Golden Globes 2018 pays tribute to strong women

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(CNN) — Hollywood didn't just show up Sunday night intent on making a statement about women — it also honored them.

The early winners of the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards represented women who played empowered characters.

The first award of the night went to Nicole Kidman, who won best actress in a limited series for her role in HBO's "Big Little Lies."

Kidman noted that her character's struggle with abuse is at the center of Hollywood's current conversation about the treatment of women.

"I do believe and I hope we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them," she said. "Let's keep the conversation alive."

Elisabeth Moss took home the award for best performance by actress in a TV drama for her starring role in the dystopian series, "The Handmaid's Tale."

Moss thanked Margaret Atwood, the author of the book the drama is based on, in a powerful speech that included her thoughts on female characters breaking through "the white space."

"We no longer live in the blank white spaces at the edge of print," Moss said. "We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the story and print and we are writing the story ourselves."

"The Handmaids Tale" also won for best TV drama.

Seth Meyers kicked off Sunday's ceremony getting laughs about Hollywood's major controversy.

The ceremony marks the unofficial beginning of the entertainment awards season, and this year the industry is grappling with more than issues of race and who will say what about President Donald Trump.

"For the male nominees in the room tonight, this is the first time in three months it won't be terrifying to hear your name read out loud," Meyers joked, referencing the climate in Hollywood following the flood of sexual misconduct allegations against former film mogul Harvey Weinstein and other prominent men.

"Harvey Weinstein isn't here tonight because, well, I've heard rumors he's crazy and difficult to work with," Meyers quipped. "But don't worry, he'll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the In Memoriam."

Sam Rockwell won the award for best supporting actor in a film for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" and Sterling K. Brown won best actor in a TV drama for "This is Us."

The ceremony comes at a time when the #MeToo movement, which has cast attention on sexual harassment, violence and gender inequality, has found champions among the stars and birthed Time's Up, a newly launched anti-sexual harassment and assault initiative organized by more than 1000 women in entertainment.

Women and men supporting the organization arrived to the Globes wearing black, many accessorizing with a pin featuring the Time's Up logo.

Related: The anti-harassment accessory you'll see on the red carpet at the Golden Globes

Prior to the start of Sunday's show, celebs took to social media to explain the importance of the black attire, using #WhyWeWearBlack.

Related: Women share #WhyWeWearBlack ahead of Golden Globes

Some, like "Being Mary Jane" star Gabrielle Union-Wade, shared personal messages about their connection to the movement,.

"#TimesUp #WhyWeWearBlack This year marked the 25th anniversary of my rape," she wrote on Instagram. "#MeToo I know I am not alone. Together we can eradicate sexual violence, harassment and abuse."

As for the actual awards, "The Shape of Water" leads with seven nominations, including best movie screenplay, best original score, best supporting actor and actress, best movie actress and best director.

Related: Golden Globe 2018 nominations - The list

In the television categories, the HBO drama "Big Little Lies" leads with six nominations.

The winners are determined by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a non-profit organization made up of about 90 international journalists.