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Has Hollywood Gotten Too Political?

  • February 21, 2019

Like any other awards show in the past couple of years, the 76th Golden Globe Awards had no shortage of uncomfortable jokes, unnecessarily long acceptance speeches, and celebrities who were forced to be there. But, due to recent events ranging from the 2016 election to the #MeToo movement, the Golden Globes has gone from being a booze-soaked celebration of entertainment, to one big elaborate comment on current political issues. So, this begs the question: Has Hollywood gotten too political?

Despite clear efforts by the night’s hosts, Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, to stay as far away from politics as possible, the Golden Globes still managed to incorporate current hot topics. Various acceptance speeches, most notably those of actress Glenn Close and producer Brad Simpson, did not hesitate to speak of issues regarding racial and gender equality. While it is empowering to see celebrities using their immense platform to speak out about the various issues that plague our society today, it seems that awards shows like the Golden Globes have gradually moved farther and farther away from the actual subject of the night: entertainment.

Especially now, in times of political conflict, audiences want to be able to turn to their television sets as a way to temporarily escape the reality of today. Yet, ever since the controversial 2016 elections, politics has somehow found a way to sneak itself onto our screens, which is one of the main reasons why ratings for awards shows have recently plummeted lower than ever before. According to the LA Times, last year’s Emmy Awards viewership even hit a record low, dropping a whopping 11% from the previous year.

Yet, surprisingly, it seems that the main reason why audiences are so unhappy with this newfound inclusion of politics in Hollywood is not the fact that it is continually straying away from the actual entertainment itself, but the hypocrisy of it. Especially during acceptance speeches, celebrities do not hesitate to create calls for change, despite ultimately failing to act upon it themselves. For example, when addressing the #MeToo movement, Maureen Callahan of the New York Post said, “It’s disheartening to hear actresses rave about The Golden Globes as if they sparked a cultural revolution: They wore black on the red carpet, nothing more.” Her words reflect the general frustration with celebrities’ overall inability to practice what they preach.
There is no arguing against the clear benefit of discussing political issues, especially through a platform that is mainly targeted toward younger generations who usually have an  alarming lack of political awareness. However, this year’s Golden Globes seemed like yet another reminder that the best way that Hollywood can better society today is to stick to entertaining.

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