One topic ran through the Golden Globes awards presentation last night: women.  And refreshingly, the speeches that touched on gender issues didn’t bemoan women’s underrepresentation in the media or in other parts of society, but they recognized how far women have come. Instead of focusing on the hurdles that women may face, the night was about celebrating the female characters who overcome.

Amy Adams won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role in “Big Eyes.” Although the accomplished movie star admitted that she didn’t prepare well for her acceptance speech, she did focus on the impact that women’s portrayal in film and TV was having on her daughter:

I feel so fortunate to be here and fortunate to play Margaret Keane, a woman who had such a quiet voice and such a strong heart and such a strong artistic vision and ultimately was able to use her voice. I’m lucky because I get to stand here tonight with a man who stands beside me, who would never silence my voice… I’m so lucky I have so many wonderful female role models here tonight looking out in the audience… It’s just so wonderful that women today have such a strong voice. And I have a 4-and-a-half-year-old, and I’m so grateful to have all the women in this room. You speak to her so loudly. She watches everything, and she sees everything, and I’m just so grateful to all the women in this room who have such a lovely, beautiful voice and speaking to my daughter. Thank you so much.

For her role in “The Honorable Woman,” Maggie Gyllenhaal won Best Actress in a Mini-Series. She also had some insightful comments about women’s performances:

I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about the wealth of roles for powerful women in television lately, and when I look around the room at the women who are in here and I think about the performances I’ve watched this year, what I see actually, are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not, and what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That’s what I think is revolutionary and evolutionary and it’s what’s turning me on.

Interestingly, a few other “women’s issues” got mentioned during the course of the night. Patricia Arquette, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role as a single mother in “Boyhood,” said she felt the role allowed her to pay tribute to her own mother. Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt gracefully and beautifully commented on the difficult topic of sexual assault. And marriage got a shout-out at the awards show too, ironically Sarah Treem, the creator of Showtime’s “The Affair:”

If I have learned anything from writing a series about an affair, it’s how sacred and valuable and essential our marriages are.

Overall, it was a great awards night for women, as actors, as viewers, and as all the roles we play, on and off the silver screen.