Said woman, Sandra Bullock, laughed like a drain at her awards ceremony table.
Whomever, or whatever, Gervais plunders in 2020 will be given no mercy. Felicity Huffman serving a prison term in October after being found guilty of paying to fix her daughter’s college entrance exam must be in his sights. Or, five months after his death in jail, financier Jeffrey Epstein’s connections to various high-profile Hollywood folk, and royalty, could be revisited.
Whatever Gervais says, it won’t be the most shocking or confronting thing at the awards ceremony.
That will come from women. And not because they tell a joke as host.
If a female actor, writer, director or producer so much as raises an eyebrow in response to talk of sexist film roles, unequal pay or being asked, “Who’s home watching the kids?” on the red carpet, there seems to be disproportionate shock and amazement at her gall.
Hollywood may be a changed place since the MeToo movement escalated a message about empowering women globally, but women sure as heck trigger inordinate disconcertment at displaying the tiniest signal of disquiet.
“And here are the all-male nominees,” Natalie Portman said without a smile as she co-presented the Best Director Award with Ron Howard in 2018.
Portman later explained that she wanted to find a way to express disappointment at the lack of women in the category without disrespecting the achievements of the nominees. People still gasped in the audience.
In 2014, Elizabeth Moss flipped the bird, twice, to the Mani Cam, a tiny red carpet diorama celebrating lady finger jewellery and nail polish, and a symbol of gender inequality if ever there was one.
The camera cut quickly away each time. Minutes later, articles rained down about Moss’s “gutsy” chutzpah.
Imagine if someone asked Joaquin Phoenix to stick his hand in a box fitted with a camera and tell viewers about his cuticles. His refusal would barely raise an eyebrow.
This year, relative inequality soldiers on at the Globes.
All eyes will be on the female directors not nominated for directing some of 2019’s biggest, most successful and most critically acclaimed films. For the third year in a row, the Best Director category features all-male nominees.
Will plain-speaking 2020 nominees Phoebe Waller-Bridge (writer and star of Fleabag), Patricia Arquette (The Act), and Meryl Streep (Big Little Lies) trigger agitation by subtly mentioning this?
Can the snubbed directors themselves, from Greta Gerwig, (Little Women) to Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Celine Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Lulu Wan (The Farewell) and Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) appear remotely confronted without inspiring shock?
Restraint shouldn’t be a female domain, especially in an area celebrating creative expression.
It’s been two years since Barbra Streisand stood on stage, surprised to discover that she was the only woman to win a Golden Globe for directing, for Yentl. “And, you know, that was 1984,” she said. “That was 34 years ago. Folks, time’s up!”
This year, may every woman who looks pointedly at the camera, up-ends sexist red carpet expectations and expresses legitimate, level-headed words of exasperation, receive joyously impartial feedback in return. Come on, you disgusting, pill-popping, sexually deviant scum.
Lenny is a writer and podcaster.