Monday, January 8, 2018 at 6:44 AM

The Golden Globes (Oprah and MeToo)

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Forget who wore, said, or won what. This show was all about #MeToo and Oprah, fool!

In late December, rumors began circulating that the Golden Globes red carpet would be experiencing a blackout: Many stars were banding together in search of all-black dresses and outfits to make a statement against the epidemic of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond.

At first, there were just hints here and there on social media, but buzz began to build, and on Jan. 2, it was revealed in the New York Times that the coordinated wardrobe effort was part of a bigger, organized campaign called Time’s Up.

(People, January 7, 2018)

Time’s Up is an evolution of the #MeToo … moment. This slogan and the black dresses are meant to signal the day of reckoning for sexual harassers in Hollywood. But I fear they will force no greater reckoning than #BringBackOurGirls did for kidnappers of schoolgirls in Africa. Remember that moment?

Nothing justifies my cynicism quite like this:

Three months to the day after the New York Times first published its detailed exposé alleging decades of sexual harassment and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein, a female producer, agent, actress, and a showrunner all told Deadline they fear a backlash against women who initiate allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault against A-list men — especially at the studios, networks and uber-agencies.

Indicative of that fear and despite the rising #MeToo movement, each woman in the quartet would only speak anonymously about the matter.

‘Hollywood’s a boys’ town and they will do what they have to do to keep their power, even if that means paying lip service for a while to stamping out misogyny,’ the award-winning showrunner tells Deadline.

(Deadline Hollywood, January 5, 2018)

So, yeah, A-list women will be fine — as they’ve always been. After all, sexual predators only prey on starry-eyed ingénues and desperately seeking B-list women (and men).

Meanwhile, apropos of “beyond,” titans in Silicon Valley make honchos in Hollywood look like choir boys when it comes to the festering antics of misogyny. I refer you to Emily Chang’s “‘Oh My God, This Is So F**ked Up’: Inside Silicon Valley’s Secretive, Orgiastic Dark Side,” Vanity Fair, January 2, 2018. But here’s a teaser:

The sexual harassment women face on the proverbial casting couch in Hollywood pales in comparison to the sexual harassment women face while interviewing for start-up jobs (or venture capital) in Silicon Valley. Even worse, the prevailing sense of entitlement among nouveau-riche geeks is such that the sexual culture in the Valley rivals the dystopian one depicted in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

In any event, last night’s show featured host Seth Myers and everyone else trying to say something worthy of the moment. No doubt each was hoping to emulate the moving speech Meryl Streep gave at last year’s Golden Globes, during which she cauterized metastasizing angst from the shock election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

Never mind the irony that it was none other than Streep who paid this now-cringeworthy tribute to Weinstein at this very show six years ago:

I just wanna thank my agent Kevin Huvane and God, Harvey Weinstein.

(, January 16, 2012)

That she said this is as much an indication of how far Weinstein has fallen from grace as it is an indictment of how much even Streep was beholden to him. Sure enough, he moved heaven and earth in the weeks following that show to help Streep win her third Oscar for her starring role in The Iron Lady – a film he produced.

Incidentally, if everyone thought he was God, is it any wonder Weinstein thought he could do no wrong, especially when it came to having his way with starlets?

That said, I feel constrained to share this about the Oscars, which now applies to all awards shows:

I have little regard for preening, pampered poseurs showing off their borrowed frocks and bling-bling as a prelude to a [nearly four-hour] show — only six minutes of which anyone really cares about (i.e., the time it takes to present Oscars for actor and actress in a leading role, actor and actress in a supporting role, best director, and best picture). …

And, remarkably enough, the host comedians do little to relieve the boredom of the interludes between these carefully spread-out moments.

(“My Review of the 2008 Oscars,” The iPINIONS Journal, February 25, 2008)

So here’s the only reason I tuned in to this one:

Media icon Oprah Winfrey is set to be feted at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

She will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award, which is given ‘to a talented individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.’

Past honorees include Barbra Streisand, Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, George Clooney, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Steven Spielberg.

(CNN, December 14, 2017)

We all know Oprah well enough to suffice to say she did not disappoint. As the New York Times reports today, she delivered

A gorgeous speech about how a yesterday of discrimination becomes a tomorrow of hope: one of the best routes, she noted, are role models. She recalled what it meant to her, when she was younger, to see Sidney Poitier receive Hollywood’s highest accolades. And she wondered aloud what it might mean for little girls Sunday night to see her getting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.

Mind you, I don’t know what “incredible impact on the world of entertainment” makes her deserving of this award. Granted, she has given some critically acclaimed performances (e.g., in The Color Purple, Beloved, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). She has also produced some box-office hits (e.g., Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious, and Selma).

But she has never given a Globe-winning performance, let alone an Oscar-winning one, like Barbra or Denzel. Nor has she ever directed or produced a Globe-winning movie, let alone an Oscar-winning one, like Spielberg or Scorsese.

In fact, she has had an incredible impact not on the world of entertainment, but on the world of ordinary people. To be fair, she always says that her signature medium, The Oprah Winfrey Show, was all about helping people find their calling, purpose, authentic selves … to follow their bliss. In a similar vein, her Master Classes and “The Life You Want” seminars do more to educate and empower (women especially) than entertain.

[There] is a commonality in human experience. … Our shows are hour-long life lessons. My mission is to use this position, power and money to create opportunities for other people.

(TIME, June 24, 2001)

Sure enough, she has created opportunities for countless people through her various charities. Most notable are the college scholarships she funds in America every year and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls she founded in South Africa in 2007.

Clearly, her greatest accomplishments have little to do with the world of entertainment. But, given recent revelations about the seedy underbelly of that world, one can hardly blame its bestowers of awards for wanting to hail Oprah as their standard bearer.

More to the point, I am happy to cheer any recognition Oprah gets for all the good she has done, and continues to do.

Which brings me to Oprah for president?

I say yes! Not least because the only redeeming thing about the election of Donald Trump is that it makes the election of Oprah Winfrey a no-brainer.

Except that she and Gayle (and Stedman) would have some ‘splainin’ to do (i.e., about being their authentic selves). I commented on this prohibitive spectre of hypocrisy in “Oprah Protests ‘I’m Not Gay’ (Too Much, Me Thinks),” July 19, 2006. This is why, as tempted as she might be, I don’t think she’s going to run.

But nobody can deny that Stedman has been as impressive a consort to Oprah as Prince Philip has been to Queen Elizabeth II.

Moreover, I cannot resist noting the prospect of Oprah providing even greater redemption for America after Trump than Obama provided after Bush. Alas, this racial symmetry would constitute just another way of blacks cleaning up after whites the way they have done throughout American history.

Hail, Oprah!

NOTE: Not for nothing, Oprah, but that Weight Watchers gig is working, girl!

Related commentaries:
Sexual harassment in entertainment
Oprah ‘I’m not gay’

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