For a show that started with a red carpet-and-limo ode to “La La Land’s” traffic-jam musical opening, the 74th Golden Globes on Sunday weren’t always the most seamlessly choreographed affair. NBC red carpet interviewer Jenna Bush Hager mistakenly kicked off a meme-storm when she asked nominated composer Pharrell Williams about his film “Hidden Fences,” a malapropism combining “Hidden Figures” and “Fences” that somehow reared up again with presenter Michael Keaton. The teleprompter didn’t cooperate at the start of Jimmy Fallon’s monologue, which flummoxed the host. And a bit in which Goldie Hawn pretended to forget her glasses and misread everything on the teleprompter while presenting with Amy Schumer landed with something of a thud.
But none of that could diminish the glamour of a night out in Beverly Hills, where the dresses were flowing (as well as the Champagne), and in a marked shift from last year’s Oscars, many of the winners were people of color.
“Wow, there are so many beautiful dresses here this year,” Tracee Ellis Ross said on the red carpet. “Look at all this gorgeousness, these women!” Ellis said she was especially excited for the women’s march later this month in Washington, D.C. “I wish I could be there but I can’t due to scheduling conflicts,” she said before winning for her role on “black-ish.” “But just the idea that so many women getting to express ourselves, our power, on that scale is a beautiful thing for the world.”
Backstage after her win, Ellis reflected on the moment. “My shoulders got a little heavy [with this win], and I got a little taller at the same time. To see the industry look outside of where they [normally] look is very special to me. Our industry needs to be at the forefront of making sure the diversity of our stories is told. And that doesn’t just mean people of color.”
Viola Davis is no stranger to the Globes’ nominee list. This year, however, she is now a winner, taking home the supporting actress award for “Fences.” And it couldn’t be a better role to make this moment happen, she said. All thanks goes to August Wilson, the playwright who wrote the stage production and the screen adaptation (in 2005 before his death).
“Very seldom does the average person get their due, especially with people of color,” she said, noting that most black stories that make the big screen are biopics. “It’s always someone who did something tremendous in life that changes… our country. But I also like the stories of the smaller people. I think it encapsulates [us all] and is universal and inclusive. That’s what August did.”
More than 20 years after the trial of the century, “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” illustrates that the nation’s obsession with the Simpson trial hasn’t gone away.
The FX drama follows the trial of O.J. Simpson, who faced charges that he killed ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Sterling K. Brown, who starred as prosecutor Christopher Darden, didn’t find it surprising that the series managed to strike a chord after all these years.
“The show is more relevant than what it should be,” Brown said backstage. “You’d think in 20 years time, things would progress,” Brown added, referring to cases of police brutality, “but look at what’s happening right now.”
Donald Glover is a dreamer. He’s always known this, but he was slapped in the face with this idea almost two years ago. At his mother’s home, he stumbled on a letter he had written his brother while he was in college. The letter referenced a dream he had had about the two writing a TV show together. That show would become “Atlanta,” which won the comedy series Globe on Sunday and for which Glover won actor in a TV comedy.
“It’s been in my head a long time,” he said, “so I do believe in magic and dreams.”
And with his dream now come true, all the recognition the show is receiving is unbelievable, he said. All he hoped was that the people in Atlanta would like the series.
Mission accomplished, surely. And his initial instincts, “to pull back” when people had high expectations for the show before its premiere, paid off. “My instinct is to under-promise, over-deliver.”
As the night went on, it seemed as if Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” was going to get shut out, especially after Mahershala Ali didn’t win supporting actor (“Nocturnal Animals’” Aaron Taylor-Johnson won instead) and “La La Land” cruised to win all seven of Golden Globes it was nominated for.
On the red carpet, Jenkins looked on the sunny side: “I see this film’s reception as optimism. I see it as a sign that we should tell the truth, our stories, more often and more consistently. They say black films don’t travel, but look at this.”
But “Moonlight” did eventually triumph, winning the drama film prize. “The whole point of this film for Tarell [Alvin McCraney, the playwright] and I was to tell a very truthful story about how we grow up,” Jenkins said, noting that Miami itself was a key character.
And though Hollywood loves saying that the universal story is one that is truly specific, Jenkins didn’t focus on universality. “It was about getting it right,” he said. “And speaking truth to power.”