AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
It was a night of surprising wins and snubs at the Golden Globes, leaving many viewers either puzzled, outraged or both. Now, to help us make sense of last night, we brought in NPR's Linda Holmes. Hey there, Linda.
LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.
CORNISH: And joining us also is Aisha Harris, culture editor of The New York Times. Hey there, Aisha.
AISHA HARRIS: Hi, Audie.
CORNISH: So to start, Linda, every year people are like, what were they thinking at the Golden Globes?
CORNISH: Who votes? And why is it always puzzling to us what they like?
HOLMES: Well, it's a fairly small group of 90 or so journalists from outlets not based in the United States. And none of them are Oscar voters, which explains kind of part of why it often isn't a good predictor of the Oscars.
CORNISH: But it's still part of an Oscar campaign, right? Like, people wanna do well there because it puts your name out there in the conversation all over again. Or you can be snubbed, like apparently "A Star Is Born," which is kind of what happened last night.
HOLMES: Right. Other than "Shallow," the song, it did not - didn't really make any big ones.
CORNISH: So here's actor Bill Murray announcing the award for best picture, musical or comedy.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
BILL MURRAY: Oh, God. The winner is "Green Book."
CORNISH: OK so I'm not going to try and translate what that, oh, God meant.
HOLMES: Never try and translate Bill Murray.
CORNISH: I do know "Green Book" has been criticized for its portrayal of the black concert pianist Donald Shirley. His family says the movie doesn't reflect his story. There's been criticism of the politics of the film. Aisha Harris, are you surprised?
HARRIS: I'm not too surprised just because I do think that this kind of plays into a lot of the things we've seen in the past that voters tend to go for. It has this faux progressive tone to it about the way in which race can be overcome by just becoming friends with a person of another race. And I think Peter Farrelly, the director, his speech compounded that last night when he talked about how we all have something in common, and we should be able to get over these things. I don't think that helped his case. But I do think that that probably played into a factor of why it won.
CORNISH: The second film that did well last night was "Bohemian Rhapsody," which is about the band Queen. It had to cut ties with its director Bryan Singer before production ended. He has been accused of sexual misconduct. And he made a statement of sorts - right? - after the winners were announced. Linda, tell us what happened.
HOLMES: Well, he had a picture of himself that he posted saying, you know, thank you for recognizing me. And he's sitting in a director chair. It's really unusual to have the lead actor in a film, Rami Malek in this case, accept an award for his lead performance, and the film accept for best drama picture, and nobody mentions the director.
CORNISH: Right. And he sort of drew a line under it by making this kind of public comment.
HOLMES: He sure did.
CORNISH: On a more positive note, actress Regina King won best supporting actress for her performance in the film "If Beale Street Could Talk." And she went up on stage and made a pledge that women would make up 50 percent of her productions for the next two years.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
REGINA KING: Anyone out there who is in a position of power - not just in our industry, in all industries - I challenge you to challenge yourself and stand with us in solidarity and do the same.
CORNISH: Aisha Harris, looking back at 2018, was it a good year for women behind the camera?
HARRIS: I think there were definitely some some highs and then also some disappointing lows. I think when I think about some of the movies that were most praised especially by critics - even if they didn't necessarily find an audience, all of those films were directed by women. I think about something like "The Rider," which was directed by Chloe Zao, and Tamara Jenkins, who directed a "Private Life." There were a lot of movies that I think were critically praised. And then you also had something like "A Wrinkle In Time," which was directed by Ava DuVernay. She was the first woman of color to direct a $100 million-budgeted movie. And unfortunately it just didn't quite connect with audiences. And so I think there were definitely some high points but also some low points as well.
CORNISH: When it comes to Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg hosting, I'm not hearing bad news, so to speak, right? People are kind of like, you know, no news is good news in this situation.
HARRIS: Hosting is really hard.
CORNISH: It's such a hard gig, which brings me to the Oscars because for the last month people have been debating the host there. Kevin Hart stepped down after a big outcry when people brought up his past homophobic tweets. Ellen DeGeneres tried to step in with a lengthy interview and trying to revive the effort to have him host. Aisha, where do things stand now?
HARRIS: It seems like the Oscars still does not have a host. My sense is that when they do, if they were to have a host, they would immediately announce it because it is kind of embarrassing at this point to be so close to the Oscar nominations and not have anyone who will be hosting.
CORNISH: Linda, do the Oscars even need a host?
HOLMES: I think it's less that the Oscars need a host and more that going without a host this year would indicate basically that they couldn't find anyone...
CORNISH: Who would even want to do it.
HOLMES: ...Who would even want to do it. And I think it doesn't necessarily hurt the Oscars not to have a host. But it would hurt them to have it appear to be a gig that nobody wants because it's supposed to be this really high-profile, kind of cherry on top of your career to host the Oscars. And to get to the point where nobody wants to do it, when the Oscars are kind of dropping in relevance anyway for a variety of reasons, I think it's a blow to them on a PR level if they come out and just say, we're just going to not have a host because we can't find anybody who's not going to get us in trouble who wants to do it.
CORNISH: That's Linda Holmes, host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. Thanks, Linda.
HOLMES: Thank you, Audie.
CORNISH: And Aisha Harris, culture editor for The New York Times, thank you for joining us.
HARRIS: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF FETE'S "ISLANDS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.