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The 74th Golden Globe Awards could have easily become just another humdrum routine on TV—men and women sashaying in expensive designer attire on a red carpet. Instead, it has ended up becoming a far more significant, almost a historical awards night, meant to be remembered and looked back upon in the years to come. Priyanka Chopra’s dazzling gown could not divert from the centrality of the issue of diversity. The acceptance speech for Zootopia, an animated film, included its makers emphasizing on this very topic. Within a period spanning over just a few hours, Meryl Streep went from being a Lifetime Achievement Award winner to an “overrated actress” and a “Hillary flunky”, all thanks to Donald Trump and his remorseless wisdom on Twitter. In the rarest of occasions in awards night history, Trump, politics and xenophobia gained precedence over fashion and hairstyles.

The highlights of the show, aside from La La Land which went on to receive an award in every category, were Jimmy Fallon (the host) and Streep herself. The former hardly attempted to make the celebrities in attendance the butt of his jokes, contrary to clichéd expectations from an awards show host, especially when he happens to host a talk show. Instead, he took jibes at the newly elected President. Streep took to the reverse side of the coin. Where Fallon was comic, she turned the attention to serious issues of discrimination and the fears of a common migrant. One got to hear the words “Hollywood”, “foreign” and “press” several times throughout the ceremony. But she declared, “[If] you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.” Be it a Ryan Gosling or a Viola Davis or a Dev Patel; for once, Streep united all actors under a larger umbrella issue—there is no difference between these actors and the thousands of migrants who make up the labour force of America. Neither Hollywood nor America can do without its diversity.

However, some amount of backlash did follow. It is true that Fallon never confronted Trump about racial discrimination, his views on gender or physical appearance. He did not attempt to do so even when Trump was a guest on his show. This is the primary foundation of the backlash. But this could be equally true for a talk show host like Jimmy Kimmel, who has invited Trump on his show before. Kimmel was not caustic either. Caustic humour and jibes, though all in good fun, do have a time and place to adhere to. Fallon’s humour is much like Kimmel’s, not confrontational in nature during the Globes or in the talk show and if he failed to hit the nail on the coffin somewhere in this attempt, Meryl Streep’s speech more than compensated for it.

Overall, the 2017 Golden Globes proved much more to be a comment on contemporary politics, the national hysteria surrounding Trump’s election and the pressing need for diversity rather than clichéd awards night trivialities.

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Deepannita Misra

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