BAFTA and Golden Globes offers a new perspective on the future of modern cinema
- Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
As the film industry’s awards season gets under way, Arts editor Andrew Clarke believes that the Time’s Up campaign has provided a sharp reality check in the world of make believe
It was no surprise that this year’s Golden Globes ceremony was always going to be about more than the films and television it was designed to honour. It was the first big awards ceremony of the season and it was the first time that Hollywood could express its horror and outrage at the reports of sexual misconduct that have been levelled at some of the most senior figures in the industry.
The vast majority of women attending the awards ceremony wore black as a sign of solidarity to the women who had been abused with many adding a ‘Time’s Up’ brooch just to make the point really clear. Many men also wore black and also wore a ‘Time’s Up’ badge as a gesture of support.
Producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey, among others, have been ostracised from the Hollywood community – Weinstein was fired by his own brother from the award-winning company that he helped found and Spacey was removed from the hit TV series House of Cards and was excised from Ridley Scott’s latest high profile thriller All The Money in the World. Spacey was playing the billionaire John Paul Getty and had his scenes reshot at short notice by Christopher Plummer.
Fittingly, the focus of the evening was on the creative talent demonstrated by female actors, writers and producers. But, as Natalie Portman, pointed out, it was shocking that not a single woman merited a nomination in the Best Director category.
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Oprah Winfrey, who was awarded the prestigious Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, set the tone of the evening with a blistering speech about the need for respect, racial equality, social justice and the need to stamp out sexual abuse.
In terms of the news coverage this is what the event was all about. But, traditionally The Golden Globes, held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is about rewarding the most innovative and creative film and television of the previous year.
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It’s the first indicator we have of what is likely to be in the running for The Oscars later in the spring but for the first time in living memory no-one was really talking about winners and losers but rather that we have just witnessed the beginnings of real change in the film industry.
The allegations of wrong-doing have been so wide-spread and the reactions so strong that it is clear that real change has to come – that work practises both in the film industry and in the world at large have to be seen to be free from any form of impropriety.
It’s the social equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down. The #MeToo/ Time’s Up campaigns which sprang up in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations have proved to be a powerful force for change.
Female actors will no longer feel that they have to suffer in silence and male colleagues, who previously may have felt pressurised to stay silent, have now been given permission to speak out and support co-stars.
And, it is fitting that the work which was honoured also, by and large, reflected female concerns or shone a spotlight on female talent. In the TV categories Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies starting Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon were the big winners.
But, what of the potential Oscar winners? Were the awards even handed out? It was difficult to know this considering most TV news failed to mention any of the winners at all. Women have been fighting to be taken seriously in the work place, wanting to have equal creative freedom to men, so it is only fitting that the awards should not be forgotten.
The big winner was Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy-drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri which picked up four awards and is clearly the movie to beat at The Oscars. The film about a mother seeking justice for the murder of her daughter picked up four major prizes from six nominations including best picture (drama), best actress for Frances McDormand, best actor for Sam Rockwell and best screenplay for London-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh.
Its main competition is likely to come from New York-based indie darling Greta Gerwig and her directorial debut Lady Bird which took the best film (comedy/musical) prize, as well as the best actress (comedy/musical) award for Saoirse Ronan.
An unrecognisable Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill, in the Darkest Hour, triumphed over favourite Daniel Day Lewis in The Phantom Thread to carry off the best actor prize which now makes him the front runner for The Oscar on March 4.
These nominees and award-winners are also in the running for all the major BAFTA awards which will be staged on February 18
The big loser was Steven Spielberg’s big free speech, historical drama The Post, celebrating the need for an active, fearless press which came away empty handed despite six nominations. The Post, which stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, failed to land any BAFTA nominations at all.
Guillermo Del Toro’s horror/romance The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins, is leading the BAFTA pack with a total of 12 nominations
But, the biggest winners were the women in all branches of the film industry because this year’s Golden Globes demonstrates that the tide has turned for good.