These Golden Globes were the first major award ceremony to take place in the post-Donald Trump presidency, but the subject of the former commander in chief wasn’t entirely avoided.
Diversity dominated the discussion all evening, but some of the winners referred to Trump’s false claims to have won the election, which drove his supporters to storm the Capitol last month.
Just a few hours before the Globes started, Trump made his first major speech since leaving office at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, where he once again made unfounded claims of massive electoral fraud.
It was perhaps a bit fitting that among the Globe winners was Sacha Baron Cohen, who last year last year crashed CPAC for a scene in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm. Accepting when the movie won best musical or comedy, Cohen quipped about Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was notoriously punked in the project. “I mean, who can get more laughs out of one unzipping,” Cohen said. “Incredible.”
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Cohen, though, got more serious when he thanked cast and crew for getting the movie released before the election “to show the danger of lies, hate and conspiracies, and the power of truth, empathy and democracy.”
Another winner, Aaron Sorkin, accepted the screenplay award for The Trial of The Chicago 7 by quoting one of its real-life characters, Abbie Hoffman. “‘Democracy is not something you believe in or where you hang your hat, but it’s something you do. It’s something you participate in. You stop doing it, democracy crumbles,’” Sorkin said. “I don’t need any more evidence beyond what happened on January 6th to agree with this.”
In recent years it’s been a given that politics would be part of Hollywood kudofests. Kicking off with Meryl Streep’s sharp criticism of Trump at the Globes in 2017, industry figures took to award show platforms to speak out against his administration, and he and his supporters would respond in kind.
That said, despite the remarks of Cohen and Sorkin, these Globes were much more focused inward and forward, as the need for diversity dominated the discussion, particularly when it came to the makeup of the awards voting pool.
“Thank you to the all white Hollywood Foreign Press,” Cohen said, referring to the controversy over the fact that it has no Black members. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler also called out the organization, while leaders of the organization pledged to correct the lack of inclusion.
Jane Fonda, the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, was honored not just for her body of film work but her activism, which most recently included her weekly climate change protests in D.C. But in her acceptance, she did not mention the current or past administration or those fairly recent demonstrations. She focused on the need for the industry to be in sync with the movement toward diversity in society.
“There’s a story that we have been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry, a story about which voices we respect and elevate, and which we tune out,” she said. “It’s a story about who is offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the rooms where decisions are made. So let’s all of us, including all of the groups that decide who gets hired and what gets made and who wins awards, let’s all make an effort to expand that tent, so that everyone rises and everyone’s story has a chance to be seen and heard.”
She added, “Doing this simply means acknowledging what’s true, being in step with the emerging diversity that’s happening because of all those who marched and fought in the past and those who’ve picked up the baton today. After all, art has always been not just in step with history, but has led the way. So let’s be leaders.”
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