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Oscar Stars Party Hard; Kerry Starts First Foreign Tour in London; Castro Era Over in Cuba?; South Korea's First Female President; Stephen Colbert Stumps for Sis; Oscar Doc Provokes Controversy

Aired February 25, 2013 - 08:30   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching a special Oscars edition of STARTING POINT. We're coming to you this morning from the Hollywood Roosevelt Holel.

Now, Oscars' big prize went to "Argo" last night and it gave Ben Affleck the sweet taste of victory following his Best Director snub. Also, after the last envelope was opened on Oscar night, it's time for the stars to maybe push the envelope a bit and head to their after parties that can go on well into the night. In fact, I'm going to guess, go out on a limb and guess that they're going on right now here on the West Coast.

We'll take a look at all of that still ahead this morning.

First, though, want to get right to John Berman. He's got a look at some of the other stories making news this morning. Hey, John. Good morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Good morning, Soledad. Yes, those parties no doubt going on right now.

Hi to all of you watching from those post-Oscar parties.

As that's going on, another powerful winter storm is bearing down on the Plains States this morning. The National Weather Service warns the storm is bringing potentially life-threatening and crippling blizzard conditions to portions of southeast Kansas, northwest Oklahoma, and the Texas panhandle. Thirteen states total are under some type of winter watch or warning or advisory this morning.

So could the Castro era be over in Cuba finall? Eighty-one-year-old Cuban president Raul Castro, Fidel's younger brother, says he plans on stepping down in 2018. Raul Castro made the announcement Sunday shortly after the country's national assembly elected him to a second five-year term. As for possible successor, yesterday Raul Castro praised Cuba's new first vice president, 52-year-old Miguel Diaz- Canel, calling him part of a new generation that will provide the future leadership of the country.

Afghanistan's president ordering some U.S. special forces out of a province west of Kabul. Hamid Karzai says they might have harassed, tortured, even murdered innocent people in the Wardak province. Karzai says the actions are stirring up public hatred and resentment and he wants the forces gone in two weeks. The U.S. military says it is investigating.

And South Korea making history today. South Korea has now has its first ever female president. Park Geun-hye pledged to secure her country against North Korea, while also trying to build trust between the two nations. Her father ruled South Korea from 1961-1979. She has apologized for human rights abuses during his time in power.

Let's go back to Soledad in Hollywood. Hey, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, John, thank you. Well, thers's no category for best party after Hollywood's biggest night, but maybe there should be. When the Oscar ceremony ends, the fun for many is really just beginning.

CNN's Paul Vercammen was star-watching last night at some of the more celebrated Hollywood after parties went. Here's how it went.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the Governor's Ball to the "Vanity Fair" party, to Elton John's famous fundraiser, Hollywood knows how to let loose on Oscar night.

ELTON JOHN, ENTERTAINER: We're able to come here and get our message across and raise money and have a good time at the same time.

VERCAMMEN: Sir Elton and partner David Furnish celebrated the 21st year of his AIDS foundation Oscar viewing event. And Heidi Klum, Nicki Minaj and Jane Lynch were just a few of the stars on-hand.

JANE LYNCH, ACTRESS: It's kind of a fancy event, but we're also benefiting Elton John's foundation which is wonderful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was a wonderful show. I loved it. I loved the movies. And it was great.

VERCAMMEN: Across town at the glitzy "Vanity Fair" soiree, Sandra Bullock, Gerard Butler, and Richard Gere all hit the star-studded red carpet before partying it up inside. And presenter Halle Berry revealed what she thought was the biggest surprise of the night.

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS: Ang Lee I thought surprised everybody, but so deserved. I loved "Life of Pi."

VERCAMMEN: At the Governor's Ball after-party, the night's big winners bumped shoulders with Hollywood icons.



CHASTAIN: Octessica. SPENCER: We're the super couple.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight? I don't know. It depends on what and who is in there.

TURNER: How heavy -- is this heavy?

ADELE, SINGER: Yes, feel it. It's heavy, right?

TURNER: That is heavy. You have this great smile on your face.

ADELE: It is and -- I'm very emotional. I just want a drink.

VERCAMMEN: Paul Vercammen, CNN, Hollywood.


O'BRIEN: CNN's Nischelle Turner and Alina Cho join me now. We talk a little more about Oscar and the morning after. How many people were saying those words, "I need a drink"?


TURNER: I need a drink right now.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She hasn't slept. I slept an hour.

O'BRIEN: Which is not very much. Walk me through the parties. What was the best party? What's always the one to go to? What did you go to?

CHO: I was at the "Vanity Fair" party last night. And as I like to always joke, you know, if that place were to blow up, there would be nobody left in Hollywood. I mean, you're literally shoulder to shoulder with almost every A-list star on the planet, from Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston.

At one point, I was walking around, and people start to step on your gown. You've got to be a little bit careful because it's so packed in that room. And Hillary Swank, in her gorgeous red Valentino gown, was holding the gown in her arms, and she looked at me and said, "We're in the same boat."

TURNER: She was inside the "Vanity Fair". I was outside at the Governor's Ball behind the hedge. I still saw lots of A-listers, yes.


CHO: You were rubbing shoulders. You sure did. TURNER: And that's where the winners go right after the Oscars is over. So you're going to get everybody that's got a statue and all the people that were inside the telecast, so that's a lot. It's a fun party too.

CHO: One little thing that I talked to Nischelle about last night was that the best part about the "Vanity Fair" party is that, at the end of the night, they serve In 'N' Out burgers. And I ate not one, but two In 'N' Out burgers and I went --


O'BRIEN: Absolutely worth every moment. It sounds amazing.

Who did you like fashion-wise the best? Alina won't say it because she loves fashion.

TURNER: I'll say. Charlize Theron was serving it to them last night. Serving it.


O'BRIEN: She looked, when she was dancing -- that was a beautiful gown she wore.

CHO: I thought Halle Berry was just stunning in Versace.

O'BRIEN: She's always stunning.

TURNER: What about you, Soledad?

CHO: Yes, who did you like?

O'BRIEN: I actually think that the dance sequence when she was in that beautiful gown, Charlize Theron doing that, I thought that that was -- and that's not the gown she wore on the red carpet.

TURNER: She wore Dior on the red carpet. I'm not sure what gown when she was dancing.

O'BRIEN: I don't know who that was, but that was beautiful -- and then just to have it move. It was fabulous.

TURNER: But Jennifer Lawrence was also the belle of the ball. She's Best Actress in Dior --

O'BRIEN: Best attitude. You know, she falls, gets up, tells a joke.

CHO: I thought it was great. I thought it was refreshing. It didn't rattle her at all. And by the way, as I've been saying, you saw the gown a little bit better because she fell.

O'BRIEN: It was a very graceful sprawl up the stairs. I loved it. Thanks, ladies. Appreciate it.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, one Oscar nomination and five broken cameras. The filmmaker behind an acclaimed documentary feature on the Palestinian struggle shares his story with us up head.

You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. We'll go back to Los Angeles in a couple of minutes but first, new developments this morning in American diplomacy.

New Secretary of State John Kerry has officially begun his first trip as the nation's chief diplomat. And the first stop on his nine country tour: 10 Downing Street in London, where Kerry met with British prime minister David Cameron. Over the next 11 days, he'll visit key European capitals, make a stop in Turkey, and then he will head to the Middle East.

A pair of earthquakes hit Japan today. They were about 11 minutes apart and centered about 90 miles northwest of Tokyo. There are no reports of damages. Japanese officials did not issue a tsunami alert.

This story is just incredible. Three high school students in North Dakota showed up for a state hockey tournament on Friday wearing Ku Klux Klan-style hoods. A photo was posted to Twitter, and people there are outraged. Administrators at the school in Grand Forks say they have identified the students. They say appropriate action will be taken.

Paul McIlhenny died over the weekend at age 68. His family's been kicking up the heat for generations. The McIlhennys are the folks in Louisiana who make Tobasco sauce. Paul was the fourth generation of the business, reaching back to 1868. He's credited with helping increase sales and creating new flavors and products.

So Stephen Colbert isn't just a funny guy; he's also a loyal brother. He helped his sister Elizabeth Colbert-Busch serve up sandwiches at an event in Charleston, South Carolina. Busch is a Democratic candidate for Congress there, and this was a meet-and-greet event with voters. Her brother bragged on her and also bragged on their home state.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": There is no place like South Carolina. It is the greatest state. It has the finest food, the finest people; it has the greatest history. It has the most beautiful countryside. It has the greatest water. It has the most beautiful women, the most handsome men, strongest children.


BERMAN: Strongest children. The primaries are set for March 19th. Busch is one of several Democrats in the running.

So a sock that sold for thousands of dollars isn't just used, it's not even clean. A collector paid more than $92,000 for the bloody sock that Boston pitcher Curt Schilling wore in game two of the 2004 World Series, one of history's most important moments. Of course it broke the so-called "Curse of the Bambino". The sock's new owner says he also has the contract that started the curse, that one that brought Babe Ruth from New York to Boston.

After that important story, let's go to Christine for some more business news.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You don't want to talk about the socks any more.

All right, in today's "Smart is the New Rich", forced government spending cuts are just four days away. Here's what $85 billion in spending cuts means for your wallet. Beef and chicken could cost more. Food safety programs are being cut, which would probably mean food inspectors would be furloughed. Some meat plants would be temporarily closed -- temporarily closed.

At the airport, expect longer lines and tarmac delays because Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says furloughs are inevitable.

Also, unemployment benefits will shrink. Nearly four million Americans scheduled to get long-term unemployment checks between March and September would see smaller checks to the tune of almost 10 percent.

And the National Park Service would close down some campgrounds. Analysts say it's unlikely that Congress will reach a deal before the Friday deadline. So all across the country, Soledad, people are trying to figure out exactly what this is going to mean for their community.

Front pages, Soledad, of papers across the country this morning, outlining locally what would happen come Friday -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Yes a big mess. A big, big mess. All right, Christine, thanks.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, an Oscar nominated documentary. A personal story of the Palestinian struggle as the Israeli government builds a wall through a village.

Up next, we'll talk to one of the directors. "5 Broken Cameras", that's what's up next. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

"5 Broken Cameras" was one of the films nominated for best feature documentary last night. And while it doesn't -- it didn't win the Oscar, the film makers are winning other awards and lots of critical acclaim. "5 Broken Camera" began when Palestinian farmer Emud Bernat wanted to document the 2005 birth of his son. In the process, he spent six years documenting local resistance to Israeli settlements and the construction of the Israel wall that separated the farmers from their lands and olive groves. Here's a little clip. (EXCERPT FROM "5 BROKEN CAMERAS)

O'BRIEN: The title "5 Broken Cameras" refers to the damage to his equipment over the six years. The co-director of the film Guy Davidi joins us this morning. Congratulations to you for the nomination.


O'BRIEN: When your name was not read as winning, was it disappointing or is it a true cliche that it's just an honor to be nominated?

DAVIDI: I wasn't disappointed for a second, actually, because I think we were so happy with -- with where we got and I really loved "Searching for the Sugar Man," the film that did win the award. Because for me, this is a film about modesty and I think there is a lack of talk about modesty in our lives, especially the political world.

O'BRIEN: Political is a good word to use when we talk about your film because it really is a political story of how Palestinians and Israelis engage with each other. You're an Israeli. And I think a lot of people find that surprising that you're telling the story of a Palestinian farmer.

DAVIDI: Yes and I -- you know even I wrote the text of it. And a lot of -- a lot of the insights of the film was something that I brought from my life experience and people are very surprised by that. But you know we cannot judge everything according to our identities as well.

O'BRIEN: The Israeli government ended up funding the film, which again I think people found surprising because it's very critical of a lot of the Israeli policies. Why?

DAVIDI: We like to criticize ourselves. I mean, as Israelis and a lot of films that were done before were about occupation were financed by Israelis because we have this culture of criticizing ourselves up to a certain limit.

So we had good partners in Israel, and they were supportive, not just in finance, also throughout the process of distribution and throughout a lot of challenges inside Israeli society, and they were criticized for financing it.

O'BRIEN: So what's your goal for this ultimately? To have every single Israeli see it? To have every Palestinian see the film?

DAVIDI: And around the world as well. But yes we've been -- I mean, we had just a few days ago, because of the Oscar nomination, we were shown in the biggest channels in Israel and a lot of viewers watched the film. And this is the kind of a film that really touches people, and from the emotional journey, they go through in the film, a real political change can occur. So this is very powerful for us, this nomination. It's incredible.

O'BRIEN: Whether you're in the middle of that conflict or you're outside watching in a different country. Thank you for talking with us, Guy Davidi. Congratulations on the nomination and a wonderful night last night.

DAVIDI: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We've got to take a short break. "End Point" is coming up next.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. No surprise that our "End Point" will focus on the Oscars as well. So overall what I thought were some interesting moments that we didn't get a chance to get to. Daniel Day Lewis is funny. His joke was a good joke, sometimes funnier than Seth Macfarlane. Here's the joke that he had last night.


DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR: It's a strange thing because three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher and Meryl was Steven's first choice for "Lincoln". And I'd like to see that version.


O'BRIEN: It was so great to see those two heavy hitters on stage together.

O'NEIL: And he really delivered that beautifully. We don't expect comedy from him. After all, while becoming the first man to win best actor three times, he's like the actor's actor, the thespian.

O'BRIEN: Right.

CHO: He might be the only who can play Margaret Thatcher, technically though.

O'BRIEN: You know, I thought in a lot of ways the Oscars was like the Tonys. There was so much singing and dancing. I mean I love a song and dance, I liked it, but it also made for some criticism too.

CHO: That "Les Mis" moment I thought was pretty spectacular.

O'NEIL: It got a standing ovation. I was thrilled to see that. It was packaged so well. Look, we normally see all these clip packages -- heavy, heavy on clips at the Oscars. They tossed those out and gave us wall to wall entertainment. That was great.

O'BRIEN: Entertainment with a capital "E" last night at the Oscars.

And then of course, the hilarious losers. Some of Seth's jokes I thoughts were just bad and wrong, and then some were pretty funny and well done. Let's listen to a little bit of the loser song, which is how he wrapped up the night and we'll wrap up the show this morning.



MACFARLANE: "Argo", man, come on.

CHENOWETH: We love that "Argo".

MACFARLANE: We do. This is a long opening.

CHENOWETH: It's a long one.

MACFARLANE: Here's to all the losing works of art from "Lincoln" to "Amour"

CHENOWETH: To the disappointed actors wondering what they dressed up for.

MACFARLANE: Now the real performance starts with phony smiles at the door.


O'BRIEN: It was cute. It was funny.

O'NEIL: Normally they end the Oscars. Cut it off and rush it out. And it surprised everyone that (INAUDIBLE) said we're going to give you a farewell entertainment. They did it well.

O'BRIEN: He did a good job of it.

CHO: Somebody said to me, it's the first time I've laughed that hard at the Oscars in a really long time.

O'BRIEN: He made it a show.

CHO: He did.

O'BRIEN: Very different. New producers, new host. I thought they did a good job.

Thanks, guys. I certainly appreciate you joining us for our special edition of STARTING POINT.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. We'll see everybody back in New York tomorrow.