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In awe of Oprah’s potent speech at the Golden Globes

By: - Columnist
/ 12:43 AM January 11, 2018

Oprah Winfrey delivered a moving, powerful speech as this year’s Cecile B. DeMille awardee. —PHOTO BY FILBERT KUNG

LOS ANGELES—Inside the International Ballroom of The Beverly Hilton last Sunday night, I glanced every now and then at the teleprompter as Oprah Winfrey delivered her moving, powerful speech. Doing so made me appreciate even more the remarks of Oprah in accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.

The iconic actress, producer, talk show guru and philanthropist spontaneously added or dropped a few words here and there that further enhanced the power of her speech against abuse and injustice. But what struck me as I read along with Oprah was her ability to pause at just the right places.


If Oprah electrified the millions of viewers at home, you can just imagine the raw power of the talk show guru’s words inside the ballroom, packed with the finest talents in film and television.

And to think that Meryl Streep’s impassioned speech calling out then President-elect Donald Trump last year seemed a tough one to follow. Meryl’s speech when she accepted the same honor went viral.


But Oprah’s well-known public speaking skills, matched by her speech’s content that was both personal and potent, made the Cecil B. DeMille awarding moment once more the highlight of the show that honors excellence in film and television.

“Big Little Lies” winners (from left): Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley —FILBERT KUNG

In a time when women issues are dominating the public discussion and advocacy groups like #MeToo and #TimesUp are on the rise, Oprah made the perfect recipient for one of the Globes’ biggest awards. It was serendipitous that she was the first black woman to receive the honor.

The night also marked the first time that an Asian-American bagged the best actor in a series musical or comedy honors—Aziz Ansari for “Master of None.”

Seth Meyers made a fitting choice as the show’s host in an era when sexual allegations are rocking Hollywood. How do you handle that serious topic in awards shows like the Globes and Oscars?

Presenter Angelina Jolie (right) high-fives best actress-drama winner Frances McDormand. —PHOTO BY HFPA

Seth capably addressed that by quipping, “By the way, a special hello to hosts of other upcoming awards shows who are watching me tonight—like the first dog they shot into outer space.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Fil-Am Darren Criss was one of the first to arrive on the red carpet awash in black because of the Time’s Up wear-black mandate to show solidarity for harassment victims. Darren said he was grateful to be asked to present along with his “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” costars: Ricky Martin, Penélope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez.

Speaking of Penélope, she, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Saoirse Ronan and Allison Janney stood out in that sea of black.


Among the men, Armie Hammer, Common, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor and Kit Harington impressed with mostly black-on-black ensembles.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” winners (from left): Martin McDonagh, Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand, Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin —PHOTO BY FILBERT KUNG

Fil-Am Robert “Bobby” Lopez, best song nominee for “Remember Me” from “Coco” with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, looked dapper in a hand-dyed piña tuxedo by Oliver Tolentino.

While many A-listers talked to the red carpet media line, Meryl waved at the fans on the bleachers and at the reporters clamoring to interview her. She and her entourage walked briskly into the lobby and into the ballroom.

As usual, I sat inside the ballroom just a few minutes before the show began because I had to work. So I missed the fancy dinner and chomped on Rice Krispies bars that I tucked in the pocket of my Oliver Tolentino tuxedo jacket. The black-and-white, ethnic-inspired tux jacket by the Hollywood-based Filipino designer drew a lot of admiring comments on the red carpet.

Best actress musical or drama victor Saoirse Ronan—PHOTO BYHFPA

I had the pleasure of sitting on a table that included two Miss Universe beauties. My friend and colleague Margaret Gardiner, who was the first Miss Universe from South Africa, invited Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the first South African to win the title since Margaret did in 1978.

I also sat with my own guests, Marlo and Flora Ramos and LA-based Filipino designer, Puey Quiñones. Our other guests in this special edition of the Globes were Rene Durian and Narciso Chan, who flew from Manila, and Jerry Sibal and Edwin Josue, who jetted from New York.

E-mail [email protected] Follow him at

James Franco, best actor comedy

Catherine Zeta-Jones —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Gary Oldman, best actor drama

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TAGS: 75th Golden Globe Awards, Cecil B. DeMille Award, Oprah
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