But for many, dark attire wouldn’t be the only statement of the night. Instead of discussing who they were wearing, stars used their few minutes in front of the camera to take on the issues. Here’s what they had to say. (This post will update.)
“Will & Grace” actress Debra Messing kicked off the red carpet by criticizing E! For paying “E! News” co-host Catt Sadler less than her male counterpart.
“We want diversity, we want intersectional gender parity, we want equal pay,” Messing told Giuliana Rancic. “I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts. I miss Catt Sadler, and so we stand with her.”
Meryl Streep, nominated for her performance in “The Post,” told Ryan Seacrest, “People are aware now of a power imbalance, and it’s something that has led to abuse. It’s led to abuse in our own industry, and to abuse among the domestic workers field of work. It’s in the military, it’s in Congress. It’s everywhere.”
“Glow” actress Alison Brie took a wide step for the cameras to show that what appeared to be a black dress was actually a jumpsuit.
“Tonight is about women wearing the pants so I chose to literally wear the pants,” Brie said. She told Giuliana Rancic that she wanted to represent not only women who are speaking up, but those who don’t have a voice.
“A lot of people might think black is a somber color, but the atmosphere here is so celebratory, so empowering,” she said. “And that’s what I’m about, baby.’
“It’s really powerful to be on the red carpet tonight, and for people like Michelle to be selfless enough to give up their time to talk about our causes,” Burke said.
Ryan Seacrest tried to pay some accolades to Michelle Williams’s acting prowess, but the “All the Money in the World” actress kept bringing the attention back to Burke.
“Thank you so much, but really the most exciting thing is I thought I would have to raise my daughter to learn how to protect herself in a dangerous world,” Williams told Seacrest, “and I think because of the work that Tarana has done and the work that I’m learning how to do, we actually have the opportunity to hand our children a different world. So I am moved beyond measure to be standing next to this woman. I have tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.”
Williams was one of many actresses who chose to use their plus-ones to elevate the voice of activists. “Big Little Lies” star Laura Dern was accompanied by Mónica Ramírez, the co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas and an activist dedicated to ending gender-based violence in the workplace. “It’s time for us to make a difference,” Dern said. “And everyone can make a difference.”
Emma Watson arrived with activist and Imkaan executive director Marai Larasi. “We’re wearing black in solidarity,” Watson said. “It makes me really emotional, actually, thinking about the fact that this moment that we’ve put together is across industries. It’s across communities, it’s across spaces.”
Emma Stone, nominated for best actress in a comedy/musical for her role as Billie Jean King in “Battle of the Sexes,” brought King herself to the red carpet.
NBC host Natalie Morales called King “the OG of gender inequality,” for battling sexism as a tennis legend. King noted that “every generation has to fight for equality and freedom forever,” and that now the baton is passed to Stone’s generation.
Presenter Sarah Jessica Parker spoke of her involvement with Time’s Up as a “very fortunate bandwagon jumper.”
“I think for all of us,” she said, “whether we’ve been involved for weeks or days, to see this robust, enthusiastic stand of solidarity by so many, it shows that not only is the conversation timely, but the basic ideas — the ideas of equality, parity and safe work environments — are not controversial. We just have to get the work done.”
“Scandal” actress Kerry Washington addressed a criticism voiced by many on Twitter — that it might have been more effective for Time’s Up supporters to skip the awards show altogether.
“We shouldn’t have to sit out the night,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to give up our seats at the table, our voice in the industry.”
On the sets of showrunner Shonda Rhimes’s series, Washington said, powerful women work side by side every day.
“It’s how we roll at the Globes this year, but we stand in solidarity all the time in Shondaland.”
Fellow member of “Shondaland,” star Viola Davis responded to concerns that Hollywood can be “out of touch at times.”
“For me, I’m here because I hear the voices of women who said, ‘Me too,’ which one of them was me,” she told Al Roker. “I hear those voices, those people who are nameless, faceless every day, who don’t have a platform to talk about their sexual assault and rape. I hear those voices.”
As stars filed into the Beverly Hilton, Neil Patrick Harris asked a question likely on the minds of many: How will this moment continue once the show begins? The Golden Globes atmosphere, he said, usually feels more like a lighthearted roast.
“But given this year, all the stuff happening on the carpet and in the world is that appropriate?”
Emily Yahr and Elahe Izadi contributed to this report.