Hollywood’s biggest stars rally behind press freedom
BEVERLY HILLS – The deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and press freedom stood out in the minds of Hollywood’s A-list at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, held (Monday in Manila) at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) president Theo Kingma received a standing ovation when he delivered a speech mentioning the recent Paris attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Sony cyberattack. HFPA produces the annual glitzy event watched by tens of millions worldwide.
“The freedom of artistic expression… is a beacon across the globe… We stand united everywhere from North Korea to Paris,” he said.
George Clooney, who was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the world of entertainment, was one of several stars who onstage said, “Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie),” the international rallying cry in support of the French publication.
On the red carpet, Helen Mirren wore a pen brooch on her dress to express her support for the victims of the Jan. 7 attacks. Clooney’s wife, human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, carried a white clutch showing off a button that read, “Je suis Charlie.”
Jared Leto paid tribute to the victims before presenting the Golden Globe for best supporting actress in a movie.
“To our brothers, sisters, friends and families in France, our thoughts, our prayers, our hearts are with you tonight,” Leto said. “On vous aime. Je suis Charlie.”
While accepting his award, Clooney applauded the demonstrations in Paris.
“Today was an extraordinary day,” Clooney said. “There were millions of people that marched — not just in Paris but around the world. They were Christians and Jews and Muslims; they were leaders of countries all over the world … They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. Je suis Charlie.”
More than three million people have taken part in unity marches across France after 17 people were killed and 11 others were injured in attacks that police said were carried out in retaliation for Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
On Sunday, more than 40 world leaders joined an estimated 1.6 million people who marched on the streets of the French capital.
“The Golden Globes is usually all glitz and glamour, but tonight it took on a socially relevant issue that resonated with so many in the audience,” said former HFPA Board Chair and Inquirer columnist Ruben Nepales.
“As Theo (Kingma) said, we stand united from North Korea to Paris – and that includes the Philippines, where many journalists have been killed.”
More than 170 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
Last week, Nerlita “Nerlie” Ledesma became the first journalist murdered in the Philippines in 2015.
In contrast with the somber tone of Kingma’s speech, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who hosted the Golden Globes on Sunday for their third and last time, made jokes about the cyberattack on Sony, which the US government has said originated in North Korea.
Gina Rodriguez, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy, talked about her recent trip to the Philippines to promote her critically acclaimed show, Jane the Virgin, which was renewed for a second season.
“The Philippines was awesome,” she said in an interview backstage. (The Filipinos’) graciousness and hospitality made me feel right at home. I’d love to go back in a heartbeat.”
At another red-carpet event in 2014, Rodriguez wore a gown created by LA-based Filipino-American designer Oliver Tolentino.
Tolentino and Francis Libiran, one of the Philippines’ top designers, were among the Filipinos spotted at the awards event.
Libiran and his manager and business partner Arsi Baltazar, who wore gold-colored shoes on the red carpet, are in LA to explore expanding their operations to include the US market.
Multi-awarded journalist and HFPA member Janet Nepales, who wore a Michael Cinco gown, said she was happy to be able to help promote Filipino designers in Hollywood, including Allan del Rosario.
“I’m looking forward to seeing celebrities wear Filipino-designed gowns,” she said.
Also invited to the exclusive awards event were top Fil-Am hair stylist Monet Lu and Richard and Phoebe Lim, owners of the Eskaya Resort in Bohol province, where the Hollywood film, “Amigo,” was shot.
“We hope to attract more tourists, especially Hollywood stars, so they can see and experience the beauty of the Philippines,” said Richard Lim.
Ted Benito, Fil-Am community leader and staunch supporter of Filipino talents, said it has been inspiring to see how Hollywood trailblazers Ruben and Janet Nepales promote fellow Filipinos and the Philippine brand in Hollywood.
The Nepales couple were also instrumental in the release of HFPA’s $100,000 donation to Unicef Philippines for typhoon relief efforts in 2014.