Hollywood dispensed with what now constitutes years of tradition and declined to even mention Donald Trump at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday. Not only was the president left out by hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, but he also went unmentioned by all the evening’s award recipients.
To be sure, there were a few nods made in Trump’s general direction. “Assassination of Gianni Versace” producer Brad Simpson provided perhaps the most overtly political moment of the night by calling on the audience to “resist in the streets, resist in the ballot box.” Christian Bale managed to get in some quick digs at Dick Cheney and Mitch McConnell. But that was about as direct as anyone got.
This marks the first Trump-free Globes ceremony since 2015. By comparison, both the 2017 and 2018 broadcasts were peppered with rebukes of Trump. Meryl Streep delivered her infamous “football and mixed martial arts” jab at the ceremony two years ago. All the way back in 2016, Ricky Gervais joked that Trump couldn’t wait to deport America Ferrera and Eva Longoria.
For an industry battling a severe case of Trump Obsession, his total absence from the night was striking. I’d call it laudable restraint if I thought it had nothing to do with ratings.
Either way, I suspect audiences will agree with Samberg, who in a preview of the show contended, “Everyone is depressed, and maybe that’s as good a reason as any that everyone could use a little time to laugh and celebrate. Not to ignore anything, but we spend so much time every day wallowing in a lot of things that are happening in our world that are really depressing… but there’s also power to being positive and celebratory in the tougher times as well.” (Although to accomplish that feat, Samberg and Oh would have actually had to give us some reasons to laugh.)
Either way, it’s a smart strategy on Hollywood’s part for two reasons: Giving people a hard-earned and much-desired break from the industry’s Trump fixation, and starving a man who loves nothing more than attention from the haters of any attention from the haters. Although it took them a couple of years to figure it out, you could call that a classic win-win for the president’s detractors in Tinseltown. As award show season unfolds over the next couple of months, it will be interesting to see if other ceremonies follow suit.