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Golden Globes focus on free speech: 'We will not walk in fear'

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The terror attacks in Paris and the hack of Sony Pictures loomed large at the 72nd Annual Golden Globes, with the usual awards festivities interlaced with nervous humor and serious thoughts about the importance of free speech.

Right from the start of the show, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler opened with a joke about the crippling cyberattack on the studio, which was allegedly perpetuated by North Korea in an attempt to halt the distribution of the film The Interview. The hosts referred to the crowd as “minimally talented spoiled brats”—a reference to producer Scott Rudin’s emails describing Angelina Jolie to Sony co-chairwoman Amy Pascal.

Then the hosts said they were gathered to honor “all the movies that North Korea was okay with.” Poehler said the hackers’ threat to attack theaters showing the film “forced us all to pretend we wanted to see it,” and noted that the hackers’ slamming of the film “wasn’t even the worst review the movie got.”

Twice during the ceremony, Margaret Cho played a North Korean solider/journalist for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association working for Movies Wow! magazine. In one skit, the hosts urged Meryl Streep to pose for a photo with her out of fear for embarrassing emails being leaked.

The Hollywood crowd also gave a standing ovation when HFPA president Theo Kingma gave remarks about the importance of creative expression. “The freedom of artistic expression… is a beacon across the globe. We stand united against anyone who would suppress free speech, from North Korea to Paris,” he said.

Likewise, when George Clooney—wearing a Je Suis Charlie button—was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, he closed his speech addressing the topic “we’ve all been talking about.”

“Today was an extraordinary day, there were millions of people that marched—not just in Paris but around the world,” Clooney said. “And they were Christians and Jews and Muslims. There were leaders of countries from all over the world and they didn’t march in protest, but they marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won’t do it. So je suis Charlie.”

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