The night belonged to Oprah. At the 75th Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, and brought the room (and internet) to applause and cheers with her incisive, triumphant acceptance speech.
“In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. I've interviewed and portrayed people who've withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon.”
Oprah became the first black woman to win the award, and emphasized the impact that watching Sidney Poitier win Best Actor in 1964 had on her own career dreams.
“I'd never seen a black man being celebrated like that,” she said. “I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney's performance in Lilies of the Field: ‘Amen, amen, amen, amen.’”
Her speech has already been crowned as "the moment" from last night’s ceremony, but the 2018 Golden Globes were also filled with historic wins for women and people of color, and blunt critques of male dominance in the entertainment industry. Here are eight other wins from the night:
Activists Walk the Red Carpet
Eight justice advocates and activists accompanied eight actresses on the red carpet before the ceremony. In a segment normally reserved for anecdotes about dresses and labels, the actresses and their plus-ones answered questions about why they were walking together. "We all deserve workplaces where we’re safe and our work is valued and we can live and work with dignity. And we have movement. And we want to say to everyone: They should join us,” said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who came with actress Meryl Streep. Other activists included Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement; Rosa Clemente, Puerto Rican activist and journalist; Saru Jayaraman, justice advocate for restaurant workers; Mónica Ramírez, who fights sexual violence against farmworkers and pushes for Latina empowerment; Billie Jean King, a tennis champion and the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association; Marai Larasi, executive director of Imkaan, a British network of organizations working to end violence against black and minority women; and Calina Lawrence, a Suquamish Tribe member, singer, and activist for Native American treaty and water rights.
They walked with Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Amy Poehler, Laura Dern, Susan Sarandon, Emma Stone, and Shailene Woodley.
A Black Dress Affair
Speaking of dresses ... dozens of actresses wore black gowns or suits to demonstrate the gravity of sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood. Many men joined in, as well, donning black shirts under black tuxes, and/or wearing “Time’s Up” pins in solidarity.
Callouts on the Carpet
Lest there was confusion about the tone of the evening, Debra Messing dove right into the gender wage gap on the red carpet.
“We want diversity, we want intersectional gender parity, we want equal pay,” she said. Speaking directly to an E! host, she went on:
“I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts ... and that’s something that can change tomorrow. We want people to start having this conversation that women are just as valuable as men."
After Oprah’s thundering speech, Ron Howard and Natalie Portman took the stage to introduce the nominees for Best Director. Portman went a bit off script …
No More "Miss Golden Globe"
For the first time, the ceremony replaced the role of “Miss Golden Globe” — usually the daughter of a celebrity — with a “Golden Globe Ambassador.” The role of Ambassador — filled this year by Simone Garcia Johnson, the daughter of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson — still hands out awards, but the designation is intentionally gender-neutral.
Historic Awards for People of Color
Oprah’s tremendous speech nearly obscured her history-making honor as the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Other historic wins: Aziz Ansari, the first Asian man to win a Golden Globe for best actor in a TV comedy, and Sterling K. Brown, the first black man to win a Golden Globe for best actor in a TV drama.
“ ... What I appreciate so much about this thing is I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am. And it makes it much more difficult to dismiss me or anyone who looks like me,” Brown said.
Calls for Restorative Justice for Abuse Survivors
Laura Dern, best supporting actress winner for a limited series, gave concrete pointers for correcting a culture of sexism and sexual violence in her acceptance speech.
“I urge all of us to not only support survivors and bystanders who are brave enough to tell their truth, but to promote restorative justice. May we also please protect and employ them. May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture's new north star,” she said.
A White Male Host Demonstrating How It’s Done
Host Seth Meyers acknowledged that perhaps the awards show would have been better hosted by a woman — and then passed the mic to other attendees to tell jokes. He also held no punches when talking about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and white male fragility. In a contentious year, Meyers guided the way with grace and aplomb, and kept the spotlight where it should have been: On everyone else.