Golden Globes tokenism?

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Award ceremonies and politics go hand-in-hand

By Diane Cooke

The Golden Globes wear-black protest is not the first time that politics has hijacked an awards ceremony.

Dressing dark was also a theme of the 2003 Academy Awards which fell during the Iraq war. There was call for the ceremony to be cancelled and when it wasn't, the majority of the guests chose to wear black - including Nicole Kidman, who won Best Actress on the night.

"Why do you come to the Academy Awards when the world is in turmoil?" she asked in her acceptance speech. "Because art is important."

And while some actresses did wear colour, there were only 14 photographers on the red carpet (where usually there are hundreds) and no press.

Last year's Academy Awards ceremony saw actors and actresses wearing Planned Parenthood pins and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) blue ribbons following Donald Trump's travel ban, with safety pins being worn throughout the awards season in protest of his presidency.

Costume designer Lizzy Gardiner’s 1995 Oscars dress made out of American Express Gold credit cards, was interpreted as a comment on the excesses of Hollywood.

Cher’s shocking Bob Mackie outfit and Mohawk hairdo in 1986 was meant to spite the Academy, which had put out a memo that year asking actresses, who had been apparently slacking off by wearing too many pantsuits, to please dress appropriately.

“Basically, the whole notion of ‘political dressing’ has been part of awards season really since the beginning,” Bronwyn Cosgrave, author of “Made for Each Other: Fashion and the Academy Awards,” told The New York Post.

Red-carpet fashion, she adds, “has been political, it’s been environmental and it’s been [used] to champion health causes.”

In 1936, blue-eyed beauty Bette Davis scandalised studio execs when she stepped onstage to pick up her Best Actress Oscar in a defiantly dowdy outfit she plucked from the set of a movie called “Housewife.”

Tomboy Katharine Hepburn nearly caused a panic when she turned up at the 1974 Oscar ceremony in her “gardening clothes” and clogs, which reportedly had to be spray-painted black backstage in order to hide their actual dirt stains.

Cosgrave says that these fashion rebellions were feminist acts.

“That was at the root of certain women in the 1930s, like Bette Davis and Claudette Colbert, dressing down to go to the Oscars,” she says. “The Oscars were held at a time when they were off-duty, and they were sick of being ordered around by these studio-mogul bosses and didn’t feel like they had to show off to please them.”

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