Even before the 2017 Golden Globe Awards kicked off, the show had already made history: the 74th edition had the most racially diverse nominees ever, according to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. That feat—though far from perfection, in which it wouldn't be a feat at all—was enough to inspire President Barack Obama to congratulate this year's nominees in a letter printed in the program of the show at the Beverly Hilton. "Using the big and small screens to bring diverse tales to life, actors and actresses and creative visionaries behind the scenes have inspired us to find deeper meaning in our shared humanity," POTUS wrote. "By enabling us to see ourselves in each other and creating a space for the many narratives that reflect our rich and collective history, they remind us of the power of our voices and ideas and the ways they can shape our world for the better." Obama's words set the tone for the rest of the evening, where a handful of celebrities used their stage time to be a megaphone for marginalized voices. Whether it was Tracee Ellis Ross inspiring people of color to tell their stories or Meryl Streep standing up for the disabled and for those from countries other than the United States, this year's Golden Globes raised the bar for how woke an awards show can be. Here are some of the most diverse moments from the show.
1. The Red Carpet
As history has shown, the red carpet at Hollywood awards shows is often no more than a mediocre parade of pageant gowns. But thanks in large part to some of this year's diverse nominees and attendees, this year it was actually interesting. Janelle Monae wore her jewels in her hair, instead of on her person, while Viola Davis continued her unstoppable streak. Not to mention, Kerry Washington, Ruth Nega, Priyanka Chopra and Simone Biles—yes, the gymnast—arrived at the show looking like they were the actual awards.
2. Tracee Ellis Ross' Speech
It was only Tracee Ellis Ross' first time at the Golden Globe Awards, but you would never have guessed that from her powerful speech. When the actress won Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical for her hit show Black-ish, as the first black woman to win since Debbie Allen in 1983, Ross took her moment to shine a light on all of the underrepresented in Hollywood. "This is for all of the women, women of color, and colorful people, whose stories, ideas, thoughts, are not always considered worthy and valid and important," she said. "But I want you to know that I see you. We see you. It is an honor to be on this show, "Black-ish," to continue expanding the way we are seen and known, and to show the magic and the beauty and the sameness of a story and stories that are outside of where the industry usually looks.”
3. Atlanta's Win
Likewise Donald Glover, who delivered one of the best speeches of the night—if not THE best for fans of Migos—used his platform to be a voice for others. "I really want to thank 'Atlanta' and all black folks, for real… for just being alive," he said when his FX show won Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy.
4. The People v. O.J. Simpson's Wins
Not only did Sarah Paulson, a female actress in a relationship with another female actress, Holland Taylor, win an award for Best Actress in a Limited Series, her TV series The People v. O.J. Simpson gave us one of the evening's most timely speeches. "The trial of O.J. Simpson turned tragedy into entertainment, reminding us that American justice is anything but blind when race, gender and celebrity are involved," said executive producer Nina Jacobson when accepting the award. "When working on the show, we had no idea how painfully relevant those themes would be in 2016."
5. Viola Davis' Speech
If there was one star of the evening, it would be Viola Davis. Her first trip up to the 2017 stage was to collect her award for Best Supporting Actress in Fences, and she used made the moment bigger than herself. Davis devoted her acceptance speech to praising the film for doing the work all cinema should do: to tell the stories that don't usually get told. "It's not everyday that Hollywood thinks of translating a play to screen," she said. "It doesn't scream money maker, you know? But it does scream art. It does scream heart."
6. Viola Davis and Meryl Streep's Friendship
7. Meryl Streep's Speech
Whatever cliches you normally hear during a lifetime award acceptance speech were nowhere to be found in Meryl Streep's. When the actress took the microphone after accepting the the Cecil B. DeMille Award, she turned the attention away from herself and onto the country. Streep defended the disabled, specifically New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski who president-elect Donald Trump mocked. “There was one performance this year that stunned me — it sank its hooks in my heart," she said. "Not because it was good, there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was the moment where the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of head because it wasn’t a movie, it was real life. This instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everybody’s life because it gives permission for other people to do the same. Disrespect invited disrespect, violence incites violence, and when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.” Streep also spoke out for non-Americans. "Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick them all out, you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts," she said to huge applause from the room," she said, delivering the biggest mic drop of the night.
8. Claire Foy's Speech
It wasn't just the large moments though that gave the Golden Globes more perspectives than your usual awards show. One of the quieter empowering events to happen was when Claire Foy accepted the award for Best Actress in a Television Drama for her role on Netflix's The Crown. "She has been at the center of the world for the past 63 years," Foy said of her character Queen Elizabeth II, "and I think the world could do with a few more women at the center of it, if you ask me."
9. Moonlight's Win
Moonlight may not have won Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama or Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama, but it did take home the arguably most important title of all: Best Motion Picture - Drama. Its win was a win for everyone else who's ever felt like an outsider and whose heart has broken watching others be made to feel that way. "We have to give people things not to escape to — there's a place for that — but reaffirm that if you feel something, you should speak it, and people will be there to hear it," said director-screenwriter Barry Jenkins after the show. Now that story will be heard by a larger audience.