SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:
Tonight the Golden Globe Awards are being handed out in Beverly Hills with Ricky Gervais back to host what tends to be one of the wilder nights in the awards season. The nominees include some industry stalwarts like Martin Scorsese and streaming stars like "Fleabag's" Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Here to tell us what to look for is our pop culture correspondent Linda Holmes. Hi, Linda.
LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Hi, Sarah.
MCAMMON: OK, so big picture - how do the Globes fit into the awards season? I mean, they seem less important than the Oscars but maybe more important than some other shows. How big a deal is this?
HOLMES: Well, the Golden Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It's like 90-ish journalists from around the world who cover entertainment. Sometimes, they make a lot of really interesting and good choices. Sometimes, they make just a lot of strange choices. The ceremony does have a reputation for being what you might call, like, the tipsy Oscars.
HOLMES: It's a little drunker. It's a little looser. I suspect, you know, that the heavy week of news that we've had may sober up some of these shows a little bit. It really depends on the mood in the room. They're not particularly good Oscar predictors, but they sometimes - you know, because of their position in the season, about a month ahead of the Oscars, sometimes, they provide a little momentum.
MCAMMON: A little clue, maybe. So in terms of the actual winners, what are you looking for going into the Golden Globes this year?
HOLMES: The big story coming out of the nominations was Netflix, which, in addition to all of its television nominations, actually led the movie nominations this year. Out of the 10 best motion picture candidates - they have five in comedy and five in drama - four are Netflix movies - the Eddie Murphy comedy "Dolemite Is My Name" and then the dramas "Marriage Story," "The Irishman" and "The Two Popes." And that's a really strong showing for Netflix.
MCAMMON: OK, Netflix aside, what other films - maybe theater-based films - could have a big night?
HOLMES: One of the interesting ones for me is "Joker," which is the Todd Phillips movie that starred Joaquin Phoenix. It made a ton of money. It's hard to tell how much kind of affection for the movie is out there. If it were to win right now, either the film or Joaquin Phoenix, it could be, like, that little push. And we are right in the middle of this very short Oscar-voting window. And a big kind of moment of attention maybe would mean something.
MCAMMON: OK, that's film. What about TV? What's going on with television nominations?
HOLMES: A lot of them are kind of the usual suspects in terms of television, the shows and kinds of shows that are often nominated - "Fleabag," as you mentioned, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on the comedy side, things like "Big Little Lies" and "The Crown" on the drama side. But the Globes, particularly with television, often have little things that they give a lot of love to that aren't getting a lot of prestige or awards type of love. This year, I would point to "The Morning Show," which is the first big TV project out of Apple TV Plus. It stars Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, who are both nominated. It's got very mixed reviews, but they - it got a lot of support from the Golden Globes.
MCAMMON: Ricky Gervais is back hosting the Globes again this year, and there's been some controversy around him. Remind us, Linda, what got Ricky Gervais in trouble before. And why's he back?
HOLMES: Well, this is his fifth time hosting. There's been a lot of murmuring about he's - you know, he's so controversial and dangerous, and he doesn't care whose toes he steps on. And what's funny is that the jokes he actually makes at the Golden Globes tend to be pretty tired. And that's why he's hosting for the fifth time, right? You don't actually get invited back five times if you're all that daring in your comedy. But in the last few years, the - both at the Globes and in particularly in a comedy special that he did, he's made a bunch of jokes and a lot of comments about transgender women in particular that are honestly also pretty tired. But somehow because they're also really cruel, he recasts them as kind of being anti-PC. And I think he's discovered, as people sometimes do, that depending on the audience you want, your jokes can be less good if they're also mean. And I think that's part of what his kind of shtick is right now.
MCAMMON: Is it edgy, or is it just me?
MCAMMON: Exactly. That's NPR's Linda Holmes. Linda, thanks so much.
HOLMES: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF E VAX'S "THE MULE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.