Last night, British actor Gary Oldman won the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the biopic Darkest Hour. His acceptance speech was long and not interesting. He also made a vague reference (“words and actions can change the world, and boy oh boy, does it need some changing...”) to the dominant theme of the evening, which was the #MeToo movement ignited by the fall of Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer accused of sexually assaulting a considerable number of women in the film industry. Some have even accused him of rape.
Weinstein's fall did not end with him but instigated the first major cultural shift in the age of Trump—a president who was recorded boasting of sexually assaulting women. Sexual harassment and assault was first exposed in the highest levels of the media, entertainment, and politics. We have watched big name after big name go down. The movement is now spreading across the entire body of our society. Ophrah Winfrey's passionate acceptance speech for the Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Award captured the mood of the event and was also clearly aimed at the self-professed pussy grabber in the White House. There is now a lot of talk about her running for president.
It is interesting, however, that the role Gary Oldman received a Golden Globe award for involved a scene that can be identified as sexual harassment. I wrote about it in my review, "My Problem with Darkest Hour Involves a Bathtub, a Man, and His Penis." It happens somewhere in the middle of the very long and too talky film. It has Churchill in a bathroom dictating something to his young, female secretary, who is on the other side of the door. When the old great man finishes washing, he warns the working woman that he is in a "state of nature," and bursts out of the bathroom. He is totally naked. She scrambles to hide from the sight of his penis. The scene is supposed to be cutesy and harmless. Churchill is just too busy to bother covering his privates with a towel. He is fighting to save the world from evil Hitler. His nudity means nothing, considering the circumstances. We are left to believe that the young woman understands that these kind of things happen when you are in the middle of making history.
But when I saw the scene in early October (this was before Weinstein's reputed bad habits became public), I thought: "That ain't right." The sight of this great man putting an ordinary woman in that situation made my insides cringe like crumpled tinfoil. Some in the audience laughed and accepted the whole cutesy coding. Some did not. Later, I talked about the scene with my partner; she also thought it was creepy. In a few months, that naked body would look like the one Salma Hayek claims Harvey wanted to show her in the shower. Or the one that Charlie Rose is accused of revealing from an "untethered bathrobe."
I'm almost certain that the bathroom scene in the Darkest Hour would not have made it into the final edit (or have even be shot) in our new cultural climate.