This Sunday marks the 75th annual Golden Globes, a ceremony known for kicking off awards season and laying the prize groundwork for the BAFTAs, the SAGs, and the Oscars. But this year, the stakes feel different. This is the first major Hollywood awards show since the industry faced an onslaught of sexual assault accusations; beginning in October, exposés published in the New Yorker and The New York Times revealed decades-long misconduct by powerhouse movie exec Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax and the producer behind hits like Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting. Over 80 women made allegations of rape, intimidation, and harassment about Weinstein, including celebs like Salma Hayek, Cara Delevingne, Lena Headey, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Following these revelations, more victims came forward to expose powerful men in the entertainment industry and beyond. Among the many accused of foul behavior in Weinstein’s wake were actors Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, and Danny Masterson; comedian Louis C.K.; radio host Garrison Keillor; and television figures Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer. Most of these men have since lost their jobs or their good names, so it’s an odd time for a show biz celebration. Will Globes attendees get real about the turmoil behind the scenes, or go about their business as usual, posing for glamour shots and gushing through victory speeches?
VIDEO: Stars Black Out Golden Globes Red Carpet In Support of Time's Up
Every awards show begins on the red carpet, a hallowed walkway where superstar fashion is dissected beneath bright lights. But this year, the gowns will likely be monochrome. The reason: On New Year’s Day, a large list of Hollywood women (Shonda Rhimes, Natalie Portman, and Reese Witherspoon among them) unveiled an anti-harassment action plan called Time’s Up, an initiative pledging to address gender equality and sexual harassment, not just in Hollywood but for women in all industries. They’ve already raised a legal defense fund of over $15 million, and suggested everyone walking the Globes carpet should wear black in solidarity and protest.
This year’s host Seth Meyers has his work cut out for him. The SNL alum is likable and non-polarizing, but does Meyers have what it takes to address sexual delinquency in Hollywood in his opening monologue, as promised? The host of NBC’s Late Night, Meyers typically confronts political topics while keeping the tone light. Now he faces a challenge: Honoring the solemnity behind the Weinstein revelations and simultaneously making people laugh. (God knows we all need it.) As friend Amy Poehler told the Times, Meyers is well aware of how some in the audience might greet his monologue as host: “How, today, are you, a white male, talking when nobody cares what you have to say anymore?” The Globes are traditionally more booze-soaked and merry than the Oscars, thus there’s hope some catharsis will be found amid the gloom.
Despite the fact that the awards show will again be fronted by a man, the 2018 Golden Globes are rife with female nominees. HBO’s Big Little Lies has six nominations, a rare feat for a TV series at the Globes. Starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman (both up for Best Actress), the show’s seven-episode arc tells a tale of domestic violence in the ritzy coastal city of Monterey and features a group of women who come together to defeat a nasty patriarch. Hulu’s dystopian series The Handmaid’s Tale, a timely resurrection of the 1985 book about a totalitarian, patriarchal regime, is up for three awards.
More female TV nominees came from FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan (starring Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in complex and meaty roles), Netflix’s The Crown (featuring Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, a lady leader of a country who is pitted against rigid power structures), Glow (about female wrestlers), HBO’s The Deuce (following sex workers in ‘70s New York City), and Amazon’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (helmed by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and illustrating the career of a female comedian), while Game of Thrones, known for its cast of fierce female warriors, was nominated for Best Drama. Up for film accolades is coming-of-age tale Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan; Battle of the Sexes, with Emma Stone and Steve Carell in an athletic gender rivalry; and I, Tonya, the true story of figure skater Tonya Harding, played by Margot Robbie.
Women don’t sweep the board, however. All five Best Director nominees are men. Those fighting for the coveted motion picture award are Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Steven Spielberg (The Post), and Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World). Though Scott’s film was only just released, it made headlines when Christopher Plummer stepped in to replace Kevin Spacey following sexual assault allegations against the latter in October. Scott’s last-minute reshoots to cut Spacey from the project were unprecedented, and if Scott or Plummer win Sunday, the drama could make interesting speech material. Missing in this category are Greta Gerwig, Dee Rees for Mudbound (a moving but underseen Netflix release about racism in World War II-era Mississippi), and Patty Jenkins, whose Wonder Woman was both the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman and the highest-grossing woman-led superhero film ever.
While the Globes’ emphasis on gender representation feels essential in a landscape dominated by recent disclosures of misogyny, racial parity will likely be less of a focus this year (remember #OscarsSoWhite?) White women are central in most of these stories, though exceptions include Issa Rae’s Insecure and Dee Rees’s Mudbound. Further nominations for projects headed by POC went to Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None, ABC’s Black-Ish, and Jordan Peele’s smash hit Get Out, a horror-satire proving that roiling racial tensions are still alive and well in Trump’s America. Speaking of who’s currently in power, Spielberg's The Post is a timely love letter to the press and its responsibility in reporting on political corruption—more important now than ever. Foreign films Call Me By Your Name and The Shape of Water add a more romantic love into the mix; the former about two young men who experience summer magic in the Italian countryside, the latter a fairy tale in which a deaf woman falls for a creature that’s half-man, half-fish. While remembering how men have behaved this past year, the thought of dating a fish doesn’t seem so bad.