They are separated by almost 40 years, grew up on different continents, and lead films that couldn’t be more different, but the two best actress winners at the Golden Globes Sunday, Frances McDormand, 60, and Saoirse Ronan, 23, agreed that the night was something special — the awards themselves were just almost a sideshow.
McDormand, who won for portraying the vengeful and grieving mother of a daughter who was raped and murdered in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, said that while she keeps her politics private that, “It was really great to be in this room tonight and to be part of the tectonic shift in our industry’s power structure.”
“Trust me,” McDormand continued, “The women in this room tonight are not here for the food. We are here for the work.”
She won her first individual Golden Globe ever in the best actress in a drama category over Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Meryl Streep (The Post) and Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World).
Backstage when a reporter asked McDormand if there was any danger of Hollywood returning to its old ways, McDormand said sternly, “What do you think?”
“No, there’s no going back,” she said eventually. “Go forward. In the best possible way.”
Lady Bird star Saoirse Ronan, meanwhile, also picked up her first Golden Globe win for best actress in a musical or comedy Sunday night.
“I wanted to say how inspirational it has been to be here tonight,” Ronan said in a short and sweet speech, where she also said “Hi” to her mother in Ireland, not on TV, but on FaceTime on a personal phone that someone in the audience held up to the podium. She hugged her movie mom, Laurie Metcalf, as she made her way to the stage.
Ronan plays the title character in the Greta Gerwig-written and directed coming-of-age film Lady Bird, about a teenage girl in her last year of high school in Sacramento in 2002. The film also won best musical or comedy.
“It’s an incredibly special thing to have a character like this exist now finally,” Ronan said backstage, alongside Gerwig.
Ronan, who had previously picked up nominations for Brooklyn and Atonement, was up against Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes), Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul) and Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker).