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U.S. National Security Adviser: Troop Withdrawal From Syria Hinges On Safety Of Kurdish Allies; U.S. And China Try To Hammer Out A Trade Deal; U.K. Prime Minister Warns Parliament About Voting Against Brexit Deal. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 7, 2019 - 00:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Almost 1 million Americans are without their paychecks and the U.S. president says he can relate to furloughed workers as lawmakers failed again on a deal to reopen the government.

A Saudi teen who says she's fleeing her abusive family claims she's being held at a Thai airport and fears she'll be deported. We'll talk about that story.

Plus it was a night of surprises at the Golden Globes. We have all the winners and losers from the first major awards show of the Hollywood season.

Hello, everyone, thanks for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


ALLEN: Our top story, the partial shutdown of the U.S. government is now in the third week and another day of meetings ended in Washington with no real results. President Trump is not backing down on his demand for more than $5 billion for a southern border wall and he believes he can bypass Congress if needed to get the funding.


TRUMP: I may declare a national emergency depending on what happens over the next few days.


ALLEN: Boris Sanchez now has our update from the U.S. Capitol.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As has been the case for several days during meetings between top administration officials and lawmakers to reopen the federal government and potentially fund some sort of border barrier between the United States and Mexico that President Trump has been promising, we're hearing two different sides about what happened during these negotiations.

On one hand, you have President Trump tweeting out this meeting was productive, on the other hand, we're hearing multiple accounts from people behind those closed doors that things did not go all that well. One source telling CNN that Republicans presented to Democrats the justification for spending $5.7 billion on the president's long- promised border wall.

According to one Democratic source, they felt that presentation was incomplete. Democrats on their end according to sources have continuously suggested that first the federal government should be reopened before any negotiations over in an actual border wall could be had. The president in the meantime has continued suggesting a drastic option. He has said that he's seriously considering declaring a national emergency to get the funds necessary to build his border wall.

I asked the president about that on Sunday as he returned from a retreat at Camp David. Listen to his justification.


TRUMP: We're looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency. Just read the papers. We have a crisis at the border of drugs, of human beings being trafficked all over the world. They're coming through. And we have an absolute crisis and of criminals and gang members coming through. It is national security. It's a national emergency.


SANCHEZ: I followed up in asking President Trump if he had a specific deadline or something specific that he would have to see during these talks to then trigger his announcement as a national emergency, his declaration. He didn't answer. He said we'd have to wait and see. We'll tell you soon.

The president also made a statement that made waves suggesting that he had given up on the idea of a concrete barrier between the United States and Mexico saying that now it will be steel, a steel barrier between the two nations, suggesting that Democrats don't like concrete -- Boris Sanchez, CNN at the White House.


ALLEN: Lawmakers disagree on whether the president can declare a national emergency to get the wall funding.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CALIF.), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I make of that really threatening talk from the president that he doesn't have the power to execute. Look, if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border.

So that's a nonstarter.



REP. ADAM SMITH (D): Unfortunately the short answer is yes. There is provision in law that says the president can declare an emergency.


ALLEN: On Friday, President Trump repeated his claim that Mexico would essentially be paying for the wall through the new trade deal. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney explained how that would work.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We will be taking in more money as part of our relationship with Mexico and that could be available to us to build the wall.

Now it still requires appropriation as does all money. If Mexico actually wrote us a check, it would still have to go into Treasury and then be appropriated by Congress. That's how our system works.


ALLEN: As the shutdown drags on, many government employees face their own financial challenges and as CNN's Polo Sandoval explains, there could soon be delays in government services.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's week three of a shutdown showdown between the president and lawmakers with Americans caught in the middle -- [00:05:00]

SANDOVAL (voice-over): -- 800,000 federal employees considered essential continue to either be furloughed or working without pay. People like TSA officer Brian Turner.

BRIAN TURNER, TSA EMPLOYEE: I live about half hour from work and it's going to come to a point where you say do I put gas in my car or do I feed my family.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Already, hundreds of TSA employees have missed work at major airports across the country. It's fueling concerns of possible security risks and travel disruptions. The TSA insists security for travelers will not be compromised and that screening wait times remain well within TSA standards. Air traffic controllers may soon be forced to support themselves through other financial means. In Washington State, Alex Navarro says he's able to stay financially afloat for now.

LEX NAVARRO, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Safety is still at an all-time high, efficiency still at an all-time high. It's just trying to fight back the doubt and the worry of not getting that pay check.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The partial shutdown may lead to other hassles. This year's tax refunds could be delayed as IRS workers are temporarily off the job. Farmers may have to wait for loans and for a major agricultural report due out this month from the USDA, it's supposed to help plan this year's harvests.

MOREY HILL, FARMER: The January report has a lot to do with 2018's production and acres and a lot of farmers and traders base a lot of what they are going to do in the coming year on what that report tells us.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Also at a stand still, some environmental, drug and food inspections. At KC Bier Company in Kansas City, the new brews are blocked until they can get approval from the federal inspectors.

ANDREW ZENDER, SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER, KC BIER COMPANY: We are just in a holding pattern, just have to keep brewing the beer that we're already doing and getting that out there while we wait for approval on the new products.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Helpless and hopeless, Americans have to wait for an answer from Washington on when this partial shutdown will end. The president, who seems to be in a deadlock with Democrats, says he can relate to affected workers.


TRUMP: And we'll adjustment. People understand exactly what's going on. But many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I am doing.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Neither side is giving an inch. For more on what could end the stalemate, analyst Peter Mathews joins us live from Los Angeles.

Thanks for joining us, Peter. I want to refer to Polo Sandoval's story we just saw. That shows how far this shutdown is going to reach across America and hit different sectors and different kinds of American workers.

As we learn about this, do you think there will be any increase, impetus on either party, whether dug in, they're in the trenches, where they could try to push past this impasse?

PETER MATHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: We should not have made a false equivalency here, Natalie. One side is clearly much more in the right than the other side.

Having President Trump, it's astounding of him to say that he identifies with the folks who are not getting paychecks. I wonder when it was the last time he didn't get a paycheck. These are folks who are working for the federal government for many, many years and they don't even know when their next rent check is coming. Some weren't even able to pay for a wedding the other day. This was a federal employee who works for us.

And Trump says he gets it.

Well, then, why is he doing this to them?

I think it's very wrong to make this sort of equivalency on both sides. I think the wall is a red herring and it should not be put up there and it should be a separate issue voted upon separately. That's what Democrats want and certainly Trump wants to delay it because he cannot win on his own on the wall as a separate issue.

Most Americans don't want the wall and they don't think it's a solution to our problem with immigration and there's other solutions that would be much better.

ALLEN: We know that the Democrats asked the Trump administration, bring us your numbers and show us why you need this wall and how much and apparently among the course of these talks Nancy Pelosi has not accepted Kirstjen Nielsen's numbers on that.

That was a contentious part of these talks. But outside of that story, we're not hearing much of anything coming from these talks. So enter President Trump, saying, I can go around it and declare this a national emergency.

Is that any kind of a -- OK, go ahead.

MATHEWS: How could he say he'll declare a national emergency and then use Defense, military money, $20 billion of it, and use it for this wall that is not even necessary?

It's ironic, isn't it, that the TSA, the security administration of the administration, and the air traffic controllers are going to be affected by this. And that's real security on an everyday basis.

And we have no problem with people invading our borders on the southern part of our border, as he's portraying. There's not a bunch of army coming up with illegal immigrants.

Another thing is immigration is due to economic reasons. It's a lack of higher paying jobs in those areas, export jobs for the middle class here, to low wage jobs in Mexico and it has to be addressed. The wages have to be brought up over there and Trump is not addressing these key issues. It's a superficial argument I'll put up a wall and they won't come. It's the most egregious argument I've ever heard.

ALLEN: Well, the president seems --


ALLEN: -- optimistic that this is a path, a possible path, declaring a national emergency. Legal watchers aren't so sure. But if he goes this route, what happens with the government shutdown?

It presumably stays shut down.

MATHEWS: It will be if the funds don't come it. It has to be voted upon still by Congress. And the Congress will be less amenable to reach an agreement if he does go laterally, declares a state emergency and then builds the wall and starts building it with $5.3 billion of the Defense budget.

That's going to alienate more members of Congress than some of his own members in his own party. It'll be a bigger fiasco than anything we have right now -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, one thing he is doing that perhaps his base accepts is that he is standing his ground and he sends the message to them that I'm looking for a different way. Maybe I will try this. But we said border wall, I'm going to get the border wall.

Is there anything positive coming out of this for him?

MATHEWS: Not really because his base only comprises about 39 percent of the American people. And that's a minority, as he should know. He didn't win with a majority of the vote, the popular vote.

He needs to think differently and in a more broad minded way to be more inclusive and reach real conclusions and not compromise and consensus on issues like DACA, for example and settling for the border security money that the Democrats are willing to give him, about $1.5 billion to enhance the border in different ways, not a wall but enhance security with air surveillance, more border patrol perhaps.

That's a much more reasonable way to solve this problem. But this president seems to be anything but reasonable unfortunately and it's going to be a major problem for the American economy. The stock market has already reflected it. It's already had major problems up and down with volatility because of this uncertainty about what he's going to do about these things.

ALLEN: Yes, there are a lot of signs out there that this isn't maybe the best week for this president facing problems on many fronts and certainly with the border wall.

Peter Mathews, we always appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much, Peter.

MATHEWS: Thank you, Natalie, my pleasure. ALLEN: Well, the U.S. national security adviser is trying to assure U.S. allies on the troop withdrawal from Syria announced by the president. John Bolton was in Jerusalem Sunday and met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He says the U.S. withdrawal depends on certain conditions.

They reportedly include protecting Kurdish allies from America's other ally, Turkey. It's the latest sign a military exit could be slowing down. For more, here's CNN's Ian Lee in Jerusalem.



IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. national security adviser John Bolton is in the region to reassure allies after President Trump announced the abrupt plan to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

There was shock and concern after the announcement about who would fill the vacuum left by the United States. The feeling now is that the pullout will be more deliberate and conditional.

Speaking alongside Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu here in Jerusalem, Bolton reaffirmed the United States commitment to Israel and to the Syrian Kurds who fought alongside U.S. troops against ISIS.

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, UNITED STATES: Right on your border we have the problem of the conflict in Syria. We're going to be discussing the president's decision to withdraw but to do so from Northeast Syria in a way that makes sure that ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again and to make sure that the defense of Israel and our other friends in the region is absolutely assured and to take care of those who have fought with us against Isis and other terrorist groups.

LEE: The two men also discussed what Netanyahu believes is the main threat to Israel's security and that's Iran. Bolton said despite getting out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions, that there's little doubt Iran's leadership is still committed to achieving a deliverable nuclear device. He added the U.S. and Israel will make sure that doesn't happen.

Israel and America though are alone here. Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, the other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal have all refused to follow the United States lead. And despite Israel and the United States certainty, international monitors inside Iran have said there's no evidence Iran is currently working toward a nuclear weapon -- Ian Lee, CNN, Jerusalem.


ALLEN: Next here, a developing story, a Saudi woman who fled her family claims she is being detained at a Thai airport. She now fears deportation and is asking for asylum protection. We'll have the latest developments in her case for you. Also ahead, as the U.S.-China trade war rages on, talks begin to try to hammer out a deal. We'll tell you why President Trump --


ALLEN: -- says the U.S. is winning.




ALLEN: This developing story involves a young woman from Saudi Arabia. She says she's being held at an airport in Thailand after trying to flee her abusive family.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun tweeted in an unverified account that she was stopped by Saudi embassy officials and had her passport confiscated. She added that she feared being sent back to the Middle East by immigration authorities.

An official from Thailand told CNN she was denied entry because she didn't have necessary documents. Saudi Arabia denies that embassy officials stopped her and took her passport. It says airport authorities stopped her.

The embassy added that the young woman did not have a return reservation. Let's talk more about what's going on with Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch. He's been in communication with the young woman and joins me now from Bangkok.

We really appreciate you talking with us, Phil, trying to sort this one out.

What is going on with this young woman and authorities?

PHIL ROBERTSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, right now she has barricaded herself in her hotel room that is inside the airport. That's in --


ROBERTSON: -- the international section of the airport. So, you actually have to be an international traveler to go there. And she is demanding that she be allowed to talk with the U.N. Refugee Agency and apply for political asylum.

She stated repeatedly that she is definitely afraid of being sent back to Saudi Arabia. She believes that her family will kill her. She has cited a long history of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her male relatives. And she's very, very afraid for her life.

And so, she is all in. She's completely determined to try to get free and try to get away. Yes, you mentioned she barricaded herself in that room to try to get them from getting to her. If you follow her unverified Twitter account, she was trying to keep from being put on that plane to Kuwait. Here is the video she sent out, saying she was being detained in the airport.

RAHAF MOHAMMED AL-QUNUN, SAUDI ARABIAN ASYLUM SEEKER: I'm not leaving my room until I see UNSCR. I want asylum.

[01:20:05] ALLEN: So, who exactly detained her, do we know that?

ROBERTSON: Well, when she got off the plane from Kuwait, she was met at the gate by a Thai official working for the Saudi Arabia embassy, who took her passport.

So, you know the claims that Saudi Arabia was not involved are simply not correct. The fact of the matter is that she was subsequently had her photo taken, she was forced to sign a Thai documents that she couldn't understand. And then, she was later told that her father wanted her to go back. And the narrative came out of the Thai government that somehow, she had applied for a visa and been denied. And therefore, she had to be sent back.

There's quite clearly some games being played here between Thailand and Saudi Arabia in her case. Her father is a senior official from one of the provincial administrations in Saudi Arabia. So, you know, this is a family that is influential and has the ability to pull strings in and get the government to do what it what it wants.

ALLEN: Oh, that's very enlightening what you just said. Why would she be sent to Kuwait and why wouldn't her request be considered by authorities there in Bangkok?

ROBERTSON: Well, she fled from Kuwait. And the way it works is that if you're deported you get sent back to the country that you left from. She left from Kuwait because, of course, as a woman, she's not allowed to fly by herself because of the guardianship rules that govern and discriminate against women in Saudi Arabia.

And so, she would be sent back to Kuwait simply because that's the -- that's the procedure. She is here in Thailand simply because Thailand allowed this to happen. And, you know, Thailand had allowed her to continue her travels and go to Australia. We would have never known anything about her except that there was one more Saudi woman that was no longer living in the Kingdom.

ALLEN: So, what should the next course be for her? She is maintaining, barricading herself there in that hotel room, wanting to get more help. What would you like to see happen next to see that this woman is handled correctly and her story is handled correctly?

Well, we think Thailand should do the right thing and allow for the U.N. refugee agency to have access to her. And to do an assessment of her refugee claims and if she's found to be a refugee, she should be protected and she should not be sent back to Kuwait or to Saudi Arabia.

I think that is a fair and reasonable request, you know, it's clearly within her rights to demand such a thing. And I think Thailand should grant that.

ALLEN: And we just saw the picture of her she's barricaded herself in that room. Is this an unusual story?

ROBERTSON: Well, I think so. I mean, there was a similar case two years ago in April 2017 when a woman named Dina Ali also fled from the Saudi Arabian was actually detained in Philippines and sent back. So, you know, there is some precedent here.

I mean, the major problem is that the Saudi government doesn't really investigate or prosecute visa on a related violence incidents. And, you know, with a father who's a senior government official, it's even more likely that they would be able to do whatever they wanted to her if she was sent back.

ALLEN: Well, we thank you for giving us the information. We know you're working on the case and we'll continue to follow it closely. Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, thank you so much.

ROBERTSON: Thank you.

ALLEN: Men in Saudi Arabia --


ALLEN: -- have been known to end their marriages without telling their wives. But a new initiative seeks to change that a little bit.

On Sunday, Saudi courts started notifying women via text message that they have been divorced. The notifications include a divorce certificate number and the name of the court where they can pick up documents.

Despite this, husbands can still divorce their wives without their consent. Saudi women have historically faced a number of social barriers, including being able to mix freely with men, with some exceptions, appearing in public without a full length abaya and eating at restaurants that lack designated family sections.

We turn now to Britain's prime minister, wishing for much needed good luck in the New Year. She tries to convince Parliament to approve her controversial Brexit deal. We'll have more on that uphill battle as we continue.




ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.

(HEADLINES) [00:30:00] ALLEN: The U.S. and China will sit face to face in the

coming hours, to talk trade. It is the first meeting between the two countries, since President Xi and Trump met in Argentina, last month. This time, a team of U.S. negotiators is in Beijing for the talks. The two countries have yet to hammer out a deal that ends the ongoing trade war between them. President Trump says his tariffs are giving him leverage.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The China talks are going very well. I spoke to President Xi, recently. I really believe they want to make a deal. The tariffs have absolutely hurt China very badly. But our country is making a lot of money through tariffs, a lot of money, a lot of tariffs, steel-dumping tariffs and others. But, I think China wants to get it resolved.


ALLEN: We'll take a look at the Asian markets right now, all green arrows pointing up, the Nikkei, the Hang Seng, Shanghai composite and Australia S&P ASX, with green.

Well, President Trump is publicly weighing in on Russia's arrest of Paul Whelan. The former U.S. marine was detained late last month on allegations of spying. His family insists he is innocent, and that he was in Russia for a wedding. CNN's Sam Kiley has more on the case from Moscow.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump has finally commented on the case of Paul Whelan. The former U.S. marine was arrested by Russian authorities on December 28th and stands accused of espionage. The American president, when asked what he was doing about it said, we're looking into that, we're looking into that.

Hardly the sort of aggressive stand taken for example, by the British foreign secretary, because Mr. Whelan is also a British citizen who accused the Russians of using the British citizen as a pawn, in an international game of diplomacy, and condemned such actions.

Nonetheless, the U.S. ambassador here has been to see Mr. Whelan in prison, and the Russian foreign minister has, for now, scotched suggestions that Mr. Whelan could be a pawn in a potential prisoner swap, perhaps, with Russians held in United States, because in the view of the deputy Russian foreign minister, Mr. Whelan has not been charged with any crime, least of all, espionage.

That is in contradiction, of course, to what his lawyer, that's Mr. Whelan's lawyer told CNN earlier this week, when he said not only had his client been charged, but also that he was asking for bail for Mr. Whelan.

Nonetheless, this all is getting increasingly murky, following the arrest by American authorities of a Russian, Dmitry Makarenko, on charges that he was involved in money laundering and arm shipments, based on a warrant issued for his arrest in Florida. He was picked up in U.S. territories in the North Pacific, the day after Mr. Whelan was arrested.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.


ALLEN: The British parliament is set to reconvene Monday, it will be a brand new year of the same old Brexit battles. Prime Minister Theresa May says the vote on her proposed Brexit deal will take place, as planned, in mid-January. That's around the corner.

On Wednesday, lawmakers will begin to debate the deal, some worry it would make the U.K. too beholden to the E.U. But Mrs. May is trying to convince that that a future without her Brexit deal is a dangerous one.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF U.K.: The European Union makes clear and this is the deal that is on the table. There are further assurances we're seeking from them, in relation to the specific issues and concerns that members of parliament have. If the deal is not voted on, this vote that's coming up --


MAY: -- then, actually, we're going to be in unchartered territory.


ALLEN: Britain is due to leave the European Union, March 29th. Well, Hollywood has rolled out the red carpet for all those glamorous stars. The Golden Globes are said to be a preview of the Oscars that just ended over an hour ago. Next, we take a look at the winners and losers and what we can expect from the rest of awards season.



ALLEN: Award season is off to a great start, with the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood, ending a short time ago, honoring the best in T.V. and movies. Host Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg post good-hearted fun at the celebs attending. At one point, look at this, they gave them a big surprise, flu shots, for real.

And now, the winners, Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of the rock group, Queen, won two awards, Best Actor, Rami Malek and Best Motion Picture. He thanked the man he portrayed in the film.


RAMI MALEK, ACTOR: Thank you to Freddie Mercury for giving me the joy of a lifetime. I love you, you beautiful man. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Glenn Close, who won Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in, The Wife, spoke about women in film.


GLENN CLOSE, ACTRESS: We have to find personal fulfillment. We have to fill our -- follow our dreams.


ALLEN: Some of the bigger films like, Vice and A Star Is Born, didn't win as many Golden Globes, as expected. Vice star, Christian Bale, won Best Actor, in a comedy movie, for his portrayal of former vice president, Dick Cheney, he looks just like him there. He thanked the usual people with one exception.


CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR: Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role.


ALLEN: Might have been the first nod Satan has ever received. Meanwhile, nominated movies like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, celebrated those who aren't always represented in Hollywood. Sandra Oh made sure everyone took notice.


SANDRA OH, ACTRESS: Right now, this moment, is real. Trust me, it is real, because I see you, and I see you. All of these faces of change, and now, so will everyone else.


ALLEN: Glenn Close, a big winner over Lady Gaga, at the Golden Globes.

All right, we're going to go to our expert on all things Hollywood, Sandro Monetti, Editor-in-Chief of Hollywood International Filmmaker Magazine. Gosh, we didn't think we're going to have you. Are you there? Can you hear me?

SANDRO MONETTI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL FILMMAKER MAGAZINE: I am, and what a shocker. A Star Is Snubbed should be the headline this evening. It was supposed to be a coronation for A Star Is Born; instead, it was a big snub and the results of this evening, thrown the whole award season up for grabs. It's a free for all.

ALLEN: Right. But, sometimes, what happens early on in the season, turns, and others pop up later, right?

MONETTI: The worst position to be in, in the Oscar race, is frontrunner. We've seen it before. Remember when La La Land was taken out by Moonlight and no one saw that coming, and for ages, it just seemed A Star Is Born. And now, the team behind that film will really have to campaign to get this back on track. Bohemian Rhapsody, winning a huge shot, Glenn Close of The Wife, taking out Lady Gaga.

[00:40:14] ALLEN: Yes, she was even --

MONETTI: Just when we thought --

ALLEN: She was even shocked. I mean, she got on the stage and cried over winning. She couldn't believe it herself.

MONETTI: Neither could Gaga either. Neither could any of us. We've been thinking award shows were so predictable for a long time, and the Golden Globes delivered something fantastic. It's always a sign post to the Oscars, but now, it's anyone's guess what's going to win.

So, at last, someone who has covered these award races, for years, it's nice to have totally unpredictable race. Thank you, Globes.

ALLEN: Yes, it's kind of -- kind of crazy, isn't it? We thought Bradley Cooper would be taking to the stage for A Star Is Born, he did not. At least, Lady Gaga did win for Best Song, so we got to see her in that beautiful blue dress take the stage.

I want to talk about Olivia Colman, the favorite to win for The Favourite, and she did. Did you see her speech? It was quite a stitch on the stage.

MONETTI: She is. Yes, I was --- I was chatting to Olivia this weekend, and she's just like that offstage, as well. Massively endearing, hugely funny, known in Britain for years, as a comedy star, and then, in the T.V. series, Broadchurch, showed her dramatic chops. She did so, again, in The Night Manager.

She's already won four BAFTAs, she's got two Golden Globes, and I think an Oscar is in her very near future. If anyone did know her before, they still do night, and what an endearing presence she is, and what a talent.

ALLEN: And Regina King, who won Best Supporting Actress --

MONETTI: If Beale Street Could Talk. Yes. She won Best Supporting Actress.

ALLEN: -- if Beale Street Could Talk, had a powerful speech to saying everything she produces in the future will be made up of 50 percent women. That kind of pushes the theme on, from last year, the Me Too theme, about we've got to get women in film more. What did you think about what she had to say?

MONETTI: It also pushes forward what Nicole Kidman said about how she would work with a female director, every one or two films, going forward, and Frances McDormand, in her Oscar speech last year, talking about inclusivity. It really shows how inclusivity has come through in a long way, and these speeches have a real opportunity to change the industry, and actions speak louder than words.

But, you know, certainly, Hollywood does seem to be changing for the better, and Regina King's speech was fantastic, so was Sandra Oh, she was very moved, Glenn Close as well. So, some terrific speeches, some terrific performances, and yes, Hollywood, you know, has really not looked too good in the eyes of the world in the last couple of years. But it's bouncing back.

ALLEN: Right. And bouncing back with Roma, which I just started watching on Netflix for Best Foreign Language Film, and he also won for Best Director. Was that a surprise to you?

MONETTI: It was, but it just shows the power of Netflix, doesn't it? You know -- their ability to campaign, their ability to dominate the industry. If you told me a few months ago that a black and white film in Spanish could be a real contender at the Oscars --

ALLEN: I know.

MONETTI: I would have said, are you having a laugh? Alfonso Cuaron, he's been in the winner circle before, for Gravity. And let me tell you, it's like his feet didn't touch the ground, when he'd seen the (INAUDIBLE)

ALLEN: Well, it was -- it was very interesting to watch. We only hope the award shows get better and better, and we'll see if something surges forward. Sandro, always a pleasure to have you on with us, thanks so much.

MONETTI: Thank you. It's exciting.

ALLEN: I got a lot of movies to go watch. Thank you.

That is CNN NEWSROOM. "WORLD SPORT" is next. I'll see you back here in 15 minutes.


[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)