We’re officially entering the most pretentious time of year: the entertainment industry’s awards season! This is the time when our favorite narcissistic celebrities hold lavish parties and don glamorous dresses so they can congratulate each other on their artistic achievements during the previous year. If that isn’t bad enough, they also use these televised affairs as a platform (because their usual soap boxes aren’t large enough) to “educate” the rest of us peons about their favorite political causes of the moment.
Fortunately, agriculture isn’t spared from this education. I say “fortunately,” because who better to teach us about farming and the environment than celebrities who fly to these shows in private jets so they can avoid leaving the big cities where they reside.
No doubt this year’s Golden Globe Awards will, yet again, be a source of inspiration and wisdom. If you don’t know (and I didn’t), this award show honors the best in film and American television, as decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (I have no idea what that means either). The 80th anniversary of the show will air on January 10 (I’ve definitely canceled my plans for the evening).
To celebrate these decades of celebrities celebrating other celebrities, I wanted to hand out a few awards of my own related to the big event. So without further ado …
The Most-Virtue-Signaling Award goes to … the 2020 Golden Globe dinner!
In 2020, the GG went where no other awards show has ever gone — vegan! A menu centered on fish was scrapped at the last minute to make sure it had no meat, dairy, or eggs. Instead, our entertainment elite were served an appetizer of chilled golden beet soup, with locally grown chervil and amaranth, followed by a main dish of king oyster mushrooms with wild-mushroom risotto, roasted baby purple and green Brussels sprouts, carrots, and pea tendrils.
As HFPA President Lorenzo Soria told The Hollywood Reporter, the association wanted to highlight the climate crisis and focus on what all of us can do. But they must have missed the memo: Even if all Americans ditched animal proteins, it would reduce the U.S.’ carbon emissions by just 2.6 percent (and the nutritional costs would be far greater). That makes sense because transportation, industry, and electricity represent 79 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions.
So while the risotto was probably nice, maybe HFPA should have mandated carpooling instead.
The Most Virtue-Signaling Honorable Mention goes to … Joaquin Phoenix.
Phoenix is a lifetime vegan. Like all good vegans, he has to remind you of that fact.
During his 2020 acceptance speech, he thanked the association for its all-vegan dinner, admitted maybe private jets weren’t appropriate (but took one anyway …), and vowed to wear the same tux to another awards show. The sacrifice!
He wasn’t done that year, though, because he doubled-down during his Oscars speech, specifically bashing the dairy industry.
The Lamest After Party goes to … the 2015 Golden Globe Awards Style Lounge!
I’m not invited to these glitzy affairs, but I understand that this group called Secret Room Events hosts style lounges where celebrities are lavished with expensive new products and exotic trips.
In 2015, Secret Room Events chose Farm Sanctuary as its featured “charity” (I guess we use that word really loosely …). The radical animal-rights group, which received donations from the event, focuses its work on “rescuing” farm animals (we call that theft where I’m from), and aims to end farm-animal cruelty (which they define as any animal living on a farm).
The Exception-to-the-Rule Award goes to … the (Farmworker) #MeToo Movement
All joking aside for this one, there was an exception to the ridiculous celebrity hubris related to agriculture (well, kinda… ). In 2018, the #MeToo Movement was at its peak, with women in Hollywood donning all black to express their solidarity. A number of A-list stars — including Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, and Emma Stone — asked women leading efforts to prevent sexual assault against female farm workers as their plus one.
It was certainly a nice gesture, and perhaps raised some awareness of the issue. Sexual assault isn’t tolerable in Hollywood or in the field. Unfortunately, these efforts were short lived. The reality is that we fail women farmworkers with our broken immigration system that leaves them vulnerable to perpetrators and afraid of law enforcement. Those stars were happy to look like they cared, but five years later and nothing has changed.
I would elaborate on the issue, but the background music is getting louder and telling me my acceptance speech is over — kinda like the sincerity of these stars to actually make a difference.
Amanda Zaluckyj blogs under the name The Farmer’s Daughter USA. Her goal is to promote farmers and tackle the misinformation swirling around the U.S. food industry.