Anti-harassment campaign in the spotlight at Golden Globes

The Golden Globes, one of the entertainment industry's flagship award ceremonies, was dominated by the sexual harassment scandal that continues to rock Hollywood, with some of the world's leading actresses and media figures speaking out about abuse and gender equality.

Laura Dern, from left, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley pose in the press room with the award for best television limited series or motion picture made for television for "Big Little Lies" at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The ceremony, ordinarily dominated by celebrations of the most successful film and television productions of the past year, served instead as a platform for stars to condemn abuse and urge women who have suffered as a result to speak out.

The politically-charged 75th annual ceremony – the first major Hollywood awards since the scandal broke last year – saw Oprah Winfrey, the veteran talk show host, TV executive, actress and film producer, receiving a standing ovation after her a speech on receiving the Cecil B DeMille trophy for outstanding contributions to entertainment.

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She said: “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have … For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up!”

She added: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon!”

The resonance of the speech saw some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Meryl Streep, encourage Winfrey to consider running for the presidency.

It was the most rousing moment of a ceremony characterised by widespread support for campaigns Me Too and Time’s Up, which are focused on bringing about change for women not only in the entertainment industry but in all levels of occupations around the world.

Laura Dern, winner of a best supporting actress award for her role in the drama series Big Little Lies, who said: “Many of us were taught not to tattle.

“It was a culture of silencing, and that was normalised... May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture’s new North Star.”

Nicole Kidman won the first award of the night for her role as Celeste Wright, a victim of domestic violence, in the same series.

The Oscar-winning Australian star dedicated her win to her castmates and family, citing the “power of women”. She said her mother was an advocate for the women’s movement when she was growing up.

“My achievements are her achievements,” Kidman added. “This character that I played represents something that is the centre of our conversation right now: abuse. I do believe, and I hope, we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them.”

Barbra Streisand, who presented an award, told of her shock that she remained the only woman to win the Golden Globes’ best director award, with Yentl in 1984.

Natalie Portman underlined the issue when reading aloud the nominations for the best director gong, announcing the “all-male” nominees.

Actresses attending the event wore black gowns as a mark of solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment, while many men on the red carpet wore black shirts or pin badges promoting the cause of Time’s Up.

Despite the significance of the issue, the evening was shot through with moments of levity, thanks in large part to host Seth Meyers, who opened the occasion by remarking: “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen.”

Elsewhere, the Beverly Hills ceremony – a bellwether for what films are likely Oscar contenders – saw success for Gary Oldman, Ewan McGregor, Saoirse Ronan and Martin McDonagh.

Oldman scored the best actor in a drama prize for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, while McGregor won the best actor in a limited TV series for playing twins in Fargo. Irish actress Saoirse Ronan won best actress in a comedy film for Lady Bird, which was named best comedy film.

British-Irish playwright McDonagh won the best screenplay prize for his film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which was also named best drama film, one of five awards it secured.