Moonlight, Donald Glover, Viola Davis and Tracee Ellis Ross win Golden Globes

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

The 74th Golden Globe Awards honored the best in film and American television of 2016 and was broadcast live on Sunday, January 8, 2017 from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California by NBC. The ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, was produced by Dick Clark Productions in association with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The Golden Globe Award for Best Picture – Drama went to Moonlight, written and directed by Barry Jenkins, based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The film, starring Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali, tells the tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.

Tracee Ellis Ross won Best Actress in a Television Series Comedy or Musical for the ABC sitcom “Black-ish”. Donald Glover won 2 Golden Globes, an individual one for Best Actor and Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy for his show Atlanta.

Viola Davis was Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Musical or Comedy for Fences. Davis and Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award winner Meryl Streep stole the show midway through. After a brilliant introduction by her dear friend Viola Davis, honoree Meryl Streep used her acceptance speech to criticise, without stating names, President-elect Donald Trump’s imitation of the disabled New York Times journalist, Serge F. Kovaleski, stating: “Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When powerful people use their position to bully we all lose.” On the subject of diversity in Hollywood, Streep said, “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick us all out, you’ll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts.”

La La Land won all seven awards for which it had been nominated, including Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Elle won both awards for which it had been nominated. Television shows The Night Manager, Atlanta, The Crown and The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story received multiple awards.

In Viola Davis’s heartfelt Introduction of Streep, she said, “Her artistry reminds us of the impact of what it means to be an artist, which is to make us feel less alone. I can only imagine where you go, Meryl, when you disappear into a character. I imagine that you are in them, patiently waiting, using yourself as a conduit, encouraging them, coaxing them to release all their mess, confess, expose, to live. You are a muse. Your impact encouraged me to stay in the line, Dame Streep. I see you. I see you….You make me proud to be an artist. You make me feel that what I have in me — my body, my face, my age — is enough.”

Meryl Streep’s spectacular Golden Globes speech:

Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please sit down. Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year. So I have to read.

Thank you, Hollywood foreign press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press. But who are we? And, you know, what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places.

I was born and raised and created in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, and grew up in Central falls, Long Island. Sarah Paulson was raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Italy. Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Ethiopia, raised in — no, in Ireland, I do believe. And she’s here nominated for playing a small town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania.

Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts. They gave me three seconds to say this. An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, passionate work.

There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.

And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we’re going to need them going forward. And they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing. Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, “Take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.”