George Clooney received the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award in recognition for a lifetime of achievements, but in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, Hollywood’s leading man chose to highlight the achievements of thousands of people marching in Paris as part of the “Je Suis Charlie” protest. While both he and his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, wore “Je Suis Charlie” buttons on the red carpet and many celebrities had signs with the now famous statement of solidarity, little of the red carpet coverage covered the important statement in a meaningful way. One particularly awkward interview between Clooney and E!’s Giuliana Rancic featured tequila shots and made no mention of the Paris movement, nor the actor’s obvious support. The redeeming moment came during his acceptance speech, where he took the platform given him to pay tribute to those marching in Paris.
The Golden Globes is not an activist forum. It is a place where style, celebrity, popularity and paparazzi come together to reinforce the glamour of Hollywood and its people. Stars like Benedict Cumberbatch, Meryl Streep and Clooney himself line the red carpet to be seen, not to preach about their pet causes. But while people were fawning over high-powered personalities, thousands were marching in Paris to make the statement that they are not afraid and that they are united against violent extremism.
Clooney and his wife are both famous as much for their activism and charitable work as they are for their beauty and star power. Unlike the anonymous marchers in Paris, their names attract the attention of thousands simply by being famous. But given the perfect platform to reach out to millions at the Golden Globes, George Clooney and his wife both highlighted “Je Suis Charlie” with their style and with his acceptance speech. In what has to be one of the most eloquent and pitch perfect speeches ever given at the awards show, Clooney wrapped up by acknowledging and commending the marchers in Paris. “They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear,” he told the cameras and gathered celebrities. “So, je suis Charlie.”
He was not overbearing. He did not belabor the point. Instead, Clooney said what he might have said to any of the marchers if the two of them were alone together in a room. It was well said and, yes, classy. But it was just one bright spot in the coverage he and Amal Alamuddin received at the event. Other parts of their journey up the red carpet were laced with inappropriate stunts and all around bad taste.
Ryan Seacrest, who is not exactly known for being the classiest act, approached the newlyweds with “Game Over” t-shirts, as if Clooney must be sad to be married, instead of elated. It was a humiliating stunt to pull on anyone, let alone a new bride who is now the wife of one of the most famous bachelors in the world. Clooney also spoke about the matter of his marriage in his acceptance speech in words that every partner wants to hear said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.” Take that, Seacrest.
Giuliana Rancic pulled the duo over and asked them to take a shot of tequila with her. Apparently, Clooney has his own brand of tequila and she was trying to spotlight that in her interview. Instead, it was just awkward as both Clooney and Amal Alamuddin had to decline due to presenting duties and perhaps just because they did not want one. Meanwhile, the newlyweds wore “Je Suis Charlie” buttons and not a word was said about that. Between Seacrest and Rancic, it seems as though the importance of world events was lost on the fawning crowds of air-headed interviewers.
No, the Golden Globes is not a protest march or a rally for a cause. It is by nature a self congratulatory thing set up for people in Hollywood by people in Hollywood for Hollywood’s own benefit. But George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin classed up one of the classiest events in tinseltown, not with their clothes or stunning good looks, but with their acknowledgment of events that are bigger than them or anything in entertainment. By highlighting the importance of “Je Suis Charlie” to the world in his acceptance speech, George Clooney did something great at the Golden Globes and it definitely was not his interviews on the red carpet.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury
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