Awards season is officially here. The most suspenseful time of year that keeps the most elite and famous on the edge of their seats, surrounded by their most talented peers. From the red carpet to the after parties, I have always been drawn to the glamour of award shows, usually fixated on the one movie I saw that year winning best picture. I’ll be the first to admit that I saw pretty much none of the nominated films this year—my one so far being Little Women—so I don’t present this article to you as one of authority or even necessarily an (accurate) criticism. My personal obsessions aside, I thought that this year’s Golden Globes Awards were nothing groundbreaking, better than mediocre but still, I walked away slightly underwhelmed.
Most award shows have come under great scrutiny in recent years as inclusion continues to be a problem in Hollywood, along with the rest of the world. The film and music industries have acted as safe spaces for people of various races, gender identities and sexual orientations but for some reason when it comes to recognizing the roles played by minorities, the awards do not reflect the many faces in film.
This year I felt that noticeably less dialogue was present regarding these issues, as if the last few years were battle enough on behalf of the talented individuals that are still going unrecognized. The #metoo movement, along with Black Lives Matter, made great strides in calling attention to the gross ingrained tendencies of institutionalized instances of assault and racism. But it felt like this year, although the environment and politics were still heavily spoken on, it was not as effective as it may have been in the past—or it may’ve come across as disingenuous. Or maybe these heavily repeated political qualms just fell on deaf ears this year, because conversely, you can only hear the supremely wealthy talk about the grand changes that we need to be making to society. I appreciate those who use their platform to spread awareness and reframe their privilege for the greater good, but the relatability of these instances is becoming less and less.
As far as inclusivity is concerned in nominations, I think the most telling instance of severe oversight can be seen in the best director category. Everyone nominated for best director was a man, and if you haven’t seen Little Women yet, I can tell you that Greta Gerwig, at least deserved a nomination. Additionally, best screenplay was a fully male-nominated category, which is troubling mainly because not every film made this year was written by a man. Let me reiterate, Greta Gerwig.
In defense of the Hollywood Foreign Press, however, history was made this year when Awkwafina won best actress in a comedy or musical for The Farewell. This was the first award given to a woman of Asian descent in this category, which is noteworthy and important to celebrate.
Ricky Gervais joked about the irony of the rich and famous getting up on stage, award in hand, preaching to the masses about the changes that must be made for progress, whether that be politically, environmentally or otherwise. Before this year’s awards kicked off, I thought that it was nice that people with massive social standing used their platforms to speak to the importance of change. However looking at it more cynically, I can recognize the line between encouragement and preaching, especially when, as Ricky Gervais put it so eloquently, “you’re in no position to lecture the public about anything, you know nothing about the real world.” This was subsequently ignored, but still so funny and relevant.
There was one speech I thought seemed most genuine among the slew of political diatribes. Michelle Williams spoke to the necessity of voting as women, changing the political landscape in our best interest and to resemble us more. She spoke of a woman’s right to choose and her own history with family planning in a way that I found truly genuine and moving. Along with Williams, I thought that Joaquin Phoenix appropriately called on his peers to do better, encouraging them to not charter their private planes jokingly, but also vowing to do better himself. It is that aspect of self-reflection and awareness that I noticed in both of their speeches that I think is missing from others when speaking on politics and current events. It is acknowledging that it also falls on the people in these rooms, calling on themselves and others that have the resources and outlets to really make the most change. If that can be recognized, and actions can actually follow such weighted words, then these speeches will begin to hold true in a nation desperate for progress.
—Emma Jaber, Staff Reporter
The Spectator editorial board consists of Alec Downing, Sophia Wells, Michelle Newblom, Josh Merchant, Frances Divinagracia, Myrea Mora, Jacqueline Lewis, Nicole Golba, Elise Wang, Michael Ollee, Hana Kirchoff, and Joshua Latief. Signed commentaries reflect the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the Spectator. The views expressed in these editorials are not necessarily the views of Seattle University