The Oscars : It's Been a Minute A trimmed telecast? A crowd-sourced award? DJ Khaled as a presenter? The Oscars are back like you've never seen them before. Guest host Elise Hu is joined by Pop Culture Happy Hour host and reporter Aisha Harris and NPR film critic Bob Mondello to talk about these new changes and their top picks for who's taking home the big awards of the night. Then, they play a game of Who Said That.

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ISA: Hey. This is Elise's daughter, Isa. This week, we preview the Oscars. All right, let's start the show.

ELISE HU, HOST:

OK, can you do it kind of natural, like you're not reading it?

ISA: OK.

HU: OK.

ISA: Hey, this is Elise's daughter, Isa. Today, we're going to preview the Oscars. All right, let's start the show.

HU: Yeah, I think that was the best one. Did you like that one?

ISA: Mmm hmm.

HU: OK.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HU: Hey y'all. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Elise Hu. Hollywood's biggest night is coming up this Sunday, which means it's time for us to talk about the Academy Awards on this show. Y'all know this. Every year there's a call for the ceremony to be canceled or that it's out of date because the most recent telecast was the worst one. And actually the 2021 Oscars show did draw the smallest audience to date. It was down 58% from its 2020 show, which aired before the pandemic hit. But hey, you know, 2021 was pretty rough.

While we're probably always going to complain about the Oscars, that doesn't mean we still don't love talking about them and all the nominees this year. So to help me do that this time, I invited two of the very best people to come and join me - Aisha Harris, one of the hosts of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and Bob Mondello, NPR's arts critic and movie reviewer. Hey y'all.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Hey.

AISHA HARRIS, BYLINE: Hey.

HU: Bob loves talking about the Oscars.

(LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: I complain about them all the time. On the other hand, you know, I've been complaining about them for more years than you guys have been alive, so...

(LAUGHTER)

HU: OK, well, before we get into talking about the nominees, let's start first with just kind of the larger conversation about the Oscars this year as a telecast, as a show. What are the conversations going on around this year's broadcast?

MONDELLO: Well, one of them is that they're not going to give out all the awards on the telecast. They're going to have given eight of them out by the time the telecast starts, which is...

HU: But, Bob, they usually do the science ones - right? - like, the science and technical awards in a different show.

MONDELLO: Yeah, but these are a little bigger awards. I mean, for instance, best production design, which is the design of movies like "West Side Story" and "Tragedy Of Macbeth." We're not talking about little pictures, and we're not talking about little arts, actually. And let me just list the ones that are not going to be shown on the telecast. And that's not fair. They are going to be shown, but they're going to be given earlier, and they're going to be - they're going to have the speeches and things truncated a little bit so that they can fit them into the time. They're worried about time on the show all the time. So they're going to give away best documentary short, best film editing, best makeup and hairstyling, best original score, best production design, short animated and short live-action and best sound.

HU: What does this say to you, Aisha? I mean, does it say something about who the producers of the telecast say this awards show is for or think this awards show is for? Like, who is the audience?

HARRIS: Yeah, I don't think they understand who the audience is right now because, you know, as Bob said, they are clearly worried about time. But this is a show that frequently runs three and a half hours long and doesn't need to if they sort of left out a lot of the banter, the many - I love a montage, but they always have so many montages at the Oscars. And so on top of that, one of the big things that they - the other kind of big conversation that was happening was around the idea of a special award that they're going to present during the telecast instead of these other awards that Bob has already mentioned. They have a Twitter - like, they're asking social media what their favorite movies are, like, most popular movie. And this is clearly their attempt to get in a different audience, the kind of audience who I think wouldn't - doesn't care about the Oscars to begin with. And so they're not catering to the people who actually do care in...

HU: Oh, wait. So there's a crowdsourced award this year?

HARRIS: Yes. And the plan is to present it on, like, live on the show and have, like, a random person who voted on social media, like, present the award. And I'm just, like, are you kidding me?

HU: Are you serious? Wait, so who's the odds-on favorite for whatever the crowd favorite is?

HARRIS: Yeah. There's a few in this category, including "Spider-Man: No Way Home," "Tick, Tick... BOOM," which actually did get, like, a nomination for Oscars, and "Cinderella," which stars Camila Cabello. And so, of course, like, you expect her stans to just kind of swarm this thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CINDERELLA")

BILLY PORTER: (As Fabulous Godmother) Do you want to go to that ball and meet a bunch of rich people who will change your life?

CAMILA CABELLO: (As Cinderella) Yes, I was just crying and singing about it, like, two minutes ago.

HU: Oh, so Camila Cabello could win an Oscar and make history because it would be the first - sort of - in this category.

HARRIS: Yes, an honorary Oscar, if we want to call it that. That seems generous.

HU: It's an Oscar with an asterisk.

HARRIS: Yes.

HU: I mean, like, I imagine because if you're a fan or you are kind of a fan army, you could kind of rig this.

HARRIS: Yeah. That's the thing, is that this is definitely playing into the stan culture that has overwhelmed film criticism and film consumption over the last few years. It's really baffling to think that this is where we've come, and it shows to me and a lot of other people that they don't understand who their audience is.

HU: Another evergreen thread in recent years has been the Academy's lack of diversity. So I'm curious what has changed over the past few years, if anything, on this front.

MONDELLO: Well, last year you had an astonishing year for diversity. It was fantastic. The folks who will have power in Hollywood were able to say, I want my picture delayed. "West Side Story," for instance, was finished more than a year ago and could have opened in time for that year's Academy Awards and chose not to. They chose to wait. So the pictures that opened were mostly by people who had less power, and that included a lot of persons of color, of women directors and things like that. And so last year you had a different field. It was a fabulous field. It was breathtaking how wonderful the movies were last year. And I just - I sit there in astonishment.

I think you don't have that this year, partly because all those films that were holding are now out in the field. And so people like Spielberg - and, you know, Steven Spielberg has power in Hollywood. He can say, no, I want to hold this, right? Let's wait until this is going - it'll make more money. Now, this year's awards have one instance of diversity that I guess wasn't expected particularly. And it is of a film that has a cast that is mostly deaf. "CODA" is an extraordinary...

HU: Beautiful film.

MONDELLO: ...Picture. Yeah, really lovely. And it's also made by a streaming service. It was - it's - Apple TV+ is the group that is releasing it. But what is remarkable about it is that the first male deaf actor to be nominated for an award is Troy Kotsur, and he has a very good shot at winning the best supporting actor award, which will be history-making. But in of racial and ethnic diversity, this is not as good a crowd as it was last year.

HARRIS: Yeah. I mean, I think every point Bob makes - totally agree with. One other sort of way we've seen things shift in recent years is the fact that, well, obviously, we have bigger categories for the best picture. This has been the case for over a decade now. And I think that has sort of opened the field up for different movies like "Drive My Car," which is, you know, a international film, and five, 10 years ago, it probably wouldn't have been nominated in that category.

HU: Remind us what "Drive My Car" is.

HARRIS: So "Drive My Car" is directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and it's about a - it's hard to describe.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: But it's a three-hour-long movie that I think everyone must see about a young man who's dealing with grief. And he is a theater director, and he - it's about his relationship with both his wife, as well as the driver. He has a driver who is taking him back and forth to his residency, where he is directing a play. And so...

HU: Oh, this is - yes. This is the film that "Parasite" director Bong Joon Ho loves.

MONDELLO: Yeah.

HU: He can't stop talking about this.

MONDELLO: Yeah.

HARRIS: Yes. It's a beautiful film. And despite its runtime, like, every moment of it is earned.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DRIVE MY CAR")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character, speaking Japanese).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character, speaking Japanese).

HARRIS: And so to see a movie like this that is - that, like, is not a sort of big spectacle - it is not a "Dune" or like any other sort of movie that you would expect. It's not even "Parasite" in the way...

MONDELLO: Right.

HARRIS: Like, "Parasite," even though that was an international film, it still had a lot of thriller, drama and that sort of thing. And this is not that. And that is another example of us seeing more diversity. Another film is also "Flee," which is a movie, another international film, that's beautiful. It's animated. It's also a documentary. And it's about a child refugee who leaves Afghanistan and winds up in Denmark. And there are so many layers to this story.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FLEE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character, non-English language spoken).

HARRIS: But it's nominated not just in documentary and not just in animated but also in international feature. And so, like, to see it be able to get nominated in those different categories, like, a few years ago that probably wouldn't be the case. It probably would have been, you know, siloed to one of those and not all three of those. So there are some changes that have been happening. A lot of it had to do with the fact that the Academy has greatly increased its membership and done a lot more outreach in terms of bringing in different people, more women, more people of color, into the branch.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

HU: Coming up, Aisha and Bob break down their favorite Oscars picks.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

HU: You've hit a couple of the films that struck you this year. Who are y'all rooting for to win best picture?

MONDELLO: Ooh.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: I mean...

MONDELLO: I never like to answer this one, but I - OK, let's - let me say that there are some that I think are extraordinary. I would not be unhappy at all if "Power Of The Dog" were to win, partly because Jane Campion is an extraordinary director and did a - just a gorgeous job with this movie. And it's peculiar and wonderful and really compelling.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE POWER OF THE DOG")

KIRSTEN DUNST: (As Rose Gordon) He's just a man, Peter, only another man.

MONDELLO: I would not be at all unhappy if "Licorice Pizza" won.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LICORICE PIZZA")

ALANA HAIM: (As Alana) Do you think it's weird that I hang out with Gary and his friends all the time?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIFE ON MARS?")

DAVID BOWIE: (Singing) It's the freakiest show.

HAIM: (As Alana) I think it's weird that I hang out with Gary and his 15-year-old friends all the time.

MONDELLO: I would not be at all unhappy about "CODA." I would not even be happy - unhappy with "West Side Story." So I'd be happy with any of them. But I think, if I were choosing one that I kind of would like to see win this time, I think it's probably "Power Of The Dog."

HU: Aisha?

HARRIS: Yeah, I would have to say there's a few in there that I really, really loved last year, a couple that I'm like, why are they here?

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: But for me, I would be happy with "Power Of The Dog" or "Drive My Car." And I hope that just being Oscar-nominated means more people will seek both of those movies out.

HU: Let's get to memorable performers and which performers you want to see go home with Oscars this year.

HARRIS: Well, for me, I would love to see Olivia Colman get the award for "The Lost Daughter." I think that that performance - there - it was - it's such a difficult performance to pull off. The film is about a woman who's sort of wrestling with choices she made as a mother years ago, when she's sort of confronted with these strangers who sort of remind her of things she did when she was younger and what she did with her children, how she treated them.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LOST DAUGHTER")

OLIVIA COLMAN: (As Leda) Look; I'm sorry about earlier as well. I was feeling anxious.

DAGMARA DOMINCZYK: (As Callie) Yeah. Well, you know, the sun can do that and, well, maybe your girls - being away from your girls, you know?

COLMAN: (As Leda) Yeah. Well, you'll see. Children are a crushing responsibility. Happy birthday.

HARRIS: And it is a - such a unflinching portrait of motherhood in a way that I hadn't quite seen before but is also very generous and not judgmental about her character and what she has to do to sort of convey that and to not judge the character as a performer as well. I just would love to see her win it. And I know she's won - she's already won the award - or she's won Oscars before, but I would love to see it happen again here.

MONDELLO: Oh, she's great in it. She is really extraordinary. And it's - you know, it's - that's one of the cases where I think what you admire about the performance is that she does so much with so little in the way of emoting. I mean, the kinds of things that you think of as acting in a stage sense, she isn't doing. She's - it's very contained. She's not letting anything out. And you just die for her. She's extraordinary. She's just extraordinary. You're absolutely right. That would be wonderful. The performance I would love to see get the award for best supporting actor is Troy Kotsur in "CODA." And he - you know, the actors are - in that picture are mostly signing. And he is hilarious as he's doing that. There's a sequence where he has been surprised in bed with his wife by his daughter and her almost-boyfriend.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CODA")

FERDIA WALSH-PEELO: (As Miles) What's that? Is that your mom?

MONDELLO: The kids realize that, and he decides that that's the right moment to have a discussion with his daughter and her boyfriend about protection.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CODA")

EMILIA JONES: (As Ruby Rossi) Oh, Miles, go.

WALSH-PEELO: (As Miles) Nice to meet you.

JONES: (As Ruby Rossi) Just please go. Oh, I just hate you.

MONDELLO: It is one of the funniest scenes I've seen in film all year. It is just great. He has one word in that entire movie that he speaks aloud. When he makes history winning that award, it will be well-deserved, and I hope everybody sees the film.

HU: Aisha, what about the best actor category? Because it sounds like there's an odds-on favorite here.

HARRIS: Oh, yeah, for sure. I think it seems pretty locked in that Will Smith is going to get the award for "King Richard," which is a sort of biopic about the father of Venus and Serena Williams, Richard Williams. And, you know, I think if he does win it, it will be more of a cumulative award than it will be necessarily for this role. I didn't love him in it, but he is doing sort of the Oscar-bait-y (ph) thing where he has an accent. He's moving differently. His physicality is very different.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "KING RICHARD")

WILL SMITH: (As Richard Williams) You want to check on the kids? Let's check on the kids. We got future doctors and lawyers, plus a couple tennis stars in this house. Now, I understand you got to do your job even if some crazy neighbor do call talking foolishness. And I don't even mind you saying we hard on these kids. You know why? 'Cause we are.

HARRIS: But he has been nominated twice before this, for "Ali" in the 2001 movie and also for "Pursuit Of Happyness." So I feel like this has a very it's-time kind of moment. And on top of this, he's been kind of going off of this, like, you know, reintroduction tour, where he released a memoir last fall. You have the "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air" coming back, being rebooted as "Bel-Air." And so he's reminding everyone of why we fell in love with him in the first place, and I think the iron is hot.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: This is where he is going to finally get that award. It's, like, perfect timing.

HU: Ok, last question. How are you all going to watch the Oscars? What's your set-up?

HARRIS: (Laughter) Well, you know, I've got a pretty sweet set-up. I have my - I think it's a 55-inch TV.

MONDELLO: Yep. Me, too.

HARRIS: Plus, like, a Sonos speaker system. And then I've got my La-Z-Boy love seat that has a recliner. It's great.

MONDELLO: Oh, I want to go to your house.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: You're a professional arts critic. You deserve it.

HARRIS: It's a red leather - it's not, like, you know, one of those you think of from the '90s, like the furry...

HU: Yeah.

HARRIS: No, it's a nice loveseat (laughter).

MONDELLO: I just sit on a sofa in our TV room.

(LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: And it's - you know, the nice thing is that I can sit down with a bourbon and enjoy the awards, which make them go down much - ever so much easier. So...

HARRIS: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: All right. A big thank-you to my guests - Aisha Harris, one of the hosts of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and NPR arts critic Bob Mondello. Thanks y'all.

HARRIS: Thank you.

MONDELLO: Great fun.

HU: Will you both stick around and play Who Said That?

MONDELLO: Oh, yeah.

HARRIS: Yeah, I'm going to try and...

HU: He's so excited.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: All right. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

HU: Oh, wait. Hold on. Let's pause.

MONDELLO: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. This is...

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

HU: Bob Mondello.

MONDELLO: It is my fault.

HU: You work in audio.

MONDELLO: I know, but there's no way for me to turn it off. I - it's like...

HARRIS: He has a landline (laughter).

MONDELLO: I have to play with it. I have a landline. Ugh.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

HU: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Elise Hu, here with my two panelists. Why don't y'all introduce yourselves?

HARRIS: I'm Aisha Harris, a co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour.

MONDELLO: And I'm Bob Mondello. I'm the movie critic for All Things Considered.

HU: That's who they are. And now we're going to play a game called Who Said That?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

HU: All right. The rules are simple. I share a quote, and you guess who said it or what it's about. So you don't actually have to name the speaker if you don't know the speaker, but if you know the event or the news...

HARRIS: OK (laughter).

HU: Yes, news headline that sparked it, that's fine.

MONDELLO: That will help (laughter).

HU: As usual...

MONDELLO: I'm always terrible at this. Oh, my gosh.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: You've gotten at least one point in the past.

MONDELLO: Oh, I did sometime, deep in the past (laughter).

HU: All right. There are no buzzers. You just yell out the answer. I will give you hints along the way if necessary.

MONDELLO: Whew.

HU: And as far as a prize, nothing - you win nothing.

HARRIS: (Laughter).

HU: No one ever wins anything except for bragging rights. OK. Y'all ready?

MONDELLO: Mmm hmm.

HARRIS: Yes.

HU: OK. This is a fill-in-the-blank. So once you know it, you can just fill in the blank. I will say blank. The first quote. "Six years ago, when I was ready to retire, the NBC Universal family asked me to continue the show. I'm so proud of my relationship with NBC Universal and all those who worked on" blank.

MONDELLO: "Ellen"?

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

HARRIS: "Maury"?

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

HU: There it is - "Maury."

HARRIS: Oh, yes. I mean, that's - yay (laughter).

MONDELLO: Oh, cool.

HU: So he says, I'm so proud of my relationship with NBC Universal and all those who worked on blank, which was the Maury Povich show. But as I occasionally tell my guests on "Maury," enough already.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: Yes, he does. He does. He's in his 80s. I can't believe he was still hosting this show.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: Yeah. He announced this week that he's finally ending his show...

HARRIS: Good for him.

HU: ...At the end of this season after 30 years on air.

HARRIS: Yeah.

MONDELLO: I won't swear to this, but I think he was a - he was a local guy in Washington, D.C., before he did that.

HU: He was in local news.

MONDELLO: Yeah.

HU: I don't know which market he was in, but he was in local news before he...

MONDELLO: I think it was here. I remember seeing him a zillion years ago. So...

HARRIS: Yeah. I used to watch "Maury" all the time when I was in middle school and high school. It was so ridiculous.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: Was it always like, who the parent - like who was the father? Or were there other topics?

HARRIS: Yeah, there was that. There was also the out-of-control teens.

HU: Right.

HARRIS: There were also - you know, all these, like - they would go to boot camp. Like, it was ridiculous. But I'd say 3 out of 4 episodes every week were about, who's the daddy? (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MAURY")

MAURY POVICH: Guess what? Let's just figure this out right now. We're going to find out.

(CHEERING)

POVICH: You're sure he's the father?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: I'm positive.

POVICH: When it comes to 4-month-old Donya (ph), Andrew (ph), you are not the father.

(CHEERING)

HU: Goodbye, "Maury." We'll miss you.

HARRIS: Fare thee well (laughter).

HU: All right. The second quote - you ready, Bob?

MONDELLO: Terrified, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: All right, the second quote - "this is a book that is taught at Georgetown Day School to students in pre-K through second grade. Do you agree with this book that's being taught with kids, that babies are racist?"

HARRIS: It's the booty book.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

HARRIS: Or wait, no, am I mixing that up?

MONDELLO: I don't...

HARRIS: Wait, I'm thinking of a different book.

MONDELLO: Yeah, I don't remember which book.

HARRIS: There was - there's a teacher who was...

MONDELLO: No. I know what you're talking about.

HARRIS: Yeah, there was a teacher...

MONDELLO: The one - yes.

HARRIS: ...That was banned from teaching - or...

MONDELLO: In Mississippi.

HARRIS: Yeah. OK. Wait. So racist...

HU: It happened this week. It happened this week, and it stirred up some controversy.

HARRIS: This could be any book (laughter).

MONDELLO: I can't...

HU: OK. It happened in Washington, D.C.

MONDELLO: I was going to say it sounds like something that would be in...

HARRIS: Is it "The 1619 Project"?

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

MONDELLO: No. It's - was this one of the questions that was asked to a - the Supreme Court justice during...

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

HU: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

MONDELLO: Look at that.

HU: You got it. That was Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, this week at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's hearing, asking one of his many, many questions.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TED CRUZ: This book that I find really quite remarkable - one portion of the book says, babies are taught to be racist or antiracist. There is no neutrality.

HU: He was asking about the book "Antiracist Baby."

HARRIS: I have not even heard of this book - (laughter) news to me.

HU: It's been - I mean, it's been a relentless - I think for all of these nominees, it's a relentless three or four days of questioning. But some of the lines of questioning against Judge Jackson have just been like, wait, what? Are you suggesting that maybe she supports child pornography?

HARRIS: Yeah, Lindsey Graham...

HU: Like...

HARRIS: Yeah. All of this questioning, the little that I've been paying attention to, is just sickening but unsurprising, to be honest.

HU: But that was a point to Bob Mondello, right?

HARRIS: Yeah. So we're tied.

MONDELLO: Oh, my gosh. It was (laughter). Although, I couldn't tell you who - was it - it was Ted Cruz who asked that question.

HU: That was Ted Cruz. But you don't need to have the person; you can just have the news event. So we're tied - one for Aisha for "Maury," one for Bob for Ted Cruz.

MONDELLO: Woo-hoo, woo-hoo.

HU: OK. This is the tie-breaker. Here's the final quote - "how dare you sell a square fish asking us to trust it? A half slice of cheese - Mickey D's on a budget. Arby's crispy fish is simply it. With lines around the corner, we might need a guest list." I cannot rap, but that was supposed to be a rap.

(LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: That was stunning. I was very impressed with that. That's some of the best rapping I've heard on NPR.

HU: That's so humiliating.

HARRIS: Wait, was that the whole clue?

MONDELLO: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: OK. Well, I saw something...

MONDELLO: Well, it sounds like it has to have been in Arby's.

HARRIS: I saw something about Pusha T, like, in McDonald's. Is that it?

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

HU: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

HARRIS: OK, yeah.

HU: You've got it.

HARRIS: I literally just saw this yesterday.

HU: I'm so excited you knew that. That was Pusha T diss rapping. He wrote a diss track against McDonald's on behalf of Arby's.

HARRIS: Right.

HU: And so he - it's a diss track about the Filet-O-Fish.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPICY FISH DISS TRACK")

PUSHA T: (Rapping) I'm the reason the whole world love it. Now I got to crush it. Filet-O-Fish is - man, you should be disgusted. How dare you sell a square fish asking us to trust it? A half slice of cheese - Mickey D's on a budget.

HARRIS: Because they didn't, like, pay him or something for something he...

HU: Well, yes, yes. There's kind of backstory - wow, you know a lot of context about this story, Aisha.

HARRIS: I literally just saw - I saw a Twitter headline, and it gave me all that information. I didn't...

HU: OK, OK. So Pusha T, along with his brother, wrote the "I'm Lovin' It" jingle for McDonald's...

HARRIS: Wait, really?

HU: ...In 2003. Yes.

HARRIS: I had no idea.

HU: But the two were only paid $1 million, which Pusha deems is too low for how ubiquitous a theme it became.

HARRIS: Fair, fair.

HU: Fun fact. So now he's pissed and has decided to write a diss track...

(LAUGHTER)

HU: ...About the Filet-O-Fish. But why does he going to take it out on the Filet-O-Fish? Take it out on the Quarter Pounder? Like, why the Filet-O-Fish? That's a solid sandwich. I don't have a problem with the fact that it's square.

MONDELLO: I'm delighted to say I haven't been in either of those establishments in well over two years.

HARRIS: I just go for the fries these days. I try to stay away from the meat at McDonald's. But...

HU: But Aisha, with that knowledge, you won Who Said That.

HARRIS: Yay.

HU: Two-to-one - congratulations.

HARRIS: (Laughter).

MONDELLO: And I continue my streak.

(LAUGHTER)

HU: All right. Thanks for playing Aisha Harris, co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and NPR's longtime arts critic Bob Mondello, a Who Said That perennial loser.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: That was fun.

MONDELLO: Thank you so much...

HARRIS: Thanks.

MONDELLO: ...For having me.

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AVA: Hi. I'm Elise's daughter, Ava. Now it's time to end the show like we always do. Every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag, and they do. Let's hear them.

ZENA: This is Zena (ph) in Seattle. This week, after many failed attempts, I did my first pivot turn on my roller skates. And since then, I have not been able to repeat that. But I'm sure that with a lot more practice, I am going to get it.

JESSICA: The best part of my week was meeting with my family, who I haven't seen in a long time, to have a very belated Thanksgiving/Christmas/missed birthdays. Specifically, I got to see my grandma, who I've missed a great deal. We write physical letters back and forth to each other weekly. But it was really great to see her and talk to her in person and give her a big old hug.

GREG: This is Greg (ph) from New Jersey. The best thing that happened to me this week is I got my first ever raise. I've been with the company for just under a year, so it wasn't something I was expecting but was very happy about it.

THERESE: It's Therese (ph) from Saint Paul, Minn. And the best thing that happened to me all week was receiving a package of two vinyl's - one of "Sister Act" and the other "Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit." It's been fun jamming while working from home.

CAITLYN: This is Caitlyn (ph) in Oakland, Calif. The best part of my week was getting together with four other friends from college - just had the best time just laughing and spending time together over the weekend. Thank you for all that you do. And these segments at the end of your show every week have really brightened my day every single time I listen. So thanks. Bye.

HU: Thanks to those listeners you heard there - Zena, Jessica, Greg, Therese and Caitlyn. Listeners, we want you to send in your best thing to us anytime during the week. Just record yourself and send a voice memo to our new email address, ibam@npr.org. That's ibam@npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HU: All right. This week's episode was produced by Jinae West, Anjuli Sastry Krbechek, Andrea Gutierrez and Liam McBain. Our intern is Aja Drain. We have engineering support from Gilly Moon and Josh Newell. Our editor is Jordana Hochman. And our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming, Anya Grundmann. So until next time, take care, y'all. I'm Elise Hu. We'll talk soon.

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