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Crimea Asks Russia to Intervene; More Rain Today for Bone-Dry California; Snow to Hit Northeast Again; Rising Tensions in Crimea; Ukraine as Divided Country; El Chapo's Safe House; Interview with the Producers of Oscar-Nominated Movie "Nebraska"; Unexpected Creatures Live from Studio

Aired March 1, 2014 - 06:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST: "There will be costs." Is that a veiled threat? As the Russian army moves into Ukraine, is President Obama drawing another red line?

CHRISTI PAUL, CO-HOST: Oh, my goodness. Fire, drought, torrential rain. As the perfect storm creates catastrophic floods in California. This morning, I'm sorry to say, there's no end in sight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you told the sheriff that you were walking to Nebraska?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. To get my million dollars.


BLACKWELL: It's the little black-and-white film that could. "Nebraska" is up for six Academy Awards tomorrow night, including Best Picture. You'll hear from the producers about why they think it can take home an Oscar.

Your NEW DAY starts now.

PAUL: It's an early Saturday morning for you, but we're just glad we're not alone. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you with us. It's 6 a.m., and this is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: Well, first thing this morning, of course, the breaking news. We want to get you caught up on all the fast-moving developments in Ukraine.

PAUL: Yes, because there are fears of a shutdown -- showdown, rather, between Ukraine and Russia, and the U.S. could get caught in the middle of this whole thing. I want to show you what's happening right now as we know it.

Ukraine says movements by Russian military personnel in Ukraine's southern Crimea region amount to an armed invasion. And Crimea is, their acting prime minister, meanwhile, is urging Russia to intervene here.

BLACKWELL: And Crimean television says Russian helicopters flew in the skies over Crimea yesterday. Look at this video. And mysterious guards are toting the automatic weapons you see here, suddenly appeared outside two airports in the region.

President Obama is telling Moscow, pull back or face the consequences.


OBAMA: We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties and a military facility in Crimea. But any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing.


PAUL: There are also pictures coming in -- you see them here -- Russian tanks on the move. This is near Russia's Black Sea fleet base in Crimea. Moscow insists any troop movements are necessary for security.

Now Senator John McCain says President Obama needs to take a harder line with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It's pretty clear that maybe the president of the United States has been a bit naive about Vladimir Putin and his ambitions.


BLACKWELL: CNN's correspondents across Russia and Ukraine to bring you the very latest on this crisis. Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow.

PAUL: Ian Lee is in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, and Diane Magnay is in Crimea there.

BLACKWELL: Let's start with Fred Pleitgen in Moscow.

Fred, Crimea's acting prime minister is urging Russia to intervene, asking them to come in and help keep the peace in the region. Is this essentially carte blanche for Russian troops to move in? And how is Russia responding?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly might be, Victor, carte blanche for them to move in. It might be part of a larger plan for Russian troops to move in, which seems to have been unfolding over the past day and a half.

So the Russian foreign ministry has already responded to that request that was made by that new Crimean prime minister and said they are certainly not going to disregard that request. They haven't said yet whether or not they're going to move additional forces in there.

However, as you've just said, the Ukrainians are already saying that the Russians have already moved troops in that direction. It's unclear whether or not that could amount to an invasion, whether or not that's some sort of small-scale incursion, or whether or not that is something that might pertain to a military exercise that the Russians have ongoing in that area, as well.

The Russians so far, for their part, are saying that any moves by their forces on the Crimean Peninsula are in line with an agreement that they have with the Ukraine to be able to do those things, because we have to keep in mind that the Russians have a large number of military bases on that place. They have an agreement with the Ukraine to station military there. That at any time there's about 25,000 Russian forces there, including also with their families along with them, as well. So it's a very important territory to the Russians, and the Russians certainly are making no secret of the fact that it is.

On the other hand, Victor, it's also very difficult to believe that what's going on in Crimea right now is not in some way, shape or form organized by some larger power. That when you look at the efficiency with which the gunmen that are operating there have been taking over those local government buildings, Victor.

PAUL: OK, so, Fred, let me ask you, what do we know for certain about where Russian troops are in Crimea, specifically, and what are people saying about, you know, their own questions in terms of who is in control? I mean, I was reading that air space has been closed there; communications are disrupted. What do you know about that?

PLEITGEN: Well, yes, absolutely. I mean, the air space has been closed at the main airport in Crimea, in Simferopol. There's no planes apparently going in and out.

The Russians always have a large military presence in Sevastopol in -- on the Crimean. They have a huge naval base there. It's home to their Black Sea fleet. There's always a number of warships and nuclear submarines, as well, which I saw only a couple of days ago. But they also have other military bases that support that large naval presence. So it's an absolutely key place for the Russians.

Now what the Ukrainians are saying is that the Russians are flying in ever more forces, and that's what's causing the great concern.

BLACKWELL: All right. Fred Pleitgen for us there in Moscow. Fred, thanks. We'll check back.

PAUL: We want to head now to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, of course, and the epicenter of those anti-government and anti-Russian protests that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. You see it's about 400 miles away from Crimea, which is the distance from New York to Pittsburgh. Just to kind of give us a good sense.

BLACKWELL: Yes. CNN's Ian Lee is there.

Ian, how are people reacting to the news in Kiev of all that's happening in Crimea?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, the prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, had a cabinet meeting today, and he said that the disproportionate number of Russian troops in the Crimea is a sheer provocation, one, that he says the Russians hope to elicit a military reaction from Ukraine in order to make the Crimea a breakaway region.

Well, the prime minister said that the Russians have failed, that the Ukrainian military will not be provoked in any such way, that they're not going to engage militarily in hopes for a diplomatic solution. They believe that those avenues are still open. That they are going to try to use those, as well.

But he did have some strong words for the Russians, telling them that they need to go back to their bases, that they're not welcome, they need to go home, and that Ukraine -- that the Crimea is Ukrainian territory, Victor.

PAUL: All right. CNN's Ian Lee in the capital of Ukraine. Thank you so much, Ian. We appreciate it.

You know, one top U.S. lawmaker called the Russian movement an aggression. Congressman Mike Rogers we're talking about, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said -- and I want to quote him here -- "It appears that the Russian military now controls the Crimean Peninsula. This aggression is a threat not only to Ukraine, but to regional peace, and stability. Russia's latest action is yet another indicator that Vladimir Putin's hegemonic ambitions threaten U.S. interests and allies around the world."

BLACKWELL: Those actions Mike Rogers spoke about, he's talking about this: armed men patrolling the streets and the airports of Crimea. We've discussed it just a bit this morning so far. You know, they're not wearing any markings to show which country they're from.

PAUL: Mm-hmm. CNN's Diana Magnay confronted one of those troops, trying to get some answers.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can we ask you guys where you're from?


MAGNAY: You're from Russia?


BLACKWELL: Well, Diana Magnay is in Simferopol for us now in Ukraine.

Diana, has there been any confirmation as to where these troops are from?

MAGNAY: None at all, no. They are now surrounding the parliament building, which is new, in a peaceful fashion, and the people here say that they are basically doing it for the safety of the people here in this part of Crimea, who are mostly Russian.

But it is the fact that their vehicles have no number plates. They have no insignia. And they seem to be a sort of controlling force, operating with a very real presence alongside pro-Russian local units, self-defense units, whatever they may be, people who are wearing a Georgian ribbon, which is a symbol of Russian military valor, and who are acting alongside these masked gunmen.

Now, these reports that there are 2,000, according to U.S. security officials, Russian military operating in Crimea, now the Ukrainian government says as many as 6,000. It's very hard to give you any kind of confirmation of that on the ground. It is not as though this capital city, Simferopol where I am, is riddled with armored personnel carriers or troops going around. No. They are in very specific locations. They are acting in a fairly low-key fashion, and it is impossible to tell you exactly who they are.

But it is also hard to believe that they are anything other than Russian military because of their high level of organization, their efficiency, the weapons that they carry.

And it would seem as though, behind the scenes, and with the help of those gunmen, Vladimir Putin is massaging the pro-Russian forces into this country, who are now led by a new leader, who was effectively put in to place two days ago in the parliament here. He's a pro-Russian guy.

And so it's all sort of consolidating the pro-Russian position in this country, ahead of a referendum, when Crimea will decide whether or not they want to stay part of Ukraine or not.

PAUL: OK. Diana Magnay, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Now, you know, the bottom line here, too, for us is Washington doesn't have a lot of options when it comes to the crisis in Crimea.

BLACKWELL: We're going to take a look at what the White House can do and what it might not be enough.


PAUL: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We want to show you what we're seeing right now. Possible military moves in the Black Sea here. Russia has moved a naval ship into the Sevastopol harbor in Crimea. This is the second largest port in Ukraine.

BLACKWELL: While the port is technically in Ukraine, Russia has leased it until at least 2042. Crimea is in dispute as tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine. The region is closely tied to Russia.

PAUL: And of course, also a crucial base for the Russian navy.

BLACKWELL: CNN military analyst Spider Marks explains why.


JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This warm-water port called Sevastopol, it's the only warm-water port that Russia owns. Everything else is covered with ice right now. So this has great historical ties for the former Soviet Union, now Russia, the Russian federation.


BLACKWELL: Well, this is about more than Crimea. More than Ukraine.

PAUL: Some pundits see this, really, as classic Cold War-style standoff. For the New Yorker's David Remnick, that is deeply troubling.


DAVID REMNICK, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, it's very, very dangerous. If, in fact -- if in fact, and this is what people in the White House are saying, that these are Russian troops, this is extremely scary not only from the point of view of Ukraine but from a geopolitical point of view. And at the very best we're looking at a -- at the possibility of a Cold War-style conflict. And that is extremely worrying.


BLACKWELL: Now speaking of the Cold War, this is a Russian spy ship docked in Havana. Yes. Moscow is planning to -- new naval bases around the world, including one in Cuba.

PAUL: All of this, of course, putting the U.S. in a tight spot. All eyes are on President Obama to see whether he's going to stand up to Putin.

CNN's Erin McPike joining us now from Washington.

So Erin, realistically, what can the White House do about the crisis in Crimea?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, just late yesterday President Obama said in the White House briefing room that he's deeply concerned about Russian troop movements inside Ukraine, and he issued a stern warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe. It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia's commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine and of international laws.

And just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. And, indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.


MCPIKE: Now, following those remarks, a senior administration official told CNN that if Russia does not stand down and instead keeps those forces in Ukraine, the United States may opt out at the next G-8 summit scheduled for early June in Sochi.

But the president's comments in the briefing room late Friday were not enough for the very hawkish Republican Senator John McCain who suggested on CNN's "SITUATION ROOM" that he didn't go far enough and that Putin doesn't respect Obama.


MCCAIN: I really believe that when Vladimir Putin looks around the world, sees what happened in Syria, when the president -- when the red line turned pink and the president didn't act, our acquiescence to their occupation of Georgia, the -- all of the actions that have to do and indicate a decline of the United States of America, I think he's emboldened and he's acting.


MCPIKE: Now, other high-profile Republican lawmakers have stopped short of criticizing the president, but they've made clear they would like the United States to stand strong against Russia and in support of Ukraine -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right, Erin McPike in Washington for us. Thank you, Erin.

BLACKWELL: All right, back here in the U.S., California is very much in need of rain. We've talked about this drought.

PAUL: Oh, I know, but this is not what they needed. Look at this, people: mudslides, floods, bringing even more problems to that drought-weary state. We've got more pictures for you just ahead. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: California's gone from no rain to -- look at this -- way too much rain. The state is getting torrential downpours leading to dangerous mudslides, as you can see here. Of course, this is after the worst drought in 100 years. It desperately needs this rain.

PAUL: It does. But the ground is so dry, this is the problem. And with some areas getting as much as six inches of rain all at once, flooding is a big concern. Los Angeles County is already under a flash flood watch.

BLACKWELL: And the threat of more mudslides has prompted an evacuation order affecting about 1,000 homes. That's in Southern California.

PAUL: Yes. Folks in the area barely had -- they barely had time to grab their pets as the mud poured into their streets and their homes, too, and the rains led to power outages and flooding, as you see, and really some traffic snarls, as you can imagine.

BLACKWELL: This is -- this is terrible. Let's go to meteorologist Karen Maginnis in our severe weather center.

Karen, they needed rain for so long, and I hate to be cliche, but when it rains, it pours. And now, we're getting these mudslides.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And they got it all at once. And this is a very vigorous system, one of the strongest systems they've seen in about four years.

But you may remember, they've had some burn areas over the last couple of months, kind of an early start to the fire season. But this is a tightly-wound storm system that's pushing in a ton of Pacific moisture.

Power outages, the localized flooding, and there will be mountain snowfall. They need the snow in the mountains for the snow pack, but we could see an additional one to three inches of rainfall. And yes, in Southern California, even as we go towards the Oscars.

Here's where that wet weather is, all the way from San Francisco, so if you're flying there, you might encounter some delays. Also for Los Angeles' international airport, as well.

And Phoenix already is picking up some rainfall. They're saying they haven't seen rain there in just about 70 days.

Take a look at this coming out of California in the vicinity of Woodland. Now, a trained weather spotter said he looked at this, initially a funnel cloud, slowly making its way towards the ground. Eventually, it did. You can't see the very bottom of it as it does touch the ground. But it does. Apparently, there was some damage to report there, but we don't have any reports of any injuries. But very spectacular, in California, in the month of February, a tornado. Incredible -- Christi.

PAUL: I'll tell you that, that has got to be rare.

Now, I have to say we feel so bad for all of our friends in the Midwest and the Northeast, because they're already sitting under so much snow. They're getting pounded again. I talked to my friend in Pittsburgh yesterday and still said it was just miserable. What do you say about the Midwest and Northeast now with this other big storm?

MAGINNIS: Yes, we are watching this as it makes its way across the interior west. The same Pacific storm system will merge with another system, move across the Midwest: Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago. You may see all-time record high temperatures, record low high temperatures, as in you may make it into the single digits. They haven't seen temperatures like that since the late 1800s. We have to go back two centuries for that.

Well, as we go into the work week, across the Midwest, eventually into the Northeast, what about those temperatures? Well, if you live in New York city, the high temperature on Monday is only going to be about 26. So here you are in the month of March. You think things are moderating. No, they're not. It's getting worse.

Back to you guys.

PAUL: Good heavens. Karen, thank you so much for keeping us apprised of what's going on.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Karen.

PAUL: What a mess. Hey, you've seen this emergency landing in Texas? A plane filled with 123 passengers flies right into a flock of birds.

BLACKWELL: Wow. And just a couple of days ago you'll remember director Spike Lee went on this rant about gentrification. Well, now vandals have hit his family's home in Brooklyn. We'll show you more pictures.


PAUL: All right. It is the bottom of the hour right now. We're so glad to have your company, even if it is already 6:30 in the morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: It sneaks up on you. I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start with five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

First, an American Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing last night. It was hit by a flock of birds. It happened on takeoff. Only the left engine suffered just a little minor damage. And not one of the 128 people on board was hurt after the plane landed safely. All passengers were reassigned to other flights.

PAUL: No. 2, a nationwide manhunt for an escaped child rapist is over. Fifty-one-year-old Eric Hartwell apparently cut off his ankle bracelet last week and walked out of a Denver group home where he'd been living while on parole. U.S. marshals found him in a motel room in Norfolk, Virginia.

BLACKWELL: No. 3, vandals hit Spike Lee's father's home in Brooklyn, and this happened just days after the director went on a rant against gentrification and that rant went viral all over the Internet. A neighbor's glass door was also shattered and the words, "Do the right thing" were spray painted on the wall. Of course that's the name of one of Lee's movies. That neighbor says she believes there must be a connection between Lee's rant, and the graffiti. Police are investigating that vandalism.

PAUL: No. 4, the S&P wraps up February on a record high up four percent for the month and closing just below 18.50 yesterday, which is good news for your retirement accounts, if you want to get a smile on your face, take a look at your 401(k) today because that's what the S&P mostly tracks.

BLACKWELL: And No. 5, the tensions that are rising on the Black Sea peninsula, the new pro-Russian leader of Crimea is urging Moscow to provide help in keeping the peace there. But meanwhile Ukraine accuses Russia of moving troops in to the autonomous republic, and President Obama is urging Moscow to pull back or face the consequences.

PAUL: Now, president Obama's top diplomat is reaching out to his Russian counterpart on the crisis in Crimea. Secretary of State John Kerry says he spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and urged Moscow not to inflame the situation. He says Lavrov insisted that Russia is not violating Ukraine's sovereignty. Lavrov also said any movement by troops are military exercises that were prescheduled, and are not related to events in Ukraine.

BLACKWELL: And former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is comparing Putin's grip on the region to that of a czar or communist leader. She made these scathing remarks during an event in Florida and it's a quote. We're going to read it here. "There is no doubt he sits as the absolute authority now in Russia, and it is quite reminiscent of the kind of authority that has been exercised in the past by Russian leaders. Both the czars, and their successor communist leaders." Clinton went on to say that Putin wants to control any unrest in Ukraine, and he has a huge interest in Russia's neighboring countries, because he eventually wants to make a new union to compete with the European Union, which Putin would call the Eurasian Union.

PAUL: So, to really understand what's happening in Crimea, I think it helps to look at a map to understand some of the huge regional differences that have a little historical context.

BLACKWELL: And CNN's Tom Foreman walks us through it.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ukraine is a little bit smaller than the state of Texas, about 45 million people living here. 2 million down here in the Crimea, more or less. And most of these people feel stronger ties to Russia than they do to Ukraine. Why is that? Because Russian is their first language. Many of the older ones will even remember back when it was actually part of the Soviet Union, before it was gifted, in 1954, to Ukraine as part of a deal then. How far is it from Crimea up here to Kiev? That's about 400 miles, or the distance roughly from New York to Pittsburgh. Moscow is more than twice as far away. But look at Russia over here in gray. Look at how closely the border is located to Crimea. And importantly, look at this red area, because all of this area has stronger ties to Russia than it does to the rest of Ukraine and that shows up in their voting, as well. In the last election, this entire area was the base of support for the now ousted President Yanukovych. So, as you watch this conflict move forward, as you wait to see what Russia will do next, keep an eye on the eastern part of the country, because that's the part of the country that will more naturally want to align with what Russia wants to do.

PAUL: Tom Foreman, boy, thank you. That does, that does help put it in some perspective there. Here's another story we've been talking about. How does a fugitive drug lord, I mean how did he stay one step ahead of the law for so many years?

BLACKWELL: I've had a sneak peek at this and this is fascinating.

PAUL: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: The answers is inside El Chapo's safe house. You're going to see the secret network under this house and others. We'll have them for you after the break.


BLACKWELL: 23 before the hour now. Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, he spent more than a decade evading Mexican authorities, that is until he was caught a week ago.

PAUL: And it seemed impossible, you think a decade, for somebody that they were looking for. It's impossible until you see how he lived. For El Chapo the comforts of home included cameras, steel reinforced doors, and a whole network of secret tunnels.

BLACKWELL: You'll want to sit down for a moment and watch this. It is fascinating. CNN's Nick Parker saw it all for himself.


NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On this quiet residential street in the Sinaloa state capital of Culiacan with a school just across the street, is one of five Chapo Guzman safe houses, we're going inside to take a look.

Before we're even entering, cameras and reinforced steel doors view the priority of security. I think one of the first things that really hits you when you come in is just how modest and basic it is. You know, a small little kitchen. Some of the bedrooms here are pretty dingy. The Marines tell us this was part of his strategy to have a very modest accommodations so that he could hide in plain sight. In almost every bedroom of the house there are two TV screens. One for security, and one for TV. But when you go into the bathroom the picture of a normal house really does transform. Beneath this bathtub a secret tunnel.

So if you climb down the steps you find yourself in the tunnel itself and you can see it's been quite carefully constructed out of wood. You have to crouch a little bit, but you're quite mobile and there's an electricity system running throughout this. The nearest other safe house from here is three kilometers in this direction. The constructed part of the tunnel ends here, and if you go through this door, you find yourself in the sewage system of Culiacan, an ideal escape route. And the tunnel system comes out right here in another safe house just down the road, and as you can see, it is a very similar setup to the previous one. In all the houses, evidence of life suddenly suspended. The minutia is often interesting. A child's slide. Christmas decorations. And a fondness for mayonnaise.

This safe house is, perhaps, the most significant of all of them. This is where Chapo Guzman escaped from when he was being pursued by Mexican Marines. They broke down this door, and found they had missed him by eight minutes. And this is where he fled to through this bedroom, and into this bathroom where, as you can see, there is another escape hatch underneath this bathtub. Mexican Marines tell us they discovered this entire network of underground tunnels and safe houses when they arrested the head of Chapo Guzman's security, and he gave them this information. And once again underlines, the very central role of intelligence in the arrest of one of the world's most wanted men. Nick Parker, CNN, Culiacan, Mexico.


PAUL: And you can't watch that, but help a wonder how much manpower and time it took to make that happen.

BLACKWELL: Build the tunnels, to secure them. I just find that fascinating.

PAUL: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: There's just a lever that's under the bathtub in each house, and you walk down and then you're into the public sewer system.

PAUL: Yes. It's bizarre.


PAUL: All right. Let's -- you could have made a movie out of that, right?


PAUL: You could have made a movie. Didn't happen this time around, but there are enough Oscar picks, right?

BLACKWELL: Yeah. Nebraska ...

PAUL: For tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: That's one that's up for six Oscars.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you and mom end up getting married?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wanted to. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you didn't?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I figured, what the hell.


BLACKWELL: I mean this is a fascinating film from what I've heard about it. I got a chance to talk with the producers of the black and white film that's getting so much attention. They're the guys behind "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Election," remember, that one with Reese Witherspoon? Well, we've got a sneak peek at what they're saying about the next movie.


BLACKWELL: Good morning, Hollywood. Hey, if you're watching us out there you might be just getting in from your Friday night. We understand. This is a live look at Hollywood Boulevard. You can see the canopies there, the tenting to protect folks from the rain that's in the area. And they're all set up for tomorrow night's Oscar ceremony. But it's more than just a few droplets there.

PAUL: It is. In fact, we need to get Karen Maginnis because we just got word that near L.A. there is a tornado warning. This is not a watch, this is a tornado warning right now. Karen, what do you know?

KAREN MAGINNIS CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. It is on the highway 101, and it's in the vicinity of Pomona, and it's traveling towards the north. Now, it's only in effect for about the next 15 minutes or so, but yes there is a tornado warning. Doppler indicated, but that suggests there's still a lot of twist in the atmosphere. A very vigorous weather system that in some cases over the next 24 hours could produce between one and three inches of rainfall. All right, I know I'm going to be watching the Oscars, and as we go through this afternoon, it is going to be quite soggy. We keep those rain chances pretty high throughout the entire day. That in addition to the wind, kind of kicking up between about 20, maybe gusts around 30 miles an hour. The higher elevation you go, though, we've seen some peak wind gusts around 80 miles an hour. Some of those higher elevations might expect four feet of snowfall.

Well, as we go into Sunday afternoon we keep the rain pretty much in the forecast. Off and on throughout the day. By about 6:00 as those temperatures are only in the low 60s, we'll start to see those rain chances drop down. So instead of looking at about 70 to 80 percent chance of showers, we're looking at those rain chances dropping off to around 30 to 40 percent and then by the end of the Oscars wouldn't you know it, looks like pretty much the rain is going to be gone. Back to you, guys.

BLACKWELL: All right. Just in time for the party.

PAUL: No wardrobe malfunctions because there was too much wind and rain. Thank you, Karen.

BLACKWELL: So, for best picture we're talking about the Oscars. You've got these big movies, "Gravity" "12 Years a Slave," "Dallas Buyers Club," big stories. There's this black and white film, it's Oscar nominated movie, "Nebraska" and it captures a raw, humble sensibility.

PAUL: Yeah, and it's nominated six Oscars. Here's a peek for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me take you home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to Lincoln. If it's the last thing I do. I don't care what you people think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to me. You didn't win anything. It's a complete scam. So you got to stop this, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm running out of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't even have a suitcase?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not staying there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dad, I can't let you go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's none of your business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is. I'm your son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then why don't you take me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't just drop everything and drive you to Lincoln, Nebraska.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. What else you got going on?


PAUL: OK. So suffering from a touch of dementia, Bruce Dern's character sets off walking from Montana to Nebraska to collect what he thinks is a million dollar prize.

BLACKWELL: And his son played by Will Forte goes with him. Now, what transpires is a profile of human nature set against a vast Midwestern landscape. And I asked the movie's producers why they think the film resonated with the Academy.


RON YERXA, PRODUCER: I think it's a really heartfelt, emotional story, and it's very simple, but strong in the connection between father and son, and the way they are able to reach out and actually embrace family. So I think it has a very strong, basic story, and it's, of course, we're very proud of how beautifully it's shot in black and white. So it's kind of unique among those nine films.

BLACKWELL: Albert Bruce Dern, nominated for best actor says that on the first day of filming, the director of the movie Alexander Payne pulled him aside and asked him to let the camera find his performance. What does that mean and how do you think that changed the way that the character's developed in the film?

ALBERT BERGER, PRODUCER: Well, I think Bruce has been primarily known as a character actor for the last 35 years. And it's always been his -- part of his job to be noticed, and to stand out in a movie, to give something bigger. And in this particular case, Woody is a character that doesn't say much and has to recede into the background. And I think it was a whole different thing for Bruce, and yet it worked perfectly for the movie. And, you know, it was a great way for an audience to gradually connect with a character, rather than kind of being hit over the head with him right off the bat.

BLACKWELL: You know, June Squibb also nominated - nominated for best supporting actress for her role in "Nebraska." She's 84 years old. Plays a hard-edged, bombing wife and mother. Her first nomination. Ron, do you think she's found her niche? I mean is this who she will be moving forward?

YERXA: Well, she's an amazingly versatile actor. I mean people think maybe she's a little bit like that character, with, you know, hard edge and the foul mouth with a little bit of heart of gold but actually June is the sweetest person, and she can, you know, do so many things. That this is just the beginning of another stage of her career.

BLACKWELL: So the budget for this film, and correct me if I'm wrong, $13 million. But it's grossed about $17 million. Of course, you have six nominations for the Academy Awards on Sunday night, but, $17 million, what do the academies see that you think maybe the audience just didn't see. Why such a small gross there?

BERGER: Well, I think that the academy saw the quality of the movie, and the way that it resonates emotionally and comedically. And, you know, I think with audiences, I mean folks just aren't used to racing off to the Cineplex to see, you know, a black and white movie with no major stars. But our job as filmmakers is to try and enlarge the dialogue. And try and, you know, tell true stories, and hopefully people eventually will connect with it. You know the audiences that have seen this movie, it's really, really resonated with them. And a lot of people have seen it. So if somebody had asked us at the beginning of the day if, you know, $18 million and a bunch of nominations we'd be happy with that, we would have been ecstatic. So we think the film has succeeded beautifully.

BLACKWELL: Well, Ron Yerxa, Albert Berger, good luck at the big show, and thanks for some great movies.

BERGER: Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Pleasure.


PAUL: All right. BLACKWELL: A very broad spectrum of movies nominated this year.

PAUL: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: And good to see that "Nebraska" slipped in there, as well.

PAUL: Absolutely. So, you know, let's talk about some spiders.


PAUL: Mice.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Giant pythons.

BLACKWELL: Now, typically you would not want to talk about those things. But this is just a reason to laugh this morning. A look at some of the all-time greatest creature creep outs caught on camera.



JIMMY FALLON, THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON: Now, Russia is making a lot of people nervous right now. In fact, some are even saying that the country may be starting a second Cold War, after it sent ships to Cuba yesterday. And Vladimir Putin is like, what is big deal? I'm just doing throwback Thursday.


FALLON: I mean ...

SETH MEYERS, LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS: Russia this week gave all of its gold medalists from the Sochi games $120,000, plus a brand-new Mercedes SUV. While the silver and bronze medalists all received life in prison.



PAUL: Oh my gosh.

BLACKWELL: I like the throwback Thursday.

PAUL: That was awesome, yes. So afraid of spiders?


PAUL: Snakes, anything?

BLACKWELL: I do have a fear, but ...

PAUL: We're not going to talk about it. BLACKWELL: No.

PAUL: I'll tell you what it's the roaches I can't take.

BLACKWELL: For me it is open water.

PAUL: You know, it's not the creepy crawlies we're talking about ....


BLACKWELL: That's why I'm going to ....

PAUL: Well, you know. We're talking about this weather guy because you when you're on live people you're just on live and there's nothing you can do about it.

BLACKWELL: And, you know, that got us to thinking, hey remember that weather guy in this city and remember him one time on television. So, of course - who do you stand to do that?

PAUL: Jeanne Moos.

BLACKWELL: Jeanne Moos, of course. Take a look back.



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Bakersfield, California, it was sunny with a 100 percent chance of arachnids. PERLMAN: Oh, my gosh. Did you guys see that?

Sorry, there was a spider that fell.



MOOS: Yet another weather man ...

PERLMAN: Creeped out right now.

MOOS: KBAK's Aaron Perlman has been attacked by a spider while on the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take it easy, Pearlman, take it easy.

PERLMAN: I hate spiders, man, just especially when you're bald, you feel them crawl on your head.

MOOS: But suddenly, the spider became itsy-bitsy and Aaron joined the ranks of weather people ambushed by arachnids.

KRISTI GORDON: Oh, my gosh. That was creepy. Oh, of course it had to be right on my head. Oh, I just don't like that. OK, I'm going to move it. MOOS: The spider wasn't even in the studio last year when Global BC's Kristi Gordon freaked out. It was just hanging out on the lens of a camera stationed outdoors. Some spiders were invited guests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will punch you if you even get close to me. Just get it out of the studio.

MOOS: Spiders aren't the only critters to cause jitters. BBC radio's Kate Kinsella was in the middle of her forecast.

KATE KINSELLA, BBC: The good news is it will start -- ah -- story, there's a mouse just run past me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a book or a block of wood near you?

KINSELLA: But don't kill it.


KINSELLA: Oh, it's quite sweet actually, bless it.

MOOS: But having a bug fly in your mouth. That could make you a star. Actually it was a grasshopper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That led to Chris Wood's death.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) is this? Flying in my mouth. That's [EXPLETIVE DELETED] I can't --

MOOS: Isiah Carey has gotten an Emmy for his reporting. But he's gotten over 19 million views on YouTube for almost swallowing a bug.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you eat the grasshopper?

ISIAH CAREY: No I didn't. Spit it out immediately.

MOOS: But creepy crawlies are nothing compared to what ended up in one weatherman's shorts. KCCI weatherman Kurtis Gertz was doing a live shot at the Iowa state fair when a giant Burmese python snaked into his pants.



MOOS: Kurtis was finally relieved of the stake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kurtis, was it good for you?

MOOS: The long-range forecast calls for a slight chance of being showered by spiders.


MOOS: And a few isolated snakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that's just wrong.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLACKWELL: The snake.

PAUL: That's just wrong.

BLACKWELL: Had you seen that snake?

PAUL: Yeah, I had seen that before. I hadn't seen the full angle, though.

BLACKWELL: Oh, yeah.

PAUL: Which is kind of, you know, funny.

BLACKWELL: I mean at least buy me dinner first.


PAUL: We hope we made you smile with that one this morning.

BLACKWELL: Next up here on "NEW DAY" starts right now.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian federation inside of Ukraine.


BLACKWELL: A Russian warship is 200 miles from Miami. And a Ukraine invasion seems imminent. Is this just saber rattling or darker shades of Cold War aggression?

PAUL: NFL pro bowl player Darren Sharper surrendered to Los Angeles police amid rape charges in two states. The investigation is spreading even further now.

BLACKWELL: And tomorrow's Hollywood's big night when the stars go to party, hoping to take home the golden man. The expert predictions ahead.