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81st Golden Globes: 'Oppenheimer' dominates, 'Poor Things' upsets 'Barbie'

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Controversies and scandal. Those were the backstories leading into Hollywood's first post-strike red carpet extravaganza last night. We're talking about the 81st Golden Globes, where the big awards went to many of the season's critical darlings in TV and film.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE 81ST GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

UNIDENTIFIED PRESENTER: And the Golden Globe goes to "The Bear."

SARAH RAFFERTY: And the Golden Globe goes to...

GABRIEL MACHT, PATRICK ADAMS, SARAH RAFFERTY AND GINA TORRES: ..."Succession."

OPRAH WINFREY: And the Golden Globe goes to "Oppenheimer."

(APPLAUSE)

MARTIN: NPR senior culture editor Bilal Qureshi is with us to talk about the return of the Globes. Bilal, thank you for staying up because, you know, I didn't.

BILAL QURESHI, BYLINE: Thank you, Michel. Yes, I did have the distinct pleasure of staying up and watching.

MARTIN: Well, was it, though? And you're going to tell us about that. All right. Let me just set the table just to remind people this was the first big test of what I guess we'll call the Golden Globes brand after being essentially canceled for problems with inclusion and corruption, which were exposed by the Los Angeles Times but now revamped, redesigned, moved to CBS. So was last night a successful reboot?

QURESHI: I mean, as for the awards, let's talk honestly say that was - that's up in the air. I think the much larger celebrity ecosystem that powers awards season - shiny actors, couture, social media discourse, memes - that was all definitely back following the long strike in Hollywood last summer. And after a banner year for the box office, this was the first time that, since the strike, many of the casts, including from movies like "Barbie" and "Killers Of The Flower Moon," walked the red carpets together. So I think audience excitement and celebrity shininess clearly drove a lot more attention to the Globes than they may have deserved. The show itself was kind of a snooze. And the host was a bit of a misfire.

MARTIN: Ooh, sad.

QURESHI: So we can get into that.

MARTIN: I definitely want to get into that. But before that, talk about the winners.

QURESHI: For the TV side, the night belonged to the final season of "Succession," Season 2 of "The Bear." And in the always-competitive limited series category, that went to Netflix's "Beef." On the movie side, "The Holdovers" stars - Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Paul Giamatti - picked up two of the big acting awards. And "Oppenheimer," there were acting awards as well for Robert Downey Jr. and Cillian Murphy. And Native actress Lily Gladstone won for her lead performance in "Killers Of The Flower Moon." And here's some of her really incredible speech, which she began in the Blackfeet language.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE 81ST GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

LILY GLADSTONE: In this business, Native actors used to speak their lines in English, and then the sound mixers would run them backwards to accomplish Native languages on camera. This is an historic win.

QURESHI: And that was a good kind of historic win. Another big moment here was a new category that the Globes introduced for best cinematic and box office achievement, basically for films that made more than $100 million. And that's why Taylor Swift was in the audience, because her Eras Tour film was nominated. But that rather capitalist version of best picture ultimately went to "Barbie."

MARTIN: OK. Speaking of "Barbie," is there a sense that this is a preview of the upcoming Oscars race?

QURESHI: You know, the Globes have always been, Michel, a kind of somewhat unreliable bellwether for what's going to happen in the Oscars race, which is about to begin with the nominations very soon. But that's definitely one of the biggest questions of the awards season. Is this all going to be a replay of Barbenheimer summer? But "Oppenheimer" really dominated the awards. It won, you know, acting awards, the directing prize and the big sort of movie prize of the night.

MARTIN: OK. But you sound like you didn't love it, Bilal. So - sounds like you're a little down on it. So why don't you just tell us a little bit more?

QURESHI: I think the jokes were just off. I think the - a lot of the audience, which is meant to be visible, was not really responding well. So I think, you know, an uneventful relaunch for the Globes.

MARTIN: All right. That is NPR's Bilal Qureshi. Bilal, thank you.

QURESHI: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.