In a sea of black dresses, a group of Jewish female actresses stood out from the crowd not just for the awards they won but for the messages they brought to the forefront of the 75th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night.
The first of many awards shows this season, hosted by comedian Seth Meyers, was all about female solidarity. But in between discussion of sexual harassment and gender equality, a few awards were also given out.
Actress Rachel Brosnahan, who plays Miriam “Midge” Maisel in Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy. Certainly, the most overtly Jewish show up for nominations, “Mrs. Maisel” also won for best television series in the musical or comedy category.
Brosnahan — not Jewish herself — plays a Jewish housewife living in New York City in the late 1950s who decides to become a comedian after her husband leaves her.
“This is a story about a bold and brilliant and complicated woman and I’m endlessly proud to be a part of it, and there are so many women’s stories that deserve and need to be heard,” Brosnahan said in her acceptance speech after her first major win.
“Let’s continue to hold ourselves accountable and invest in and champion these stories,” she said.
The show was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino of “Gilmore Girls” fame. Sherman-Palladino’s father was Jewish, and she says she grew up “Jewish. Sort of.”
James Franco was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a motion picture for his portrayal of director Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist,” a semi-fictional retelling of the production of Wiseau’s 2003 film “The Room,” popularly known as “the worst movie ever made.” Franco praised collaborator Seth Rogan and his film co-star and brother Dave Franco, who he called “my own Coen brother.”
But the evening was less about the awards and more about taking a public stance against sexual misconduct and lack of gender equality in a post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood. Here too, Jewish women led the way.
As the show wrapped up, Natalie Portman emerged as one of the night’s leading heroes, not for any awards won or speeches given, but for her stance from start to finish against the culture of misogyny in Hollywood.
When presenting the award for best director, Portman made a point of showing her disdain for the lack of female representation on the list, pointing out “And here are the all-male nominees,” in her introduction.
Debra Messing drags E! (while being interviewed on E!): "I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn't believing in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts" pic.twitter.com/HF3B2uhwtF
— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 7, 2018
Portman was protesting the snubs for women in the Best Director category where not a single woman was nominated for her work despite being behind some of the highest grossing and critically acclaimed movies of 2017. Potential female nominees like Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) were left out of the running.
As The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum tweeted, “I know the night’s not over, but for me, Portman’s was the climactic moment. Different from a Red Carpet statement or even one of the great speeches—a challenge to the etiquette of the whole occasion.”
I know the night's not over, but for me, Portman's was the climactic moment. Different from a Red Carpet statement or even one of the great speeches—a challenge to the etiquette of the whole occasion.
— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) January 8, 2018
Along with other female actresses, Natalie Portman wore black to this year’s Golden Globes in alliance with her fellow female actresses.
Portman arrived with actress and friend America Ferrera. The stars were one of several pairs to arrive together in solidarity with the Time’s Up movement, a campaign Portman and Ferrera founded along with other female actresses to stand up against sexual harassment in Hollywood.
In a red carpet interview, Portman said that women’s voices can be “louder and stronger” when they stand together.
Portman and Ferrera were recently joined by more than 300 women in show business who signed a letter marking the launch of Time’s Up. So far, they’ve raised close to $16 million for a legal defense fund for people who have experienced workplace harassment, according to People.
Actress Debra Messing, star in the hit television reboot “Will & Grace,” also showed up in black and ready to slay.
In a red carpet interview with E!, Messing said she was “shocked” by the news that E! did not pay its female co-hosts equally, citing host Catt Sadler’s departure from E! after it was revealed that she made less than her male co-star, according to The Washington Post.
Of course, these days no Hollywood event is complete without Gal Gadot, who, in typical fashion, stunned in a form-fitting black dress, joining in the spirit of Time’s Up. She presented the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
JTA contributed to this report.