tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC February 22, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST
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coming up. the path to the white house in 2016. it apparently includes comments on president obama's religious faith from some potential gop candidates. hey, there, everyone. it's high noon in the east. 9:00 a.m. right here in the west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt" from los angeles. we begin with developing news. a somalia-based terror group is issuing new calls today for terror attacks on western malls. the group al shabaab released a new video overnight calling for westgate-style attacks on shopping centers across the world, including the mall of america in minnesota. now, it is the same group that claimed responsibility for the attack on a mall in nairobi, kenya, back in 2013. already, the mall of america says they are taking the threat seriously and will have enhanced security. the department of homeland security secretary jeh johnson is urging people to be vigilant. >> i would say that if anyone is
planning to go to the mall of america today, they've got to be particularly careful. and as the statement you read indicates, there will be enhanced security there that will be apparent to people -- >> federal security as well? >> there will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important. >> nbc's kristen welker is live at the white house for us. so kristen, with a good sunday to you, what other precautions is the white house taking due to this threat? >> reporter: well, look the administration says they are taking this threat very seriously. they are in discussions, investigating the video. here's what we know so far. according to top u.s. officials, al shabaab released that video, which calls for attacks on shopping malls in canada and here in the united states. in it the terror group references the attack on the mall in kenya which left more than 60 people dead. a statement last night, a
spokesperson for the national security council told me quote, protecting public safety and national security is our highest security. we are aware of the reported call from al shabaab for westgate style attacks against shopping centers around the world to include the united states. in recent months, the fbi and dhs have worked closely with our state and local public safety counterparts and members of the private sector to include mall owners and operators to prevent and mitigate these types of threats. so essentially, alex officials are stressing that their security posture hasn't changed in the wake of this video, because they're already on tightened alert, when it comes to mall security and also protecting other places that draw large crowds. now, meanwhile, the mall of america also released a statement, saying the mall is aware of the video and that quote, we will continue to monitor events with the help of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. we will continue to follow the situation, along with law enforcement, and will remain vigilant, as we always do in similar situations. so really calling for increased vigilance. now, as for al shabaab, a little
bit of background. it is a somalia-based terror group that has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including a suicide attack at a hotel in mogadishu on friday. that left 25 people dead. the terrorist group has recruited heavily in minneapolis. that city has the largest somali population in the united states. law enforcement officials do not believe there is any specific or credible threat against the united states, a really important point to underscore alex. still, they are investigating that video and they are taking this very seriously. alex? >> yeah kristen, you mentioned the fact that there's been some recruiting there in the minnesota area. it so makes me wonder why the mall of america dish mean-- i mean, that would be the closest of the large well-known malls across this country, and are other malls specifically named? >> reporter: well, other malls are named in canada and then a shopping area in the uk. important to underscore when you talk about where they are targeting specifically one official making this point,
alex, said this is really more of a call to action. they are urging their followers to take some type of action. so the fact that they have named these malls really more of a call to action than a specific threat. but, again, dhs secretary jeh johnson and other top officials here are calling for increased vigilance. alex? >> okay. nbc's kristen welker at the white house for us. thank you so much. we'll talk more about the threat to america's mall with adam schiff coming up in just a few minutes from now. meanwhile, new concerns today that three missing british schoolgirls have made their way to syria to join isis. the three were last seen boarding an international flight to turkey. it is not certain where they are now, so that is raising concerns among authorities, as well as the girls' families. nbc's katy tur is outside scotland yard in london. katy with a good day, what are you hearing from the families? >> reporter: alex their parents are understandably upset and growing more so by the hour
especially considering that one british newspaper, "the telegraph," is reporting, citing turkish intelligence officers that the girls were able to meet up with isis smugglers when they landed in turkey and they have already crossed the border into syria. five days gone and their loved ones are still pleading for the girls to come back. >> just told them to come home. like, everyone's missing them. everyone's worried. it's a couple weeks before the exam and we just hope that nothing serious is going to happen to them. >> reporter: 15-year-old sh, a 16-year-old, and a second 15-year-old boarded a flight to istanbul on tuesday. their families fear the three plan to cross the border to join isis in syria. walking through security many were struck by how normal the girls seemed in tight jeans, leopard print accessories, and trendy thick-rimmed glasses. experts say isis is trying to
lure people young people worldwide, using its powers of persuasion, through slick online videos and twitter propaganda. >> there's a real risk that isis is deliberating targeting and recruiting teenage girls. because what they're trying to do is they say, maybe you don't like living in your home country, maybe in the united states in europe or elsewhere, why don't you come and work with us, and we'll give you exactly the pure life that supposedly we can provide. >> reporter: the girls' families have declined interviews but released statements begging their daughters to reconsider. one reading, we understand that you have strong feelings and want to help those you believe are suffering in syria. you can help from home. you don't have to put yourself in danger. please don't cross the border. please come home to us. our mum needs you home and is really worried. we are not mad at you. we love you. >> reporter: experts say preventing this is really a top-down effort, from the community all the way to the family members and the parents, but they say that if you are really concerned, lock up their passports. alex, back to you.
>> okay. thanks so much nbc's katy tur there in london. well other news now, a minneapolis police officer is recovering today after being shot while responding to a burglary call. a single shot hit that officer while he was in his squad car on saturday. police have one person in custody and they say that the officer was likely the intended target of the shooting. he is in satisfactory condition. a 40-ton whale is free after getting caught in a fishing line more than a week ago. the humpback whale got tangled up off the coast of hawaii in a synthetic fishing line. it was attached to a red bowie. a 6-foot-piece of that line is still stuck in a wound, though experts say it should fall out over time. a weekend spauscewalk is being called a success. the walk lasted about 6 1/2 hours and those ports will receive american-made capsules beginning in 2017. there are two additional space walks scheduled to complete that re-wiring job. another frozen week lies ahead, sorry to tell you about that, after a week of warmer temperatures at least the
weekend, lots of snow and sleet, though. in kentucky, there were fears of flooding after the roads in louisville became covered with slush and ice. pretty hard there, for the drivers to stay in control. the stuck cars were abandoned, in fact, across the region. >> two cars that were slid off on 71 coming here and i was going to stop and be the good samaritan samaritan, but i was afraid i was going to get stuck as well. >> in eastern tennessee, ice was the big problem there, and then the wind. trees and power lines came crashing down. >> it just sounded like we were just getting, just showered with the ice pellets. everything is just breaking snapping. >> so we still have a lot of trees coming down with the high winds. so that's going to cause even more problems. >> thousands of customers were left without power. the governor declaring a state of emergency there. and then a bit further east maryland and the washington, d.c., area saw several inches of snow on saturday which eventually turned to sleet and
rain. heading north to connecticut, a kind of fun way to cope with all this snow. the kids young and old, taking to the slopes in cardboard sleds. that actually does look like fun. well, meteorologist paul goodloe from the weather channel is joining me now with more on all of this frozen forecast for much of the nation. paul? >> our next winter storm is still dumping snow right now across colorado including denver. it doesn't look that great on the radar. that's because we have 12 14,000-foot mountains around so it obscures some of that. but snowing heavily, over a foot in boulder, and dumping on the ski resorts. but getting there is the big concern. meanwhile, another part of this system is giving rain and thunderstorms moving into dallas and ft. worth. right now, with this afternoon and this evening, just rain but then tomorrow cold air starts coming in and more moisture on top of that. and we have a serious concern with some freezing rain and some ice setting up here across dallas and the metroplex. again, everyone in the pink and the purple that's sleet and freezing rain.
all monday long in dallas you can see hours upon hours of sleet and freezing rain. it's going to ice over that entire city there, and eventually push on into louisiana and mississippi, even into birmingham alabama, into tomorrow night. that's that purple. that's that freezing rain. at the same time, we're still getting plenty of snow still falling across colorado. look at that. southwestern colorado, a couple of feet of snow. snow mass aspen, still getting close to a foot of snow as well. we're also watching 3 to 5 inches out here in amarillo. i-40, look for plenty of snow across areas of texas and new mexico, but the big concern, alex is this storm could paralyze dallas in terms of travel with all that ice, all monday long. alex? >> okay. paul goodloe thank you very much for the heads up on all of that. wisconsin governor scott walker and his answer to a question about president obama's religion. is this all about the primaries? e market. but at t. rowe price we've helped guide our clients through good times and bad. our experienced investment professionals are one reason over 85% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper averages.
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homeland security secretary jeh johnson today said he takes seriously a threat made by an al qaeda-linked terror group against shopping malls, including minnesota's mall of america. >> this latest at the same time from al shabaab reflects the new phase we've evolved to in the global terrorist threat in that you have groups such as al shabaab, isil publicly calling for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks. anytime a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place we've got to take that seriously. >> well the mall of america, in a statement, says it has implemented extra security precautions. some may be noticeable to guess and others won't be. let's bring in california congressman, adam schiff. the congressman is the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. and with a welcome to you, sir, and a particular pleasure to have you here in the studio with me to talk about all of this. what would you say to somebody
after hearing the secretary, somebody who says i'm going to go shopping today at the mall of america? >> i would say, go shopping at the mall. we don't want this to change how we behave and how we act in our lives. the reality is that these terrorist groups are all competing with each other. they're kind of throwing into the ether these messages on social media, urging attacks on the west. they may be nothing more than that, but we do have to take them seriously. but i would encourage people to go to the mall if that was their plan and not be deterred. >> secretary johnson also expressed concerns about groups like this trying to do recruiting, target their efforts here in the united states. what do you think about security policy, in terms of how that has changed to thwart those efforts? >> well we're trying to use what the secretary describes as a whole government approach where obviously we try to stop these terrorist groups where they live but we're also trying to make sure that foreign fighters don't come back into the country, that we're working well with the community-based organizations, religious organizations, to make sure that we can spot people who are
becoming radicalized or at risk of radicalization. sowear trying to do all of the above, and really all of that is necessary. back in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 it was mainly about stopping core al qaeda and these attacks that were planned overseas and launched in this country, but now we have a much more diffuse threat that in some ways is more difficult to defend against. the good news is, they're not likely to be able to carry off those massive attacks like they did in 9/11. but nonetheless, we are very much at risk of these low-tech low-level, but nonetheless, lethal threats. >> but, sir, in your position you're privy to all sorts of intelligence information that we're not. how concerned are you that there is the specifics of the mall of america being named here? i mean i know you say everybody, go shopping and have your routines as planned, don't alter that but when you think about the details that you know how concerned are you? >> well i'm concerned about the general threat. i don't think we have any information apart from this video that there are operatives in the country that are
targeting a mall or that we've had firefighters return from somalia, who are actively engaged in this plotting. so we don't have any specifics apart from this video, but i am concerned that you know, if you look around the globe right now, you see attacks in canada you see attacks in paris and belgium, australia, you see a pace of attacks around the world, about one every month or so. and we're not immune from that as we've seen in boston. so there is a real concern, at the same time, this is going to be with us for a long time and we simply have to go about living our lives. >> okay. something i want to talk to you about, which is about iraq and a concern, "the new york times" having printed all of the details that were afforded to the reporters there, by u.s. centcom officials, about the plans to retake the retake the iraqi city of mosul. something they would like to do. we're talking 20 to 25,000 troops. we're even being told april to may as a time frame for this. does this make sense to you? we have plenty of people who are
saying, why give away our plans? >> i'm a little puzzled by it. and i'm disturbed, frankly, that this is something that the secretary of defense didn't know was going to happen the white house didn't know was going to happen. >> are shoe your the white house didn't know? >> i take them at their word. i find it all perplexing. i'm not sure we gain much by advertising this. and the concern i would have frankly, is that it puts pressure on the coalition to go forward with this time frame, even if the iraqis aren't ready. and the one thing that i don't want to see happen is i don't want to see the iraqi forces go to take mosul when they're not ready yet and they have to call on the american cavalry. that is something i don't want to see happen. >> do you know if the white house has responded specifically by the letter sent by senator mccain and senator graham asking if they had approved this? they were questioning, how would the pentagon allow this information to be put out, u.s. centcom officials doing the information, how would they allow that if the white house wasn't on board? >> you know, i don't know the
answer to that. and i find it even more inexplicable that the secretary of defense didn't know and wasn't brought into this. you know i will say this though. that the information that was provided by centcom isn't going to be of any great surprise to isis. they've known generally that the iraqi government wanted to launch this offensive in the spring. they know about what it would take to be done. so i don't think all that much has been disclosed. at the same time i'm not really sure what was the thought or purpose behind it. >> as you know the new secretary of defense, ashton carter has been in afghanistan and has been meeting with the new president there. he has said that the u.s. may be slowing down the complete withdrawal of troops from afghanistan. talk about the ideology of that why the change and if you're concerned at all that would put remaining u.s. troops in jeopardy. >> i think they're telegraphing essentially, alex, this is going to happen. we have a much better relationship than we did with karzai, but this is driven more by the facts on the ground.
the fact that we still need a big enough military footprint to get the intelligence that we need in the region. i think that's one of the factors. i also think that there's the potential of talks with the taliban right now. and we want to keep the pressure on. we don't want to signal that they can wait us out. i think that can also be militating in favor of a slightly slower drawdown pace. but i think, essentially, from what we're hearing, this is very likely to happen. >> i know that i've asked you about upcoming visit by israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. you've said that you will attend when he addresses congress should that inevitably happen because there's been some question about that as well. but it seems like there is a war of words right now. and his message to stop iran from any nuclear development, and, tell me where you think that stands right now, and why you think some of your democratic colleagues have said we will not attend any speech that he may give. >> well i think they feel and i think they're right, this is an invitation that should have
never been extended in the way it was and at the time it was. right around the time of the israeli elections, without informing the white house. it injects a level of partisan politics into the u.s. israeli relationship that is very destructive. i understand where my colleagues are coming from. i think frankly the best outcome, although i don't think it's going to happen is for the prime minister to give a classified briefing to members of congress. we have a large, closed auditorium where we can speak very candidly because it will be classified that would meet his objective of giving his most unvarnished thoughts to the congress about this potential agreement with iran. at the same time, it would take it a little less out of the political realm. that, i think, would be the ideal, although i have to admit, i don't think it's going to happen. >> okay, representative adam schiff, you're probably headed back to washington very soon, aren't you? >> i am this evening. >> oh, well enjoy that snow. i have a couple of days in l.a., which i'll enjoy it here. a preview of tonight's academy awards. "birdman" versus "boyhood"? plus the division between the general public and the academy elite.
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it's time 2340unow for today's number ones. since the academy awards show is just hours away we'll focus on tinsel town's ultimate awards fest. may 16th 1929 that was the first academy awards. it charged an admission price of just $5. only 15 oscars were awarded, whereas 50 will be handed out tonight. and get this, that first ceremony in 1929 was only 15 minutes long. compare that to the longest oscars telecast in 2002 that went 4 hours and 23 minutes. >> i'm on the street mark -- >> house-to-house is the deadliest job here, man. got some sort of savior complex? >> well best picture nominee "american sniper" has americanearned over $300 million. and at 2 hours and 14 minutes, it is the second longest. why does that matter? research by collider.com shows
that the majority of best picture winners have run 2 hours or longer. through the year 2010 54 of the 80 best picture winners were longer than 2 hours. and the longest nominees won best picture 40% of the time. so all that means the winner will be -- >> he didn't even ask! he just cut it. i mean, it's my hair. >> "boyhood," because that is the longest best picture contender, clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes. only three others are more than two hours long. "birdman" is a minute shy of 2 hours, but that doesn't matter to prediction website, 528. it picks "birdman" based on all the other awards it has already won. with money on the line the oddsmakers make "boyhood" the heavy favorite followed by "the imitation game" and "the grand budapest hotel." but maybe you can settle for a divining rod or some sort of ouija board to figure it out, or you can just call moviefone. >> why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you selected.
>> got to love cramer. those are your number ones. in just a moment a comprehensive look at who is likely to win and why. you're watching "weekends with alex witt" live from los angeles. sarah blakley had a simple idea that turned into a brilliant business. she cut the legs off a pair of panty hose leaving the top part, and called them spanx. she research and wrote her own patent self-funded the company with $5,000 in savings, and did focus groups with friends and family. she still owns 100% of the company, becoming the youngest female billionaire in the world. for more on the seven days of genius, visit msnbc.com. okay! let's go go, go, go... woah! go right, go left, go left stop! now go... (shouting) let's go!! i gotta go! can i go? yup! you can go. (beeping alert) woah! there you go! way to go!
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plus for a limited time, get a free security camera call 1800 xfinity or visit comcast.com/xfinityhome. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." now to the headlines at the half. ash carter just landed in kuwait. earlier he spoke with soldiers in kandahar on the second day of his visit to afghanistan. carter told soldiers that the afghan security forces now, quote, stand a chance of prevailing over the taliban. secretary of state john kerry says there are significant gaps in the nuclear talks with iran. kerry says he and his iranian counterpart will meet in geneva for another round of talks. they have until the end of march to agree on any political framework for the deal. in texas, several hundred prisoners apparently seized control of a part of a federal prison. those rides first erupted friday night in raymondville texas. inmates reportedly starting fires and breaking into the yard. on saturday officials said inmates were compliant, but
negotiations ongoing. as many as 2,800 inmates will now have to be moved, because that prison is uninhabitable due to all the damage that they caused. let's go to politics now. wisconsin governor scott walker in the middle of a controversy today over what he told "the washington post" about president obama's faith. in an interview with dan balz and robert costa, the presidential potential candidate said he didn't know whether the president was a christian. saying, "i never asked him that. you've asked me to make statements about people that i haven't had a conversation with about that. how could i say if i know either of you are a christian?" those commence come after walker has received intense criticism for not coming out against comments that rudy giuliani made at a dinner he attended in new york city last week. that is where the former new york city mayor said the president doesn't love america. well joining me now, the senior congressional reporter for politico. manu, good to see you again. let's talk about these comments. are these the kind of statements that are just about trying to get support from the far right as you go into the primary
season? >> yeah i think it's a sign of a candidate whose trying to please everybody and not upset anybody. and is nervous about taking a position that could provoke a backlash. and you've seen this not just on those two issues that you referred to about the president's christian faith and whether or not he loves his country, but also walker has punted about whether he believes in evolution. he's punted on issues of foreign policy, as well. you're looking at a candidate who's sort of had a rocky rollout after a very well-received speech in iowa. and i think it speaks to both his caution as a candidate as well as someone who has not really dealt with the national media in the way that he's going to have to in the next couple of years during his presidential run. >> absolutely. and probably even more we're focusing on it because it's been done, kind of a one, two, three punch in a concentrated amount of time. let's talk about the fallout from rudy giuliani's comments
about the president. here's what senator lindsey graham said this morning on abc's "this week." let's take a listen. >> i love rudy but i don't want to go there. the nation's very divided. president obama has divided us more than he's brought us together and i don't want to add to that division. i have no doubt that he loves his country. i have no doubt that he's a patriot. >> so you hear senator graham there. he's certainly echoing the sentiments, similar ones of jeb bush marco rubio, rand paul. why isn't walker taking the same stance coming out more forcefully against what giuliani said? >> yeah it's a very easy thing to do, to repudiate what jewel giuliani said. i don't think you're going to really upset many republican voters. i don't think he was ready for this backlash, i don't think he thought it would be reported and cause this kind of controversy. i think the interesting thing here, too, alex. when governors run for national office they often talk about their executive experience, how they know how to run a state.
but they don't really deal with federal issues. they don't deal with controversies that the national media is paying attention to. and walker is certainly trying to learn on the job. and this is a very difficult thing to do when you're such a hotly -- you're such a prominent player, in a potential nominee for your party. >> yeah, absolutely. but the you look at the big picture, manu how much do you think this damages the gop? does it at all taint the party? does it make political watchers get a bit cynical thinking okay, he's just talking pre-primaries? >> you know, i'm not sure how much long-term fallout this will have. i think that probably the next time someone says something that the media will be focused squarely on that and we'll sort of forget what giuliani said but certainly, this will raise questions about whether walker is ready for prime-time and that's something that his people and him are certainly going to have to be prepared for going forward. >> but as they plan their future, how much do these
potential 2016 gop candidates have to think about surviving the grinding primary, which involves certainly a lot of conservative voters. the tea partyers i mean it seems the president's easy to criticize under these circumstances. >> and it's such a long process between now and next year when the iowa caucuses start. scott walker could be all the way the bottom of the rung by candidates by then or he could be dominating the field. there's so much time for anyone to say something that's going to take them off their game. and we're talking also about jeb bush, for instance as a possible front-runner, and certainly he's going to raise a lot of money, but we have not seen him as a candidate yet, and we'll see how he deals with the media when he starts getting pressed on some of these more sensitive issues and controversies that emerge over the next several months here. >> okay. politico's manu raju thanks so much. >> thanks, alex. next up a discussion about the many controversies surrounding tonight's academy awards including questions about the lack of nominations
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my wife bought me that. get your credit swagger on. become a member of experian credit tracker and find out your fico score powered by experian. fico scores are used in 90% of credit decisions. let's go now to hollywood's big night. a lot of people are looking forward to a night of film and fashion, of course. but this year the pre-game talk has been all about the snubs, the actors actresses, films, even some snubs at history. nbc's kristen dalghlgren has more on what might be the most controversial awards in years. >> reporter: what is usually hollywood's golden night has for some a certain tarnish this year. controversy surrounding many of the nominated films and actors. >> the nominees are -- >> reporter: it started when
nominations came out. here's a look at the 20 nominated actors and actresses. a lack of diversity sparking a trending twitter hashtag, #oscarsowhite. >> i don't believe the membership of the academy is racist or there's any agenda at work here but it was one of those things where it was a glaring omission and people called them on it. >> reporter: the issue hitting especially hard in a year that "selma," a year about the civil rights, is among the nominees. but its director and actors were shut out, leading some to an outcry. for others though "selma" is marred by accusations it altered history, falsely portraying president johnson at odds with martin luther king jr. but it's not the only film taking such heat. "the imitation game," "the theory of everything," and "fox catcher" are all being called out by some for telling skewed
versions of real-life events. then police "american sniper." perhaps the most controversial of all. the story of chris kyle called pro-war propaganda by some who accuse the film and its director, clint eastwood of whitewashing the story. >> he presents a sympathetic portrait of this guy, but it is warts and all, and people are kind of using it to support the position they want. >> reporter: kristen dahlgren nbc news new york. >> well for more on this controversy, let's bring in our special oscar panel. kelly carter buzz feed's senior editor nicky novak, entertainment correspondent forstra, vh1, and dominick patton, a senior write for hollywood. welcome to all of you. get rest up and ready to go. i want to talk first about the controversy that's been generated by "selma." i'll start with you, first, dominick, it's even generated its own hashtag, oscar so white. although some saying that it was
really a publicist messup. that they didn't get the screeners out in time to the academy voters thus the inability to fairly disperse the potential votes. what do you think? >> i think some of that's true. i think that there were -- they were a little bit behind in getting the film ready. so there was a little bit behind if getting stuff out to people. and the way they work you've got to factor in that people will need time to watch these. i think that definitely was a factor. but i think that some of the controversy is legitimate. i think that there are issues about diversity in the academy. i'll be honest i think there are diversity issues in america, in general. if you want to use this as a microcosm, you can. but i ultimately think you have to gauge and judge a work on its merits. and "selma" has been nominated for best picture. that's not too bad. >> well absolutely, not too bad, indeed. and best song as well, it's up for that. but, why, kelly, do you think people are so disappointed about "selma." did it not get the viewership at the box office? was that part of the problem as well? >> no, i think there are a couple of issues at play. you know, first off, i think
that "selma" was a solid film but i think it kind of delivers what we're expecting to get from oscar films. and, you know, truthfully, it was my favorite film of the year. i think it should win best picture. it won't, but it should. i think there's a little bit of an exhaustion. i think that, you know african-american viewers are kind of sick of the same evergreen stories being green-lit and presented as you know, the only kind of african-american stories that we can see at the box office you know? and i think, you know, showing kind of the uglier sides of american history and like labeling it as this is, you know, the dynamic roles or the most dynamic roles that black actors can get in hollywood is a problem. >> yep, for sure. >> and i think that's kind of -- that's a part of that conversation you know when you kind of tub "selma". >> that's a very interesting point. and also to that point, we have to remember, as we talk about this year's controversy, last year, "12 years a slave" won. so when we talk about this debate, we have to stay in the now and we have to stay in a larger perspective, simultaneously. >> but in terms of that perspective, and i'll put this to you, niki let's look at the academy voters makeup.
oscar voters nearly 94%, caucasian, 77% male, blacks are about 2% of the academy, latinos, even slightly less than 2%. the oscar voters have a median age of 62. so, i'm curious, does this reflect the makeup of the industry overall? it doesn't seem like it does. >> i definitely don't think it does. and especially me being part of young hollywood, i think these are people who have been in the academy for years. i think, you know, the president of the academy has spoken out this year that it is time for change, but i think that changes aren't happening fast enough. >> and the president of the academy is an african-american woman. and i think that what's happening is the change that we hope is happening in america, which is there is an inclusion element that people are realizing, it's not just the good thing to do it's the right thing to do. >> do you think, kelly, that the academy voting process should be changed? some people have suggested that. >> um possibly because the only way to kind of slide in there, of course is to get nominated and win something, so that you can be you know, invited to be a part of the academy and be a voter.
it's kind of probably one of the most egregious examples of the old boy's network, you know, as it stands right now. so i agree with cheryl i do think that some changes have to happen. i don't anticipate any changes happening, but i think if you want to see some significant change with what the academy does, it has to kind of start at that level. >> and there's been some criticism about the accuracy of these films. "selma" and "american sniper" are the two that come to mind in term of historical accuracy. but nikki, should hollywood expect to adhere to accuracy? i mean we have to remember this is entertainment. >> this is entertainment. these are not documentaries. we have to remember, this is entertainment. and i don't really think that factored into the academy's voting. i don't think that was actually an issue. i do think in the case of "selma," it was more an issue of getting people behind the movie early enough. i think that was a huge part of it. but also "entertainment weekly" released an article this week where they anonymously interviewed one of the actor -- the oscar voters and she says she stands by her decision. she just didn't think it was a strong enough film and she didn't think the direction was creative new to deserve a
directing nomination. >> do you think, dominick think it's okay to bend the truth a little bit to make for a compelling story? >> i think if you go see shakespeare, i'll tell you, you're not seeing what william shake shakespeare wrote. let's be honest, we trim and edit with everything we do. it's part of the entertainment, it's part of our own attention span. i think there are legitimate issues looking at "selma" in particular about the real role lyndon johnson played in the vig civil rights movement. there are real issues looking at "the imitation game" and "the theory of everything," and a slew of issues looking at american"american sniper"." but ultimately, you have to remember, i'm telling a story. no one is pretending these are documentaries. and sometimes we fail to appreciate the nuance in the filmmakers, which is the good skill for filmmakers where they do address issues but they don't emphasize them. they're moving along to tell a greater narrative. i think that's incredibly important. >> kelley, do you think this is a successful direction for hollywood to take real stories and turn them into films, from a
box office perspective and from an overall storytelling and narrative. it seems like so many of late have done that and done it well. >> i do think. and i think hollywood is seeing what the response is like from viewers and we'll probably be seeing more of these real-life stories or real stories come to life, you know on the silver screen, and i don't think that's a bad thing. i think it's a good thing. and as to what dominick was saying, this is per usual with hollywood. this is not a new story that hollywood alters the truth in cinema. it's not a documentary. it's, fact is fiction in some cases. >> quickly, nikki, "american sniper," so many are saying propaganda, there are people who have criticized that. what's the general, conventional wisdom in hollywood about that? >> i think "american sniper" was one of those movies that you know, clint eastwood has come under enormous criticism for not sticking to the story. i think the box office really speaks volume to how the public feels about that. the fact that people are going out to see it and are supporting it. and if you look at polls this
week, you know you ask the public what should win for best picture? it's overwhelming "american sniper". >> isn't that interesting? well, $300 million at the box office you can't argue with that. so speaking of who should win, we're going to talk about that everybody. is it "boyhood," "birdman"? coming up next we'll look at why each contender is so unique. plus, another contender for best picture, "the grand budapest hotel," here's that. >> who's this interesting old fella? >> don't you recognize him? >> may i invite you to dine with me tonight? and it will be my pleasure to tell you my story. i make a lot of purchases for my business. and i get a lot in return with ink plus from chase. like 60,000 bonus points when i spent $5,000 in the first 3 months after i opened my account. and i earn 5 times the rewards on internet, phone services and at office supply stores. with ink plus i can choose how to redeem my points. travel, gift cards even cash back. and my rewards points won't expire. so you can make owning a business even more rewarding. ink from chase.
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>> i weshish we could use the bumpers. >> bumpers are for kids. what are you, 2 years old? you don't want the bumpers. life doesn't give you bumpers. >> so i'm curious, kelley what you think the appeal is of "boyhood." we were just talking about real films, real-life stories being put into film. this isn't a story, but it sure feels like real life. >> well a couple of things. one, i kind of often describe it as like a reality tv show that exists on a network that no one's really watching. that's what it felt like. and i think that audiences probably related to the stories of, you know, growing up in like divorced homes and kind of dealing with alcoholism and so on and so forth. that said, i didn't really like it. but i think that -- i think that the technique behind it too, the fact that a director took you know, 11 or 12 years to create a film people are really responding to that. people who have the power to vote, are really responding to that, and that's why it's up for contention. >> yeah, dominick not much of a plot, still fascinating, though if you consider the concept
alone, shot over 12 years. i'll read something about what a writer said from the uk telegraf, who said it this way. it's patricia arquette who seems unassailable as the mother in "boyhood," she gives a shaded and completely alive performance that serves as the beating heart of the film. making a normal film would be special enough. to have done it over 12 years feels like a miracle. is that concept enough to make this a best picture contender? and i also want to ask you, remember "the artist"? it was stoo unique a few years ago, that's kind of the reason people thought it may have won? >> i think with "the artist," right off the bat, it was a movie about hollywood, essentially. hollywood loves movies about hollywood, right? and that's why a lot of people are looking at "birdman" this year, because it's an actor movie and about a process that a lot of people look at and think, i know that guy or i've been that guy. then "boyhood," the fact that it was made for under $3 million. the fact is it took these offers who are indy royalty, and with
richard linkletter, and made this process. i think it really makes academy members -- because that's who really we're talking about today. it makes them feel like yeah that's the best of what we do. that's creative process in action. now, having said that and -- when i was a sundance earlier this year i talked with ethan hawke a little bit about this. he said i saw "boyhood" when it first came out at sundance the year before. a lot of people said nice little movie, but it won't go anywhere. look at how well it's done. for a $2 million budget the thing has made over $45 million or $50 million. patricia is killer in this role. she won yesterday at the indy spirit. and you're not going to lose money if you bet on her for tonight. >> "birdman," weigh in on that one, kelley -- i mean nikki. your thoughts on whether it's a comeback film for michael keaton, and if that's enough to generate the best picture, perhaps, for him. >> the director has talking about michael keaton and sang his praises and said he is responsible for the success of the film. he's given -- he's given that to michael keaton. the voters, historically they
love a good comeback story. michael keaton throughout this award season between his speeches and his demeanor, has really, you know, spoken from the heart. he's won over a lot of people. i still think eddie redmayne is going to win for best actor. however -- >> well, you are bringing us to what i want to do right now. kelley, i'll start with you. we'll put up a full screen of your picks for the best. >> kelley's got "birdman," michael keaton julianne moore, and patricia arquette. the last three, aren't those pretty safe? >> those are locked in i think. >> i vote with kelley. >> me too. >> really? >> okay well -- let's see -- >> not even an argument. >> bad tv. >> are you hedging your bets? okay you say eddie redmayne. >> it's a little bit of wishful thinking, i think what he accomplished in this film was one of the best performances of all time by an actor. >> fantastic. dominick, let's throw up yours. where you are. >> and you are? >> am i the sad last one?
>> oh, you -- you can't do that! >> look i make a career out of hedging bets so i'm not going to say anything about that. i will say this. i think that there's a real split element here that can really happen. and i want to talk about the best of the best actor. >> you've got to talk to me about it in the commercial break, because we're out of here. that's going to be it. >> have a great oscars, everyone! >> have fun! bad stuff. i'm good. that's what i like to call, the meta effect. 4-in-1 multi-health metamucil is clinically proven to help you feel less hungry between meals. experience the meta effect with our multi-health wellness line. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn. because it gives me... zero heartburn! prilosec otc. the number 1 doctor-recommended frequent heartburn medicine for 9 straight years. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. ring ring!... progresso! it's ok that your soup tastes like my homemade. it's our slow simmered vegetables and tender white meat chicken. apology accepted. i'm watching you soup people. make it progresso or make it yourself
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