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Golden Globes 2018: How will the show handle #MeToo, #TimesUp?

by Daniel Arkin /  / Updated 
Seth Meyers poses in Burbank, California, on, Jan. 2.Michael Friberg / The New York Times/Redux Pictures

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The Golden Globe Awards are typically a loose and boozy affair, a clubby get-together where the Champagne flows.

But this year is different.

Hollywood is in the throes of a revolution, convulsed by explosive allegations of sexual misconduct that have helped fuel the global movement known as #MeToo. In the final months of 2017, scores of women and men came forward with stories of harassment and assault that toppled actors, producers, directors and screenwriters.

The upheaval casts a long shadow over the Globes, turning the ceremony on Sunday night (8 PM ET on NBC) into a high-stakes test of how the industry is grappling with seismic cultural change. The show also represents a high-wire act for host Seth Meyers.

"We're certainly going to address it," Meyers told NBC News this week. "As to the tone that we hit, I think that's a discussion we'll be having up to ... the minute we walk on stage."

Meyers, who frequently blends hard-hitting news headlines with light-hearted antics on NBC's "Late Night," said he wants to honor #MeToo without skimping on the festivities.

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"We want to make sure that it's not so serious to the point that it isn't a celebration, which is the point of the night," Meyers said.

Related: Here’s a growing list of men accused of sexual misconduct

Meyers said on the "Today" show Friday that he would seek guidance from two former Globes hosts: Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

"Although those two ladies will probably be the ones to say, 'You gotta go farther. You gotta push this envelope farther,'" he said.

But pulling off that balancing act would be a challenge for even the most seasoned comedic talent, said Tom O'Neil, editor of the awards prediction website Gold Derby.

"Seth Meyers has a tough job as host. He's got to poke fun at something that isn't funny — sexual harassment," said O'Neil. "He's got to address it in a tasteful way."

The ballroom at the Beverly Hilton will be filled with several women — including Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Gal Gadot and Mary J. Blige — who reportedly plan to wear black as a gesture of solidarity with victims of sexual abuse.

Presenters and winners might also use their moments on the stage to stand up for survivors of sexual misconduct or take humorous shots at alleged serial abusers, some of whom are previous Globes winners.

John Osborn, chief executive of the ad agency OMD, said some advertisers were anxious that the telecast could turn polarizing. At the ceremony last year, Meryl Streep delivered an impassioned take-down of Donald Trump that delighted liberals and enraged conservatives.

"If the Golden Globes turns into a political rally, do brands want to be associated with that in this kind of environment? I can't say [advertisers] have pulled out, but they are looking at the cultural context," Osborn said.

But few stirring monologues or incisive jokes could ever come close to healing old wounds, said Kathryn Rossetter, an actress who has accused Dustin Hoffman of sexual assault.

"An awards show cannot fix any of it," Rossetter said in a phone interview this week. "We can't burden the show with more than it can bear in terms of what's going on, because what's going on has been in the works for decades — decades and decades of abuses of power."

Related: Dustin Hoffman accusers speak out

Rossetter, who co-starred with Hoffman in a Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman" and a subsequent TV adaptation, said she thinks the show should strive for a "tempered feeling of celebration."

"People should be proud of their work and enjoy the fruits of their labors," Rossetter said. "But at the same time, they should show an awareness that women and some men have had to put up with a lot to get where they are."

There will likely be some conspicuous absences on Sunday night — most notably that of Harvey Weinstein, the mogul who was once a fixture on the awards circuit and a powerful industry kingmaker before he was felled by dozens of devastating allegations.

And there will be at least one notable (and relatively last-minute) addition: Christopher Plummer. The veteran actor replaced Kevin Spacey in the drama "All the Money in the World" after Spacey was publicly accused of sexual misconduct.

In a virtually unprecedented and risky move, director Ridley Scott cut the former "House of Cards" star from the film and quickly re-shot his scenes with Plummer, who is nominated for the best supporting actor prize for his performance as oil tycoon J. Paul Getty.

As for the awards themselves, experts say the race for the top honors is wide open.

O'Neil, the Gold Derby editor, said he would put his money on best picture honors going to "The Post," the topical Pentagon Papers drama directed by Steven Spielberg, and "Lady Bird," the sweet comedy-of-age comedy from Greta Gerwig.

"But the Globes never go according to script," O'Neil said. "There are always surprises."

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