Erin Graham ’19/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The 2017 Golden Globes began with an homage to 2016’s beloved La La Land as host Jimmy Fallon danced between parked cars with Stormtroopers, the quadruplet from the new cult hit Stranger Things, and took jabs at shows and movies that electrified theaters and screens in the past year.
A broken teleprompter at the outset was strangely prophetic; Fallon scrambled to fill the silence with jittery jokes in the same manner that multiple presenters would make strained gags about mispronouncing words. Some presenters slowed down momentum with pandering jokes about age, like Amy Schumer trying to help Goldie Hawn read the script to no avail. Sofia Vergara resorted to dumbed down jokes about reading the word ‘annual’ wrong and the crowd almost seemed to heave a tired sigh all at once.
Yet even amongst predictable winners, endless questioning of women’s sense of style, and tepid speeches, many moments soared: Viola Davis’ speech in praise of women of color, Tom Hiddleston’s call to aid war-torn countries, Donald Glover’s successes as he presses toward a promising future. The Best Actress—Drama award celebrated a French actress. The tribute to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds was sweet and celebratory albeit very short, but left the audience wanting. It was curiously the only tribute to artists who have passed.
But it was difficult for any moment to step out from the shadow that Meryl Streep’s award cast over all. Viola Davis’ poetic tribute to the cherished actress was funny, moving, and unique. After a stream of praise she paused for a moment and then said with great reverence, “You taught me that what I have within me, my body…is enough.” It would have contended against Streep’s speech for best speech of the night, if there was such an award. Streep wove together a narrative of hope and respect as she celebrated the diversity of artists in the face of new leadership. She encouraged empathy above all, even with a broken heart. In tears she delivered a final tribute to “her friend Princess Leia” and left the stage with glowing applause.
While Moonlight won Best Drama, it lost at every other turn to La La Land, winner of Best Musical or Comedy. The Golden Globes are infamous for their arbitrary and often comedic lines drawn between the “best” films of the year; iconically, as Matt Damon reminded us this year, The Martian won for Best Comedy in 2016 because of a few hasty potato jokes. The Globes may argue that this dichotomy is what allowed both masterpieces La La Land and Moonlight to win, but it was more of a hindrance, because these categories aren’t constant throughout the show. There is no binary in the best supporting actress, actor, song, screenplay, or director categories. So while both won Best Picture because of separate categories, La La Land left as an immense winner and Moonlight as a modest one. Perhaps the Oscars is smarter for its more homogenous categories, or perhaps there should be a different approach to award shows entirely.
Whether the Globes sticks to its antiquated ways too much or not, the opening number was an optimistic homage not to the romanticized Hollywood featured in La La Land’s first half, but to the quiet and hopeful victories of its future: diversity of artists, different talents in harmony, upbeat and colorful dances, everyone working together to bring Hollywood to life, and the hope of the dreamers, foolish as they may seem. And even if we don’t have all of that now, even if we’re all just Ryan Goslings sitting at a piano with a sad feeling, Carrie Fisher reminds us to take a broken heart, and turn it into art.
So even though her death brought us broken hearts, it will also bring us masterpieces.