UPDATED: There was one man who loomed large even in his absence at Sunday night’s Golden Globes.
From the red carpet, to the stage at the Beverly Hilton, to the interview room backstage, Hollywood heaped its disdain on President-elect Donald Trump. Speakers said the man who will soon be in the Oval Office had done everything from stoke incivility at home to provoke hostilities that could lead to war abroad.
If Hollywood had any concern about how its anti-Trump message would play among the roughly half of American voters who supported Trump, it did not show.
The evening’s shadow guest made an early showing with host Jimmy Fallon’s first one-liner. “This is the Golden Globes — one of the few places left where America still honors the popular vote,” Fallon zinged. Soon after, he was invoking an apparent Trump fan, the leader of Russia, noting that the Globes votes were “tallied by the accounting firm of Ernst, Young and Putin.”
On social media, it seemed like there was no way to win. Commenters criticized Fallon for not being tougher on Trump before the election, while those on the other side of the aisle thought the focus on roasting the President-elect was distasteful in a show meant to celebrate entertainment.
The hits began on the red carpet, where Issa Rae said “Every single time I see a tweet from that man, every single time when I see the staff, the administration, he is bringing in, it gets worse and worse. And the scariest thing is how normal it’s becoming to some people.”
The theme was given fuller voice by Hugh Laurie, with acerbic British wit in his speech as winner of best actor in a limited series or TV movie for his role in “The Night Manager.””I’ll be able to say I won this at the last-ever Golden Globes,” the actor quipped. “I mean it’s got Hollywood and foreign and press in it.” He added that he was accepting his award on behalf of “psychotic billionaires everywhere” – alluding to his character in “The Night Manager,” but also seemingly to that magnate headed for the Oval Office.
Meryl Streep added her voice to the critiques of the President-elect, describing the moment when candidate Trump mimicked and mocked a disabled reporter. “It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back,” Streep said. “It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”
The most decorated actor of her era, Streep received the Cecil B. Demille Award Sunday. She went on to bemoan Trump’s “instinct to humiliate,” adding: “when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing,” she continued. “Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
On Sunday evening, Trump responded briefly to the New York Times, saying Streep is a “Hillary lover” and that although he had not seen the show, he was not surprised he had come under attack from “liberal movie people.”
Meghan McCain also responded to Streep’s speech, provoking a fresh round of liberal outrage with her tweet “This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won.”
The venom for Trump continued backstage, where director Paul Verhoeven said he had some “very bad thoughts” about Trump. Verhoeven called the real estate magnate’s ascent to the White House “scary” because of “the attitude he displays, and the people he put in [his Cabinet.].”
The acclaimed director — taking the globe for Best Foreign Language Film for “Elle” — cited a German expression for impending danger, saying he believed that the new presidency “can easily go into directions that ultimately will end up with war and destruction.” Verhoeven added that “it can turn out to be different than I think, but apparently the last … months have not changed my mind [about] what this means.”
While such sentiments played well among the overwhelming liberal Hollywood crowd, not everyone in America was enjoying the Trump beat down. On Twitter, one fan of the president-elect wished for more entertainment, like the opening “LaLa Land” themed opener, so that “we didn’t have to listen to Fallon make Trump jokes.” Another echoed that complaint, adding: “You are on your own planet. And you wonder why Trump won.”
Backstage, winners were repeatedly asked to take on Trump, but took a slightly more diplomatic approach.
Viola Davis, winner for best supporting actress in a film for “Fences,” said that the fight for the American Dream was “bigger than him,” referring to the man who will take the Oval Office later this month. “I believe that it is our responsibility to uphold what it is to be an American and what America is about and the true meaning of what it means to pursue the American dream,” Davis said.
“I think that America in and of itself has been an affirmation but I think that we’ve fallen short a lot,” Davis added in her remarks backstage. “Because there is no way that we can have anyone in office who is not an extension of our own belief system.”
Near the evening’s end, Best Actress in a drama winner Isabelle Huppert paid another tribute to the diversity of the arts, noting that the Golden Globes crowd had come from around the world. It was hard to imagine anyone else she had in mind when she concluded: “Do not expect cinema to set up walls and borders.”