The two main themes of Sunday night’s Golden Globes were the importance of free speech and the importance of decent roles for women. Several celebrities mentioned the events in Paris, and there was more than one utterance of “Je Suis Charlie.” George Clooney, in accepting his Cecil B. DeMille Award, said the march in Paris wasn’t about protest. It was about affirming that “we will not walk in fear. We won’t do it.” And the evening’s first standing ovation came after Hollywood Foreign Press President Theo Kingma made a speech in support of the value of free speech.
Several actresses acknowledged the apparent increase of roles for strong women (read: middle-aged women). Patricia Arquette, who won for Boyhood, said she was inspired to play the part because at one time she had been a struggling single mother, and dedicated the win to her mother and to her daughter. The Honourable Woman‘s Maggie Gyllenhaal didn’t think it was a year of roles for powerful women; it was a year of roles for “actual women.” As the evening wore one, the night’s message that Hollywood has perhaps finally learned its lesson about its portrayal of women made Jeremy Renner’s crass joke about Jennifer Lopez’s “Golden Globes” seem even more sexist and out of step with the times.