Not that I feel like I have to defend my watching of the Golden Globes, an event so steeped in branded affirmations of beauty and regurgitated gender roles that it can make any feminist without an online radical community commit sarcastic suicide, but I shall defend last night’s viewing anyway.
I firmly believe that if one complains enough about something, after the appropriate 3 month window of wallow time, they should begin to do something about it. I complain a lot about representation in TV and movies. I like to do something about it through remix. My larger goal is to actually write complex female characters, but for the time and budget being, I’m sticking to remix to re-imagine female representation in Hollywood with the hopes of encouraging other women to do the same. Then, assuming we all start writing soon, by the time we’re 50, we can collectively create enough roles for female actresses to not have to choose between a prostitute or someone’s hot mother. So that’s why I watched the Golden Globes. It’s research and development.
Last night’s Golden Globes in a feminist tinted, class-ceilinged nut shell:
Alexa Chung did a terrible job on the red carpet and I now know why “It’s On With Alexa Chung” got canceled. Next time you read a feature story on her in well-respected national magazines that paints her as the young, “smart”, up and coming future of female-dom, ignore. Ok, she doesn’t have a stylist. Big deal. Neither do you. Let’s move on.
Mila Kunis (Black Swan) said “A sex scene is a sex scene. It never looks as good as it does on screen.” At least she speaks the truth. This should be added as a disclaimer before every Rom-Com.
Ricky Garvais hosted the party with a crude (albeit honest, but isn’t that how it always goes?) sense of humor. He had one joke, which is easy to retool for personal use at feminist, queer or left-leaning parties throughout the year:
“Seems like all the movies this year were 3 dimensional – except for the [female] characters in them.”
Katey Sagal won best supporting actress for her role “as a motorcycle matriarch who becomes a victim of rape.” I’m going to hold off on the critique that this is concludes the options for female actresses who wish to work beyond 40 and just focus on the positive: I’m glad it went to a working mom who has survived 5 nominations and 30 years working in the industry.
Annette Bening wore her gay glasses, kissed co-star and fellow nominee Julianne Moore on the lips and won for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for “The Kids Are All Right.” She’s not really queer, she just plays one in the movie, FYI. “Kids” also won Best Picture but Director Lisa Cholodenko didn’t get to talk; instead she played with her necklace and awkwardly awaited the mic while her producer accepted the award. Kinda sad since she was the driving force behind the movie, got Julianne Moore involved after they met at a Women in Film event and wrote the damn thing for, oh 6 + years.
Backstage: Antigay protesters yelled things outside the Golden Globe ceremony and “that made me very said,” said Bening. Also backstage, Mark Ruffalo, the sperm donor ‘dad’ in “Kids”, criticized the Academy after they shut out female directors, including Lisa Cholodenko, from the Directors Guild feature film nominations (all guys were nominated). “I would just like to say to the academy members: why don’t you grow a pair and vote for Lisa Cholodenko as well!”
Temple Grandon made an appearance with Claire Danes who won for her made-for-HBO movie about the autistic animal scientist. “Western is how I dress..I would be too out of character if I wore an evening gown.” GO GIRL. You rock that and don’t take any shit from red carpet hosts asking you who you’re wearing.
Danes said of playing Grandon, “..it would be hard to go from that to some flat girlfriend role.” De-press-ing. Yeah, it makes me want to hide, too, Temple. Even Geena Davis agrees that women are just playing one dimensional characters.
Alan Sorkin won for Best Screenplay, “The Social Network”. During his acceptance speech he made a veiled political statement about smart women in an attempt to defend his choice of gender troupes in the “Social Network” screenplay:
“And I want to thank all the female nominees tonight for helping demonstrate to my young daughter that elite is not a bad word, it’s an aspirational one. Honey, look around, smart girls have more fun, and you’re one of them.”
I’m not going to comment on equating education with being elite and I’m glad he thanked the female nominees. Next time though can he make a better decision about writing them into his work? I still maintain that Sorkin’s use of “historical accuracy” to defend his story’s representation of women to feminists only to then flip flop and say he used creative license to embellish the story here and there is a red flag. The ‘historical accuracy’ argument is perhaps more problematic to me. It’s been used a lot this year thanks to the lively feminist discussion around “Mad Men”. It’s an excuse used throughout the industry to justify the fucked up, misogynistic and/or racist behavior of characters, relied upon only if and when a writer is called out by the press after the movie’s release. By justifying a story-world by saying it’s historically accurate is an admission of guilt to me: clearly the writer is not aware of, critical of or willing to change (even minutely) the social forces that perpetuate oppressive values and instead reaffirm these values by perpetuating them uncritically in their story. “Accurately” portraying misogyny doesn’t make it responsible or even good storytelling. I’m not saying every movie has to be about the civil rights or feminist movements. I’m just saying that I truly believe Sorkin had no idea his screenplay was offensive because he’s in a position of privilege that allows him to be completely oblivious to it. It’s like when your mom starts asking you to do the dishes and you come to realize that all this time you were blessed with having her do them for you. You don’t notice privilege until someone someone asks you to and then it’s a big pain in the ass to both deal with and go about denying.
Sorkin broke 2 essential screenwriting rules that, because they were written in books, I assumed everyone must follow. Note to self: don’t follow all those rules.
- Always acknowledge that your audience is smarter than you.
- Never defend your narrative choices by saying that’s how they really happened in ‘real life.’
Diane Warren won for Best Song. I don’t really care I just love that she was the only woman in a tux/suit.
Here’s the full list of nominees and award winners. Thanks for reading this far down the post.