been stronger in the awards stakes until now.
In the TV categories, the big winner was fittingly another female-led project; the domestic abuse drama Big Little Lies won an unbeaten four awards, including best actress in a Limited TV Series for Nicole Kidman, who was also one of its producers. Collecting her award, she paid tribute to her mainly female co-stars, saying “Wow! The Power of women!” The first winner of the night, she set the pattern that would be followed by many others, alluding to the ongoing controversy by saying “I do believe and I hope we can elicit change by the stories we tell and the way that we tell them.” When her co-star and co-producer Reese Witherspoon accepted the Best Limited TV Series prize, she addressed the crisis more directly. “I want to thank everyone who broke their silence,” she said. “You are so brave. Hopefully shows like this, more will be made, so people out there who are feeling silenced by harassment, discrimination, abuse, time is up. We see you, we hear you and we will tell your stories.”
Other stars also addressed the crisis, with Elisabeth Moss, winning the best actress in a drama series for The Handmaid’s Tale – yet another project featuring women fighting the system – she praised the producers, saying “You two are the kind of men we need more of in this business” and dedicating the award to the author of the book on which the series was based, Margaret Attwood “and all the women who spoke out against injustice.” The show was also named best drama series.
There were also two awards for The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, which was named the best comedy series. Its star, Rachel Brosnahan, won that category’s best actress prize.
But the most memorable speech of the night came from the recipient of the Cecil B De Mille Award – the Golden Globes’ equivalent of a lifetime achievement honour. During a ten minute monologue, with almost no reference to any of her lifetime achievements, Oprah Winfrey noted, “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough, and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the stories. But it’s not just the story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends and culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.” And in a speech, befitting a political campaign rally, she concluded, “I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me Too’ again.”
But aside from the passionate, often rousing anti-abuse monologues, many quoting the name of the new campaign group “Time’s up”, and the women looking as black as the tuxedo-clad men, there was little to make this year’s ceremony itself stand out. Hosted in recent years by Ricky Gervais and the pairing of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, this year’s event lacked the energy they brought to proceedings. The presentation style of chat-show host and TV comic Seth Meyers was more subdued and aside from a handful of one-liners directed at the Weinstein scandal, there were fewer scripted highlights of the show.
Perhaps the only other moment of note were Fargo-star Ewan McGregor, accepting his award for the best actor in a TV drama, thanking both his estranged wife and his co-star, widely understood to be the woman he’d left her for.
And arguably the most heart-warming moment, in line with the HFPA’s habit of providing a surprise guest, was seeing the best screenplay award presented by the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and her 101 year old father-in-law, Kirk Douglas, frail in a wheelchair but effervescent with life.
Here is the full list of winners:
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Best Actor, Motion Picture, Drama
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Best Actress, Motion Picture, Drama
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Actor, Motion Picture, Comedy
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Best Actress, Motion Picture, Comedy
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Original Song
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
Best Animated Feature
Best Foreign Language Film
In the Fade
Best Television Series, Drama
The Handmaid’s Tale
Best Television Series, Comedy
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Best Limited Series or Television Movie
Big Little Lies
Best Actress, Limited Series or Television Movie
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Best Actor, Limited Series or Television Movie
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Best Actress, Television Series, Drama
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Best Actor, Television Series, Drama
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Best Actress, Television Series, Comedy
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Best Actor, Television Series, Comedy
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Best Supporting Actress, Television Series
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Best Supporting Actor, Television Series
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies