Why Lady Bird's Golden Globes Win Was So Important

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Drinkwater/NBC.
Last night's Golden Globes was a clear moment of triumph for women in Hollywood, many of whom have spent the last several months sharing harrowing stories of harassment and abuse. From the eight actresses who chose to bring activists to the red carpet, to the conversations about Time's Up, to Oprah's rousing speech, to the sea of black dresses and tuxes in the audience, the message was clear: This was not your regular awards show.
Capping off this historic evening was a major win for Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig's moving female coming-of-age story, which took home the award for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, and gave Saoirse Ronan her first Best Actress win.
Like many watching, I was thrilled. Lady Bird, which is now being compared to last year's Oscar-winning Moonlight (insofar as it's the little film that could) isn't a flashy movie. But it's a rare, honest look at what it means to be a 17-year-old girl who's trying to figure out her place in the world, and offers what I believe to be the most nuanced and relatable film portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship to date. Its win, on a night devoted to making women's voices heard, seems to be a clear signal that Hollywood is ready for women to tell their own stories, on their own terms. Some will say this was a token victory, meant to appease the forces calling for change. But a win for this film is important regardless of the politics behind it, because it sends the message to women that their experience matters.
Still, this rosy picture is marred by the fact that the woman behind this film, Greta Gerwig, wasn't even nominated. The all-male Best Director category, boldly called out by Natalie Portman from the stage, remains a holdout for the old guard of Hollywood. Barbra Streisand remains the only woman to have ever won a Golden Globe for Best Director — in 1984.
Streisand took to Twitter after presenting in last night's show to share her dismay at the lack of women nominees, despite several worthy candidates.
Streisand pointed to Dee Rees and Patty Jenkins as two other women who weren't even considered in the category.
Hollywood simply cannot afford to ignore women anymore. The top three highest-grossing domestic films of 2017 — Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Wonder Woman, and Beauty and the Beast — were all female driven. We want to see ourselves represented in the narratives we pay to see. It's a sad fact that male directors still outnumber women in a ratio of 22 to 1. If we don't support the ones who do manage to break through, especially when they so deserve it, then how can we expect real change?
When Lady Bird nabbed top honours, producers Scott Rudin and Eli Bush did the right thing by taking a backseat and giving Gerwig the mic to deliver the acceptance speech. We need more men in Hollywood stepping up and taking their lead. Great performances don't happen in a vacuum, and neither do movies that go on to win Best Picture. Let's just hope the Academy voters, who are set to release their Oscar nominations on January 23, took notice.

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