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Armed Militia Patrol Airports in Crimea; More Rain Today for Bone-Dry California; Fed Chief Says Taper Remains on Course; Obama Issues Stern Warning to Russia Over Ukraine; A Sneak Peek at the 86th Oscars; Former NFL Star Faces Rape Charges

Aired March 1, 2014 - 07:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So what's on the menu this morning? We have our water sitting here.

BLACKWELL: Room temperature --

PAUL: Crazy people, I know, mine is a little warmer, yes.

But we are glad to have you with us to sit back and eat your breakfast and relax. We'll get you informed. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Seven o'clock now on the East Coast and this is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: And we're starting with, of course, the breaking news: Ukraine now accusing Russia of sending in thousands of troops and dozens of armored personnel carriers into its southern Crimea region.

PAUL: But Ukraine says it will not be provoked into using force and it's telling Russia, pull back now. The pro-Russian leader of Crimea is urging Russia to intervene though to keep the peace. And Moscow says, it won't ignore the request.

BLACKWELL: And Crimean television says Russian helicopters, look here, flew in the skies over Crimea yesterday, and mysterious guards toting these automatic weapons, they suddenly appeared outside two airports. President Obama is telling Moscow to respect Ukraine's sovereignty, or, and this is a quote, "there will be costs".


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has 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: We want to show you some of the pictures we're getting in now of Russian tanks on the move near Russia's Black Sea fleet base in Crimea. Moscow insists any troop movements are necessary for security but 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.


PAUL: Our CNN correspondents are in Russia and Crimea following the fast-moving, really complicated developments for us.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We're going to start with Frederik Pleitgen in Moscow.

Fred, Crimea, home of course to the Russia's Black Sea naval fleet. It is major strategic importance to Russia and Ukraine.

PAUL: Mm-hmm. And also, you know, Russia saying it's extremely concerned about developments there. What do you know about what's happening specifically?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, seems as though, Christi, that after the military movements that we had basically throughout all of yesterday, right now a lot of it has moved into the political arena, but the events are just as fast-moving as they were before. As you said the new prime minister of Crimea went forward and said he wants Russia to get involved in what he called stabilizing the situation there. The Russians for their part have said they're not going to ignore that.

Now what's happened, just within the last hour, is that the Russian parliament, the Duma, has called on Vladimir Putin to take action to stabilize the situation in Crimea, as well. It's unclear what exactly that entails, whether that could entail even more military forces in the Crimean Peninsula. But certainly it is something that they're calling for, and that, of course, really ups the ante in all of this a lot further.

And one of the other things that we also always have to keep in mind all of that is that Russia is also staging a gigantic military exercise right next door to that Crimea region. And that military exercise involves as many troops as the U.S. had in Iraq at the height of the Iraq war.


So you point out here that this pro-Russian leader's asking Russian troops to come in, to stabilize, to reinforce peace. That would have the opposite effect, I'm sure, and the president and the U.S., President Obama's telling Moscow, do not go in. Do we have any indication of which direction Russia will go after we've now learned that they won't ignore the request?

PLEITGEN: It's very hard to say, and he didn't specifically say the truth but he did say do something to stabilize the situation to Vladimir Putin. So, that could entail a lot of things. So, clearly, the Russians are giving themselves leeway as to what exactly they do. However, what we're hearing is there are substantial troop movements within the Crimean peninsula of Russian forces. It's unclear whether or not that is overstepping any of the boundaries yet because we do have to keep in mind that Russia does have an agreement with Ukraine to station its forces there, in that area, and also to move them around within certain parameters.

The Ukrainians are saying that the Russians have abused that agreement. The Russians say they are still well within that agreement. So, at this point in time, there's many people who believe that this might be saber rattling on the part of the Russians. That this military exercise they have next door was moved forward to show the world that they're not very happy with what's happening in Ukraine and they're certainly going to draw a red line when it comes to the Crimean peninsula.

It's absolutely key place to the Russians, they've seen it as their territory for a very long time, as you said, a large part of the population, the majority of the population is Russian.

So, Vladimir Putin is also in somewhat of a bind. He has to be seen as being tough here at home, while at the same time, of course, it is a very volatile situation. You have the U.S. president, you have Barack Obama warning Vladimir Putin not to take any action that could, that could cross his -- you know, hate to use the word red line -- but that goes too far in all this.

It's a very volatile situation, and very much unclear what Russia's plans are exactly.

BLACKWELL: And things are changing on the ground there minute to minute. So, we'll check back with you, Fred Pleitgen. Thank you so much.


PAUL: And, you know, one top U.S. lawmaker called the Russian movement an aggression. We're talking about Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who said, quote, I want to quote this for you, "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 eudemonic ambitions threaten U.S. interests and allies around the world."

So, you know, to better understand this whole conflict, it helps doesn't it if we can see how divided Ukraine is. And this map shows that you know the nation, and how it voted in its last elections, the blue areas you see there, sided more with Europe and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The red areas sided more with Russia and ousted president now Viktor Yanukovych. That includes Crimea, which has strong ties as we've been talking about to Russia and people there you know they speak Russian, so they feel like that is their heritage.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And this is the map we were just talking about. They had the wrong map up. As we see here the blue going with the west and these orange and red areas going more with Russia.

We're also digging deeper into this with Ian Bremer, who is president of the Eurasian Group, a consulting firm which studies global political risk. He's also the author on several books on the Soviet Union, political uprisings, including "The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall".

Ian, good to have you with us.

And, and, and first up, what do you think we're witnessing in Crimea. After the reporting of a flag being hoisted, the Russian flag now they're flying over parts of Crimea, is this a full-blown invasion or is it some hybrid? Is it something else?

IAN BREMMER, EURASIA GROUP: The Russians won't consider it an invasion. Crimea is majority Russians in terms of the people that actually live there and it's most -- it's almost all Russian speaking. The orientation of the population is overwhelmingly towards Moscow. There is, of course, a Russian military base there. It's been added to very significantly over the last 24 hours, both in terms of infantry as well as naval capacity.

The Russian view is that Yanukovych, who had cut a deal with the opposition to stay in power, for some six-plus months, was ousted illegally. That is technically true. They don't recognize this new government in Ukraine, and that the Crimean parliament is requesting help from Russia.

So, certainly, from a Russian perspective, they will have all sorts of justifications for how this is not a breach of Ukraine's territorial integrity. The United States may be setting red lines on Ukraine but they are not prepared to defend them, and Putin knows that, which means that his ability to escalate here is pretty unfettered by the international community.

PAUL: So let me ask you this, could Ukraine eventually descend into a civil war when we're talking about these two sides?

BREMMER: You know, I don't expect a full-blown civil war but something like we saw in Georgia a few years ago I think is reasonably likely, where a piece of Ukraine is not controlled by Ukraine. The Russians control Crimea right now. It's purely a question of whether and when Putin feels like formalizing it.

You know, Putin hasn't actually made a statement over the last three days. He doesn't need to say anything. Actions speak a lot louder than words from the Russians right now.

And we also have major pro-Russian demonstrations in three large Ukrainian cities near Crimea, all heavily Russian speaking with large Russian minority populations, including Donetsk which is quite significant. It wouldn't surprise me if we see a lot of instability and violence in those areas. But Crimea is effectively Russian. That was true yesterday, it's true today.

BLACKWELL: The president yesterday in his statement says that there will be costs if Russia invades the sovereignty of Ukraine. Is this another red line? And you know even the critics of the president have said that -- maybe some of them at least -- have said they don't want to see troops on the ground but something has to happen to support Ukraine. If this is another red line, what does the U.S. lose if they don't go in and support Ukraine?

BREMMER: Well, the Pentagon has just said following Obama that there are no contingencies planned militarily to respond to the Russians and Ukraine, which is I'm sure untrue, because the Pentagon has contingencies for absolutely everything. But I think they were trying to say, hey, don't worry, it's not like we're going to put troops on the ground here. We're not going to talk about war.

So far, what I've heard is the potential for targeted sanctions against Russia. I've heard about the fact that Obama might not attend the G-8 summit coming up in Sochi.

My goodness, I mean, this is not the sort of thing that Putin is going to respond to. Ukraine matters a factor of 100 to Russia, and to Putin, and to the Russian people, more than it does the United States. And that's going to be made very, very evident, abundantly evident, to the American people over the next few days.

Unfortunately, the one consequence this is likely to have, is it's going to be a hit to American foreign policy credibility in the region. I really don't think the U.S. should be in the business of setting anything that smells like a red line in an area the Americans clearly are not going to defend.

PAUL: OK, let me ask you this. Why does it seem, I think people who are watching this as though these are echoes of the Cold War coming to us here? I mean is that an overstatement to say, or, are we looking at a Cold War brewing again?

BREMMER: Well, I mean, you know, Obama and Kerry have both said strongly that they do not consider this to be in any way reflective of the Cold War. But they said that when they felt like they were winning with the new Ukrainian government that wanted to jettison the Russians and orient themselves toward Europe.

I assure you that Putin sees this 100 percent in cold war terms. Ukraine is considered a part of Russia, but overwhelmingly by the Russian people and by the Kremlin. They have absolutely no intention of letting it go.

At no point did the Americans call on the Ukrainian government to respect the terms of the military lease, for example, ongoing military lease with the Ukrainian base.

The Russians see all of this as the potential of loss of their own empire in their backyard. I assure you, there is absolutely no chance that Putin's going to simply allow that to happen. So, from his perspective it's very zero sum, it's very confrontational, and they're not going to let it go and the Americans are going to have to deal with that fact.

PAUL: All righty. Ian Bremmer, thank you so much for being with us, and what's going on there. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: You know, after one of the, the worst droughts in history --

PAUL: Oh, my goodness.

BLACKWELL: -- for California, the state's now being drenched.

PAUL: Not only that, but do you believe already this morning there has been a tornado warning just outside Los Angeles. We're going to get you the latest, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that. We have a tornado in Woodland, on the ground.


PAUL: Can you believe that? Yes, that funnel cloud caught on tape in northern California, this is in Woodland, North of Sacramento.

Massive storm system moving through that state, and you know, they needed rain so badly because of the drought here, there, one of the worst droughts on record, but they're getting pounded by far too much water at this point.

BLACKWELL: It's causing huge problems. Look at this it's a mudslide. And with the ground so dry, flooding, of course, is a huge concern. Right now, Los Angeles County is under a flash flood watch.

PAUL: And, of course, those mudslides and the threat thereof has been talk of evacuations affecting 1,000 homes in southern California right now.

BLACKWELL: Yes, people in that area barely had time to grab their pets the important papers as mud, imagine, started pouring in to the streets, into the homes, the rain has also led to power outages, as we've said, flooding of course, traffic problems.

PAUL: And meteorologist Karen Maginnis was telling us about something that is so rare --


PAUL: -- to see in California, let alone this time of year.

BLACKWELL: A tornado warning, east of Los Angeles, was that -- did anyone ever see anything or was it Doppler-indicated?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It was Doppler indicated. It was along the 101, that runs east/west and this was well to the east of Los Angeles. Since we last reported that that, that has expired but nonetheless it does get forecasters, people in the national weather service very excited to see something like that.

Area of low pressure just off the coast making its way into California, it's going to be trekking across interior sections of the West, and then towards Midwest, and the Northeast. So, you know what's in store, snow, you thought it was going to be almost over. Here we are in to March and it's coming in like a lion. I hate to be a cliche but that's exactly what's happening.

Southern California, one to three inches of rainfall expected. The bulk of that will come today, lesser amounts coming up for Sunday. But nonetheless, a lot of people focused on the Oscars. But they need the wet weather but it has been so dismal the last couple of days, and you may remember they had about 2,000 acres across this region that was burned, and now, because of the rain coming down just kind of slides off it.

So Christi and victor, that's going to trek to the east, going to be problematic coming up in the forecast. More later.

PAUL: OK. Yes, we'll talk about the Northeast and the Midwest coming up, it's not looking pretty.

BLACKWELL: Karen, thanks.

PAUL: So, you know, they get knocked down but they get up again. Isn't that a good song? Can we get that song going?

BLACKWELL: It's also the theme of the Webbles, remember them?

PAUL: The Webbles Wobble but They Don't Fall Down?


PAUL: Oh, who remembers that out there with us? We're not talking about Webbles. We're talking about two retailers who were taking hits in the headlines. But you know what? They're making a comeback at least on Wall Street.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we're going to tell you who and how big of a comeback.


BLACKWELL: Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates is, of course, famous for its luxury and those manmade islands.

PAUL: Yes. And in today's travel insider, CNN's Sanjay Gupta takes us to really an unexpected location where you need a winter coat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta and today I'd like to show you a different side of Dubai. Certainly, it's a city known for their skyscrapers, their beaches and their shopping. But Dubai also has a lot of different types of activities, including, skiing. Yes, snow skiing.

I've never seen anything quite like this, something counterintuitive about skiing indoors. As you might imagine they provide you with all the equipment you need, including a helmet. Over here, a neurosurgeon I personally think this is the most important piece. Let's go.

Feels like the real thing. I'm going to give it a shot.

There's something sort of unnatural about skiing in the middle of the desert. But I think just the novelty of it makes this pretty extraordinary. A lot of fun.

So who'd have thought I come all the way to the desert here in Dubai and I get to go snow skiing. What a terrific day.


PAUL: So let's talk money because stocks were mostly higher yesterday, including the Dow Jones gained almost 50 points. In earlier trading the Dow jumped 125 points but it fell on news of unrest in the Ukraine.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the Dow was not the only winner in February, though. The S&P 500, and the NASDAQ, also got a boost from investors.

PAUL: Yes, Alison joining us with a look at your week on Wall Street.

Good morning, Alison.


It was a winning week on Wall Street. The S&P 500 closed February at another high as investors sorted through earnings and economic reports. The Dow and NASDAQ also closed higher.

On Friday, a weaker GDP report for the fourth quarter drew some attention. But there was better news on consumer sentiment that seemed to lift the mood of investors about the future. This week, it was all about the retailers. After its highly damaging data breach, target stock rallied, despite profits that were cut in half in the last quarter, investors were optimistic that the worst is behind target.

Another big winner, JCPenney. The struggling retailer said losses were smaller than expected in the last quarter and the CEO said the company's strategy remains on course.

And Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen took questions from Congress this week. She held the taper line and didn't depart from the idea that the Fed will continue to dial back its stimulus by $10 billion at a time. And no news was good news for investors. Victor and Christi, that's a wrap of the week on Wall Street.

BLACKWELL: All right, Alison, thank you so much.

Hey, we now know exactly what killed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.

PAUL: We'll have details for you ahead.

And you know, a lot of eyes on the president right now. Will his tough talk to Russia force Moscow to back off and Crimea or will Vladimir Putin call his bluff?


PAUL: Mortgage rates dipped this week. Take a look.


PAUL: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour right now. I just want to give you the time in case you've got something on your schedule but hopefully you can sit back and relax. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Hopefully, you don't have anything planned this early. Maybe 10:00, 11:00.

Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Up first, this nationwide manhunt for an escaped child rapist, it's over. Fifty-one-year-old Eric Hartwell apparently cut off his ankle bracelet last week and he walked out of a Denver group home where he'd been living while on parole. The U.S. Marshals found him in a motel room in Norfolk, Virginia.

PAUL: Number two, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an acute mixed drug intoxication. This is according to a new report from the New York medical examiner's office, which says that drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine were found in Hoffman's system. The manner of death now has been ruled an accident.

BLACKWELL: Number three, an American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing last night after it was hit by a flock of birds. It happened on takeoff but only left the left engine with minor damage. None of the 128 people on board was hurt. After the plane landed, they all were reassigned to other flights.

PAUL: Number four, all you folks in California I know you've gone from drought to drench, it's miserable and dangerous. Look at this -- torrential downpours, leaving those mudslides after the worst drought in 100 years the state desperately needs the rain as you know, but the ground is so dry that flooding is one of the big concerns right now. Los Angeles County specifically is under a flash flood watch this hour.

BLACKWELL: And number five, Russia is accusing Ukraine of trying to destabilize the situation in Crimea. It says unidentified gunmen directed from Kiev tried to take control of the ministry of internal affairs in the autonomous republic. The Ukraine meanwhile is accusing Russia -- Russian forces, rather, of trying to seize two airports in Crimea, and it says it repealed them.

PAUL: Now, the thing is the White House doesn't have a lot of great options when it comes to this crisis.

BLACKWELL: Yes, President Obama may talk about the cost of intervention but can he really sway Russia? One opportunity is just ahead on the calendar, the G-8 summit in Sochi.

PAUL: A U.S. boycott would be certainly embarrassing for Russia but it still might not be enough at the end of the day. CNN's Erin McPike joining us now from Washington and the White House.

So, Erin, is it true that the president may skip this global summit? And would it persuade other nations to do the same?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, just yesterday, a senior administration official told CNN that we may very well do that. But at the very least President Obama issued a very stern warning yesterday afternoon to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Take a listen to what he said yesterday in the briefing room.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest 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, obviously, Putin and Obama have a strained relationship, but President Obama did say that he spoke with Putin a few days ago and that both countries are staying in close contact, Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: So, Erin, will the -- will Congress follow the president's lead? We know that some members have been pretty outspoken thus far.\

MCPIKE: Well, Republicans yesterday did put out a number of statements saying that they wanted the United States to stand with Ukraine and stand up to Russia somewhat, a little further than the president went.

But John McCain went even further than that, criticizing the president, saying he's naive, essentially, and that Putin does not respect Obama. Here's what he said yesterday on "THE SITUATION ROOM."


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: 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, they -- 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, to that end, the State Department is warning Americans to stay out of Ukraine, to stay out of the region, while the situation continues, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All righty. Erin McPike at the White House for us. Thank you, Erin.

BLACKWELL: So what a lot of people are looking forward to this weekend, tomorrow's big night. The academy awards.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: The fashion and all of the, you know, Ellen is hosting.

PAUL: You know that's going to be good.

BLACKWELL: She's going to be funny.

You know the point of the whole thing is to find out which stars will walk away with an Oscar.

PAUL: Right. And will anybody really be crying in their champagne if they don't win? I mean they were nominated. It's just enough to be nominated!

But we're going to talk to the experts ahead. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: Exactly 38 after the hour. At least it was when I started to say that.

PAUL: Right.

BLACKWELL: Now, we're in the e block and that means it's time for entertainment. We're going to talk entertainment and it's Oscar weekend, the big story, of course, is the Academy Awards get under way tomorrow night in Hollywood.

PAUL: Yes. So we've got "12 Years a Slave," "American Hustle". Competition is expected to be so fierce tomorrow. Did you have a favorite? If you did, tweet us. I want to know what it was.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let us know what your favorites are. Here to talk about the predictions, and the picks from the experts, we've got senior editor of "Rotten Tomatoes", Grae Drake, and senior editor of "Us Weekly", Bradley Jacobs.

Good to have both of you back.

PAUL: OK. Before we get your predictions, let's take a look real quick here at one movie that's getting so much buzz, "Dallas Buyers Club."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seems like every time I see you all I see is white. White coat, white shoes, white --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am telling my patients to stay away from here.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you want to go grab a steak sometime? I know it's red.

PAUL: Wow. Bradley, when it comes to best actor everybody's talking about Matthew McConaughey. Do you think she's a shoo-in?

BRADLEY JACOBS, US WEEKLY: He's absolutely going to win. This is Matthew's moment, as they say. You know, he was forever like the bongo playing, rom-com industry joke for a lot of years, and then he got tired of that guy and he took a couple of years off, stopped doing rom-com, started doing more serious stuff and look what it led him to, "Dallas Buyers Club" the role of his lifetime essentially. You know, playing a straight guy in the '80s who gets HIV positive and has to go from like a homophobic outlook to hanging out with drag queens and transgendered people, and you know, learning about AZT.

It's an amazing performance and he's won every award so far and he'll be there tomorrow night and hopefully he'll give an excellent speech. I'm looking forward to seeing that win.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Grae, is it the actor's Oscar to lose when he drops 30 percent of his body weight or alters his appearance drastically? I imagine you're a shoo-in after that.

GRAE DRAKE, ROTTEN TOMATOES: Well, that certainly helps. But I mean ultimately the bottom line, hopefully, is always the performance, right? And Matthew McConaughey was spectacular. But don't discount the Hollywood legend legendary power of Bruce Dern because who wouldn't love to give him an award for shooting John Wayne many moons ago and for this amazing performance in "Nebraska" and also Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio.

This could be a huge upset tomorrow night if he wins for "The Wolf of Wall Street" because he made that movie into something entirely different than what it started.

PAUL: Everybody is talking about him, too. That's going to be interesting. When we say stiff competition we meet it.

What about best actress? Let's talk Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep.

Bradley, you first who is top for it?

JACOBS: Again, there's no question this is Cate Blanchett's win. It was my favorite performance of the year. I wanted that movie to go on and on.

She has never won best actress, even though she's a leading lady. She won best supporting actress for "The Aviator" basically everyone forgot about that Oscar that she won because she's not a supporting actress, she is a leading lady. She's been nominated several times in the past. This is finally her year to win.

I defy anyone to tell me that there's a better best actress performance than that one. It is exquisite.

BLACKWELL: Grae, what about Amy Adams and "American Hustle"?

DRAKE: Well, we loved Amy Adams not only for that performance but also for the unbelievable performance of her posture, wearing those low-cut V-necks with no double-stick tape. However, I completely agree that this one is Cate Blanchett 100 percent. (INAUDIBLE) from "Lord of the Rings'", has turned an amazing performances.

And those armpit stains and pill popping things that she was doing were the least of that unbelievable performance, it's really -- she's going to take it home for sure.

PAUL: All righty, Grae, I'm going to stick with you. Biggest award of the night is best picture. Who do you think's got it and why?

DRAKE: Man, what an exciting category this is this year. Because, I could name three movies that I think might take it home. And I'm going to say, "12 Years A Slave" will get the academy award because it's an important film that was so powerful and so spectacularly done.

However, I think there's room in this category for an upset, as well. I think it's possible that "12 Years" and "Gravity" have split the vote and we might see "American Hustle" come out of nowhere and get the Best Picture Award.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Bradley?

JACOBS: Here's the thing -- everyone knows that "12 Years A Slave" is an important movie. But, I think that a lot of those Academy members had a hard time opening up that screener, had a hard time getting to it. I know people in my office who had a hard time getting to it.

You know, it just looks like it's going to be tough to watch, and it is. It's very harrowing. And I think a lot of people might end up voting for "Gravity" or "American Hustle" which are much more cloud pleasing, if you will, and that you might see one of those two win over "12 Years A Slave." BLACKWELL: What do you mean having a hard time opening it up? Physically opening something? Explain this.

JACOBS: No, having a hard time --

BLACKWELL: Getting into the plot? Yes.

JACOBS: They have the screener on their dining room table, they've been sent it, and they're like I've got to watch that. I know I've got to watch that. I know it's important for me to see it, but they don't get around to it. And that's what I'm -- that's what I'm worried about for "12 Years a Slave."

PAUL: I got you.

DRAKE: "12 Years A Slave" was so good that I think people will cast a vote for it even if they couldn't bring themselves to open the screener up.

BLACKWELL: You know what? Personally, I still have not seen "12 Years a Slave" in many ways because of what Bradley just said. I mean --

PAUL: It's hard to watch.

BLACKWELL: When I hear people describe it's such a great movie the first thing they describe is the scene with Lupita Nyong'o and the second thing they describe is the scene with Chiwetel Ejiofor lynching scene or near lynching.

PAUL: Yes, it's hard to watch.

BLACKWELL: It's a difficult movie to see.

Yes, go ahead, Grae --

JACOBS: I saw it in a theater --


JACOBS: I just want to say I saw it in a theater and you couldn't leave, of course. But you know, I think it would have been tempting, watching the DVD, to step away from the screen, to, to take yourself out of it for a little while.


DRAKE: OK. I don't disagree with that. But I will say that you have -- I also built it up in my mind as being so much more outwardly violent and gory and graphic than it actually was. And it's such a moving, beautiful film that it's really important to watch even though it's not necessarily good time at the movies.


PAUL: Right, right. That's always the point. BLACKWELL: Grae Drake, Bradley Jacobs, thank you both.

Be sure to watch CNN tonight at 9:00 Eastern for an all-new CNN film called "And The Oscar Goes To". It's the ultimate backstage look at Hollywood's biggest night.

Also, former NFL star facing life sentence for crimes he allegedly committed across the country.

PAUL: Details right after this break.


BLACKWELL: Former NFL star is behind bars being held without bail this morning. Darren Sharper surrendered to police in the face of multiple rape charges in Los Angeles and New Orleans.

PAUL: With more, the prosecutors say the repeat pro bowler and former NFL Network analyst is also under investigation for rape in Florida, Arizona and Nevada. So, this thing is really expanding.

CNN's Tory Dunnan and Joe Carter is joining us now for more.

Tory, let's go to you first. What is the latest in the terms of allegations?

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a lot going on and a lot of jurisdictions. So, it's going to do a timeline to break it down. He turned himself in L.A., to police there. It happened without incident. But he was turning himself in on charges from New Orleans. Now, those specific charges were two counts of aggravated rape and police in New Orleans say it was something that happened back in an apartment in September in New Orleans.

Also important to point out, though, he was in L.A. in the first place because there was a hearing that took place last week on two separate charges from L.A. He made a not guilty plea. There was a bond that took place in part of the court order was he had to stay in L.A. So, that's why he turned himself in to police there.

But even beyond that, you mentioned all these other investigations that are going on. There's one happening in Miami Beach. Police say it is open and active and stemming from an incident back in 2012.

Beyond that in Arizona, police are saying they are looking into something there. They are waiting for the crime lab results. They expect to file charges. And then police in Las Vegas have an investigation going on as well. They're not saying what may or may not have happened there.

BLACKWELL: So, what's next for Sharper?

DUNNAN: Well, right now, he is in L.A. And, potentially, there's going to be an extradition hearing that takes place to move him back to New Orleans. But let's listen to what police had to say about what's next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we have a very strong case. We work closely with the district attorney and the process of one state moving another state's prisoner will take effect and what's done with the district attorney's office. I do think it's important to let the public know that there may be more arrests yet to come in our case, and as a result of what I thought was very good work by our detectives and the district attorney's office, these men face serious charges in the state of Louisiana.


PAUL: OK. So, we look at this, Joe, we've got to wonder what the NFL is saying about it.

JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are not saying anything and they're not going to say anything, because keep in mind, the Darren Sharper ended his career in 2010. The earliest investigation into these charges going back to 2012. So, it was two years removed from his playing career. He's a former employee as far as they're concerned.

The NFL Network, its broadcast entity, he's still an employee of the NFL Network. He worked as an analyst for the last few years. He is suspended indefinitely without pay. Clearly, the NFL wants to wait for the facts to come out before they decide to make a decision because if he comes back being innocent, they don't want to face a wrongful termination lawsuit.

But as far as this being a black eye, some people said, oh, with Aaron Hernandez, Ray Rice, these are unfortunate incidences. But the NFL cannot control with a players do outside of the facility, out of these games and practices. There's 1,700 employees. Of course, there's going to be a couple of bad apples in the seed.

The NFL is coming off the most popular and most profitable year. Of course, the Super Bowl, being the most watched television program ever. So, as far as hurting the reputation of football, not at this point.

PAUL: We hear, you know, we hear people are under contract for things and if they have any sort of nefarious or God forbid criminal action taken against them or if they act in a way that does not put their employer in a good light, that they are terminated point blank.

BLACKWELL: Even the charge. Sometimes, you don't have to be found guilty.

PAUL: Right.

CARTER: Well, the NFL put its position on the HR department. And they are basically saying they're going to wait for the facts to come out. We're not making a move at this point. He's been suspended indefinitely without pay. We'll wait for the facts to come out. That's where the NFL network's position on this. As far as the league goes, the league is staying away from it.

PAUL: They probably won't say anything.

CARTER: I would not expect them to say anything. Again, he stopped playing in 2010. The earliest incident is in 2012. Two years after his career was over.


PAUL: All right.

Tory Dunnan and Joe Carter, thank you both so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

CARTER: Thanks, guys.

BLACKWELL: Hey, take a look at this video. See this guy running away from police? Yes. You see him fall. Here he is.

PAUL: People, you're not going to believe this. The Girl Scouts in San Diego are calling him the cookie monster. Does that give you a hint to what is going on here?

BLACKWELL: Come on, guy.

PAUL: We'll be right back.


PAUL: Let's get you some good stuff this morning, all right?

This is part of the show where we feature stories about some of the good news out there because it is there and in the morning, we have the responsibility to, you know, make you smile.

BLACKWELL: We have something for you.

First up, parents wait months for milestones for baby's first steps or first words. This baby had to wait for something just as special. Hearing her parents say I love you for the first time. Nine-month-old Kendall Johnson (ph) was born deaf and a cochlear implant is now helping her hear.

PAUL: Doctors say it's new technology means they can tweet almost any kind of hearing loss, and that great Kendall's dad says she is getting used to sounds with help from her big brother. A big brother would definitely give sounds, wouldn't he?

BLACKWELL: Yes, got some sounds.

PAUL: He was always, as we understand, born deaf and got his own implant four years ago. Good for them.

So, if you are a dog person, you will go to great lengths to save your furry friend.

BLACKWELL: This is yellow lab here, injured, scared, here in the middle of the highway in Houston, at the height of rush hour. Coming over the wall, a rescuer.

PAUL: The man said he heard about the pup on the radio and rushed to help her. He ended up luring her over with a sandwich. Vets say he got there just in time. The poor thing had broken bones and internal bleeding. But she is expected to recover.

BLACKWELL: That's good.

PAUL: Yay to him.

BLACKWELL: Hey, in Utah, a lunch lady being called a hero. Listen to what happened. Eight-year-old Ashley Dwyer (ph), you see her here. She is in the lavender here with red hair, started laughing, then realized the orange was stuck in her throat. She says she ran to the lunch lady Anne Carpenter for some help.


ANNE CARPENTER, LUNCH LADY: I raised her arms like that. I took my hands and just thrusted. And then it just shot out.


PAUL: You know how grateful her parents were. She had her first aid and CPR training. You know what, this is all just part of the job. For the parents of the little girl, that is more than just a job to them. Good for her.

BLACKWELL: The cookie monster has been caught.

PAUL: What is wrong with people? Can we just say what is wrong with people?

BLACKWELL: But, first, let's say, for the kids who are watching, we're not talking about the blue one from "Sesame Street."

We're talking about this guy. You are about to see him running away from cops. That's coming up. There he is. You know what they say he did?

PAUL: It kind of gives it away. Accused of stealing a jar of money from some Girl Scouts selling cookies in San Diego. Now they have one message for the alleged thief: don't mess with the Girl Scouts, buddy.

BLACKWELL: Don't do it.

PAUL: The suspect was booked in the county jail on outstanding charges, including battery.