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Oprah brings down the house ... again
After her rousing acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award called out sexual harassers in all industries, Oprah Winfrey hit the press room backstage at the Golden Globes ceremony to comment further on the Time's Up movement and the rising tide of protests against sexual misconduct. "With every day’s revelation, I thought here is an opportunity for a powerful growth. How do we use this moment to elevate what is happening instead of continually victimize ourselves?" she said. "Wearing black in solidarity is one step. What Time’s Up is doing with a legal defense fund is a major step. It was very important to all of us involved with Time’s Up that it not just be about the women of Hollywood, because we’re already a privileged group, but to extend to the women of the world because as I said tonight, there isn’t a culture, a race, a religion, a politic, a workplace, that hasn’t been affected by it...There are so many women who’ve endured so much and remained silent and kept going because there was no other recourse, and now that we’ve all joined as one voice, I think it feels like empowerment to those women who’ve never had it."
To donate to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which will provide subsidized legal support to women and men in all industries who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, visit its GoFundMe page. Learn more about Time's Up, an organization of women in entertainment combating sexual harassment and inequality, on its website.
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Mrs. Maisel, a hero for the 1950s and today
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which only just debuted on Amazon at the end of last year, proved to be a big winner of the evening, taking home prizes for both best actress in a comedy or musical and best comedy or musical. The show has been a critical darling, but star Rachel Brosnahan and creator Amy Sherman-Palladino had more to say backstage about why they think the main character of Midge Maisel has made such an impact.
"When I read the script, the thing that stood out to me the most was that Midge is maybe the most unapologetically confident woman that I have ever read in a script and that scared the crap out of me and made me desperate to play this part and tell this story," said Brosnahan. "Finding the confidence in my work to bring this woman to life was challenging and terrifying. I’ve never done comedy and this whole thing was like a nightmare and a dream at the same time, and I hope to be able to carry that sense of self-empowerment with me."
Amy Sherman-Palladino elaborated on how a 1950s housewife who decides to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian became increasingly relevant as the show neared its premiere date. "We always knew the character of Midge should be a character that would appeal to girls of today, and they should be able to look at her not just like that is my grandmother, but that is me," she said. "As things got weirder and creepier in the sexual predator realm, it became apparent that the idea of a truly confident female taking charge of her life when the male in her life walked out and left -- it took on an extra meaning and it became something even a little bit more because she did it without tears and without fear. She just burned the barn down and walked out."
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Allison Janney made the first stop on what could be a majorly eventful awards season for her with her portrayal of Tonya Harding's emotionally abusive and cruel mother LaVona Golden in I, Tonya. She's a character who's easy to hate, but Janney explained that she needed to find a way to like her to be able to understand her and play her without judgment.
"I had to find a way to make her human. I didn’t get the luxury of speaking to the real woman and Tonya wasn’t much help, she didn’t really know where her mother was and didn’t care and the screenwriter tried to find her and couldn’t, so I had to go about it like a detective, putting together the pieces of a person’s life," she explained. "I had to believe that she came from an abusive family herself, I had to believe that life disappointed her at every turn. I had to believe she saw an opportunity for her daughter to succeed and do well and of course, by being with her it would take her to a different place in life, and I think she loved her the only way she knew how. It was not a way that I would condone for a mother and a child, but I think she loved her in her own way. She was a woman who had suffered and it made her angry and resentful and a monster."
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Sterling K. Brown makes history
This is Us' Sterling K. Brown became the first black acto to win at the Golden Globes for best actor in a television drama category in the Globes' 75-year history. He acknowledged his historic victory backstage: "I’ve never been the first brother to do anything," he said. "I was the fourth black student council president at my high school, I was like the second black J.V. captain of my basketball team -- but to finally be the first of something is really interesting because I never consider myself a trailblazer. I just try to stand in my truth all the time. If I come from a place of truth all the time, then that’s all I can do. I can’t worry about trying to be Jackie Robinson or anybody else. I’m honored by the HFPA that they took a character from a little network television show where we have 42 minutes and 30 seconds to tell the same kinds of stories that other people get 60 minutes to do the same thing with, so I feel a tremendous amount of pride and I look forward to seeing somebody else stand up here, holding this trophy, not 75 years from now."
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The greatest showmen
It's been a good year for original musicals, and an even better one for wunderkind songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who swept through the 2017 awards season with their La La Land songs, scored big at the Tony Awards last June with Dear Evan Hansen, and took home gold yet again for penning "This Is Me" in The Greatest Showman.
Pasek said the victory brought their year of success full-circle. "The first person we saw after we won was Emma Stone who was coming to present her award. We got to give her a big hug and it felt like a very surreal, full circle moment." He also added that this award motivates them to keep forging ahead. "We’re just focused on writing new musicals and we feel like this gives us permission to keep doing that and it’s a real source of encouragement," he said. "We just really appreciate that musicals are something audiences are embracing again and want to come and see, and we feel very, very lucky we get to be among the writers that are creating it today."
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Bigger little Lies
Reese Witherspoon and the cast of Big Little Lies continued their lovefest backstage at the Golden Globes, where Witherspoon elaborated on the Time's Up movement, of which she was one of the major founding voices.
"There was a collective feeling that it wouldn’t be business as usual. Because I think we have to be forever changed in this moment," Witherspoon said. "We are more united as an industry than we have ever been, men and women, determined to change our own industry but also shine a light on other industries because we get a lot of attention. We’re very privileged to be here, we get to tell stories, and there are a lot of people in other industries who don’t get this opportunity to speak up, so hopefully, this is a small gesture that will continue to resonate."
Witherspoon also reflected on how Big Little Lies is an excellent model for how to continue moving storytelling forward and sharing different perspectives. "So much of my career for 27 years, I never got to work with another woman, and to be able to have incredible scenes and the opportunity to have a spectrum of female behavior; that women look different; they have different socio-economic backgrounds, they have different experiences in life," she said. "This is just the beginning and we hope to continue that and even make it more diverse and make it more inclusive and make it more look like the world really looks. It’s really important. When women are the architects of the story, the stories change and you see things differently."
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Director Guillermo del Toro has long been heralded for his artistry and visual eye, but he also deserves praise for how he handles love stories and female characters. While his winning film The Shape of Water is a lush romance, he also recently tweeted about why he writes certain characters so "little girls know not every story has to be a f---ing love story."
Backstage, he elaborated on how The Shape of Water's unique beauty-meets-beast love story fits into that ethos. "You approach each character with a different concern. When I'm writing somebody like Mercedes in Pan’s Labyrinth and writing a very strong woman that is part of the resistance, that is a guerilla in post-war Spain, and then you don’t superimpose a pattern of a love story on top of that. You are sincere with your character, you provide the best possible tools for the character to articulate," he said.
"I love writing these characters and each then tells you what they need. And if they need a love story, by god, you write them a great love story, but even then, even when you write a love story, you can do it consciously, trying to not tell the love story," del Toro continued. "Because in most depictions of Beauty and the Beast, it’s almost like a Stockholm Syndrome moment in which beauty is kidnapped by this figure and develops a relationship with him, and then the beast has to transform into the most boring prince to have a relationship and Shape of Water ends both things. The female character is the engine of change on every single thing that happens in the film and the beast remains the beast. Because I don’t think love is about transformation and changing the person, but understanding the person, so even then you don’t have to do the usual story."
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Party like it's 2002
Greta Gerwig on finally seeing Justin Timberlake after writing him a letter to use his song in Lady Bird: "I saw Justin Timberlake tonight and he has seen the movie and he gives it a thumbs up."