86th Academy Awards Running Diary
LOS ANGELES — For the first time in the last 3 years, I am not at the Academy Awards (#StraightUpBrag), so I figured I’d roll over to Berger’s place and bust out a running diary for this year’s show. Ellen DeGeneres is the host, a much safer choice compared to last year when apparently Seth MacFarlane offended everyone, but we’ll see who ends up stealing the show. I’m not expecting many surprises in terms of who the actual winners are, but you never know. OK, let’s get to it!
5:29pm PST – Since I wasn’t at the Red Carpet this year for The Eisen Podcast, figured I’d do a running diary since I can actually watch the show. Berger cares about this stuff as much as I do so hopefully we’ll have some good commentary throughout. We’re a minute away. I’m guessing it’s gonna be another long ass show. Berger thinks 3 hours and 24 minutes. I’m definitely taking the over.
5:30 – Ellen walks out and immediately goes in with a “raining in LA joke… Thank you for your prayers.” Predictable, and everyone laughed. UGH, that’s the problem with Ellen, she’s so safe and everyone loves her. But seriously, it was touch-and-go with the rain here, people. She’s not wrong about that.
5:32 – The June Squibb being old and can’t understand anything bit was funny. And is Ellen wearing velvet? Berger immediately breaks out into Seinfeld velvet lines. This is why we’re friends.
5:33 – Ellen should just quit now after that Liza Minelli male impersonator joke. That was hilarious.
5:35 – “Did Julia Roberts always have that many teeth?” Valid question by Berger. … Julia is loving this Ellen monologue. Jesus stop laughing, this is not that funny. “She’s hammered!” That’s the only explanation I’m accepting.
5:37 – Jennifer Lawrence is mostly perfect, right down to stumbling while getting out of her car. But I wouldn’t have cut my hair if I was her.
5:39 – How does Jonah Hill have a better seat than Marty Scorsese? And everyone brings their mom to this show, huh? Not gonna lie, I would bring BrockmanMary, too.
5:40 – OK, time for some awards. Anne Hathaway is out to present Best Supporting Actor. We can all agree she’s the worst, right? And it’s gotta be Jared Leto, yes? It’s the rule. Dress up like a woman/man, get the statue. They don’t break rules in Hollywood.
5:42 – Leto wins it. And Tyler Perry with the great seats next to Jennifer Garner. “The only reason I’m watching this show is for this speech.” Leto tells Ellen he loves her first. Upset of the night.
5:44 – Neck tattoo guy turns out to be Leto’s brother. “To all the dreamers out there!” Hooray for dreamers! Nice of him to mention those who’ve lost battle to AIDS. Very well done speech. Hard to top that one tonight.
5:47 – Jim Carrey out for the next awards and wow, that’s a blue suit. Lotta blue suits tonight. Lot going on with Jim’s hair, too… and he’s breaking out the weird faces. Sweet. He’s never changed… LSD joke and director cuts to U2. Was that on purpose?
5:51 – Kerry Washington comes out and damn, she’s huge! That little Nnamdi inside her is ready for the Draft. She’s here to introduce Pharrell singing some song titled “Happy.” Wait, so Jim Carrey didn’t even give out an award? What was that for then? I’m so confused. This is an awards show still, right?
5:53 – “Is there any big event that Pharrell hasn’t performed at in the last two years? When did he bcome Quincy Jones?” It’s a good point. Where’s he showing up to next? 5:1 he’s at the NFL Draft.
5:55 – Berger has these peanut butter filled pretzel bites which are basically heaven in your mouth. I just crushed 6 like it was nothing. I might eat the whole container in the next 3 hours.
5:57 – Sam Jackson walks out sans Kangol hat (also a huge upset) with Naomi Watts. “Shes in my top 5 tonight, look at her. She looks Incredible.” And Berger’s DirecTV DVR alert comes up that 2 things are abut to record at once. True Dectective and Wicked Tuna. Yeah, the tuna’s getting canceled. Oh, and they’re handing out costume design which goes to “Great Gatsby,” and Catherine Martin, which is the third win for this woman apparently and she’s also nominated in another category tonight. That seems selfish.
6:00 – HOW DID BAD GRANDPA NOT WIN FOR BEST MAKEUP?!?!??!!!!?? “Is that the same woman from the Kimmel bit before the show?” Dallas Buyers Club won, by the way. Making Jared Leto look like a hot chick takes a lot of makeup.
6:02 – Harrison Ford comes out and immediately quotes Marlon Brando. That’s the best moment of the night so far. Harry introduced as “Oscar nominated” so we look it up and it’s true, he’s never won an Oscar OR Golden Globe. He wasn’t even nominated for The Fugitive?! That’s incredible. What a joke. And he’s teasing “American Hustle,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Wolf of Wall Street,” the first 3 of the 9 Best Picture noms.
6:05 – Channing Tatum out next. If you painted him gold he’d look like the Oscar statue. Not for nothing, but the best part of last year’s show was post-Oscars when Tatum and Jamie Foxx were on Jimmy Kimmel playing on the piano. That was downright hilarious.
6:07 – Something funny to do during big events is seeing what ELSE is on TV. Right now we have the Fab Five 30 for 30, the Bassmasters Classic and the “Rockford Files” leading the clubhouse at the moment. Clearly I’m not mentioning “True Detective,” which I’ll be watching later tonight. Life is a flat circle of time.
6:09 – Spike has “Return of the Jedi” on, “Anchorman” too, and “The Skulls.” Some great counter programming right now, people.
6:11 – Who is this old broad with bad plastic surgery on stage with Matthew McConaughey?! Man, he’s really handsome. And why is he rubbing her back? That’s creepy. Apparently, it’s Kim Novak who was in “Vertigo.” They’re presenting animated short. We could’ve got MMc a better category.
6:17 – Sally Field walks out… “She looks unfucking believable. She has to be like 70!?” She’s 67, but I’m feeling you, Berger. And “Frozen” won for best animated feature in the least surprising victory of the night.
6:19 – Not sure I understand the point of this montage. Is it supposed to be about heroes or something? “42” was not a good movie by any stretch and it’s mixed in with all these iconic, Academy Award-winning performances. Strange.
6:21 – “Emma Watson! Holy shitballs!” Yeah, she’s out with Joseph Gordan-Levitt to present visual effects… “Emma Watson gets an achievement in visual effects!” Wait, so you’re telling me Johnny Depp wasn’t really walking across a moving train in “The Lone Ranger?!” I feel so cheated, but only because I paid $12 to see that piece of garbage. “Gravity” wins. No shock. Best visual experience in a theater I’ve had in a long time.
6:24 – “Gravity” has made $700 million worldwide. “So have I.” That’s amazing. And not sure what this song is that Zac Efron just introduced. Why is he even there? Do people still think he’s a movie star? His face looks fat, too. Yes, I am just jealous.
6:30 – Good job by Kate Hudson for not getting outrageous-looking breast implants. They’re classy and probably didn’t cost as much. And Jason Sudeikis is a handsome man, but I definitely would’ve hated that guy in college. Without question.
6:32 – They’re presenting Live Action Short Film… and “Helium” wins. “When I inhale helium it usually turns into a live action short film, too.” Well played, sir.
6:36 – Ellen walking down the aisle and mentions ordering pizza and if anyone would want any. Yeah, that’s what these people wearing ridiculously expensive gowns and tuxedos want, greasy-ass pizza. Wait, preggo Kerry Washington gives a fist pump. She’s excited at the thought of pie. But pregnant people don’t think rationally. Someone help her out.
6:37 – What’s going on with Bradley Cooper’s hair? And every woman just said, “I just want him to speak french to me. Who cares what his hair looks like?” “20 Feet From Stardom” wins for best doc feature. Very cool idea. Definitely going to check that out… and Tina Turner’s Hollywood Blvd. lookalike just started singing and is now getting a standing ovation. That was bizarre.
6:40 – Frank Underwood just strolled out and addressed the crowd. That was awesome. Kevin Spacey is a boss… WHOA. Angela Lansbury is 88? “Ya, I’ve been watching a fair amount of ‘Murder She Wrote’ recently.” It’s too bad Kevin Spacey is such an amazing actor, he’d would’ve been an amazing late night talk show host or stand up comic. I’d watch him do impressions all night. He should actually host the Oscars.
6:48 – Jeez, where the hell has Ewan McGregor been? He’s looking like an extra from “Dallas Buyers Club.” Also, the side balcony squads are 3-for-3 in Oscars tonight after “The Great Beauty” just took home Foreign Language Film… and I think this Italian director just thanked Diego Maradona and Mike Napoli. That was weird.
6:51- Why is Tyler Perry there?! “He is the richest person at the Oscars.” Well OK then. He’s out to showcase the next 3 Best Picture noms: “Nebraska,” “Her” and “Gravity.”
6:55 – Brad Pitt, looking like he’s about to film the Macklemore biopic, comes out to introduce U2 singing “Ordinary Love,” which is my new favorite song. It’s incredible, even though I cant stand Bono. Even though I want to be The Edge. I’m nearly convinced he’s the coolest guy alive right now. It’s a constant conundrum of mine.
6:57 – “Why is he on the ground?” I stopped trying to explain Bono a long, long time ago.
7:03 – Ellen is now in the aisle next to Meryl Streep talking about tweeting about a picture of the two of them. She wants to make it the most RT’d photo in Twitter’s history. OK, wait, Brad Pitt is walking over. Now Julia Roberts wants in. Jesus, everyone is getting in on this now. Jennifer Lawrence just said she wanted to grab a boob if the picture wants to get retweeted that many times. Wow, this is incredible. Who is that guy in the flat top?! “I’ve never tweeted before!” -Meryl Streep. Jesus, what a mess. Bradley Cooper actually ends up taking the photo. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. And no way am I giving this an RT.
7:06 – Holy shit, I would absolutely watch a sex tape with Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Great Caesar’s Ghost they are two perfect humans.
7:09 – Ellen broke Twitter. This picture stunt has taken it down. That’s unbelievable. Wonder how many RTs that photo is gonna get. I’ll admit it was a pretty cool 2014 moment but I’m just curious with all these stunts how people would react if it was Seth doing them.
7:11 – Two-time Best Supporting Actor and Quentin Tarantino mouthpiece Christoph Waltz out to present Supporting Actress… real categories! Should be a good one.
7:14 – “12 Years A Slave” actress Lupita Y’ongo wins, as she should. Absolutely amazing performance by her. “Lupita and Liza, the hug of the night.” … her and her date have matching flat tops. No big deal. I ask Berger if he thinks Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have had sex: “yes.” And that’s that.
7:21 – Ellen is really taking this pizza bit to the next level as some dude just walked on stage with three pies… Julia Roberts and Spacey immediately raise their hands that they want some… is this a real guy? I’m so confused. Brad Pitt is handing out plates. What the hell is going on? Isn’t this supposed to be a dignified awards show? This should be a Golden Globes bit. Leo’s no dummy, he’s not eating the pie. Don’t wanna get grease on that navy tux.
7:24 – What the hell was that spaceship thing that lady was talking about? Are they making a sequel to “Flight of the Navigator?”
7:26 – “Are they going to give out any awards on this awards show? It’s like that scene from ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘you plan on actually having dinosaurs in your dinosaur park, yes?” … and we just made an “A Few Good Men” joke. We are on fire… classy of Bill Murray to just shout out to Harold Ramis during the cinematography category.
7:29 – Anna Kendrick comes out and I think I see a nipple. Either way, shout out to her for being from Portland, Maine. Represent… and yes, “Gravity” just won another technical award, this time for Editing. “We get it, ‘Gravity’ was cool looking.” It really was.
7:32 – That Ellen photo is at 433,000 RTs right now and going up infinitely every second. “Let’s call a spade a spade, it’s a pretty amazing photo.” Yes, it really is… and I think Whoopi Goldberg, wearing the wicked witch socks from “Wizard of Oz,” just said Pink’s real name in an effort to tell America she hangs out with Pink. Really strange. Has anyone ever won an Oscar and then gotten really weird like she has? Nic Cage, I guess.
7:38 – Pink just absolutely destroyed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the Oz tribute wearing an amazing ruby red dress. That was fantastic. Director cuts to John Travolta and Kelly Preston. “Kelly Preston, I can’t say it enough.” Berger is a fan.
7:42 – Ellen comes out wearing a fairy costume. Right, because of the Oz thing. This is not funny.
7:43 – Jennifer Garner is incredibly stunning tonight and is joined by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is an absolute boss. He has to be the next James Bond right? “He should come out with a line of candy, Cumberbatch Kids” … and Catherine Martin wins her second Oscar of the night for production design. She’s got 5 now, if you’re scoring at home. So greedy.
7:47 – Another semi-pointless montage. Not sure what this one was for, but it was kind of awesome. I think it was for movie badasses. Also, that Ellen pic now up to 736,000 RTs. Americans are morons.
7:52 – Glenn Close out to introduce the In Memoriam piece. Who’s the hammer? We vote Shirley Temple… kicks off with James Gandolfini… wow, that was tough… goosebumps during this thing…
7:58 – Ends with Philip Seymour Hoffman, fitting, he was an Academy Award winner… and Bette Midler comes out to sing … “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS?!??!” Definitely didn’t see that coming.
8:05 – Whoa, Goldie Hahn needs to cut back on the plastic surgery. Who wins in a Plastic Surgery Off: Goldie or Kim Novak? She’s introducing the last three Best Picture noms: “Philomena,” “Captain Phillips” and “12 Years A Slave,” which is my pick to win the whole thing.
8:08 – Ellen’s photo is now at 1.2 million RTs, which is officially the most RT’d tweet of all-time… and how come no one ever calls out John Travolta on all his wigs? We’re just gonna let that slide, along with Harry Ford’s earring? Guess so.
8:09 – What did Travolta just say?! There’s no chance that’s her real name… Apparently it’s Idina Menzel. Wow, that was a butcher job… people are going nuts on Twitter.
8:11 – I’m pretty sure Jamie Foxx is doing a beatbox of Chariots of Fire right now during this award for costume design or something. You think that was in the prompter?
8:14 – Holy smokes, Robert Lopez just completed the EGOT, made famous by Tracy Morgan on “30 Rock” for winning for best song in “Frozen.” This guy has to get the necklace now, right? Or at least walk around with an F U shirt. I probably would.
8:23 – Ellen is now passing around one of Pharrell’s hats for a tip for the pizza guy. This bit has officially jumped the shark. Do you think these stars actually carry cash? … Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz out for Best Adapted Screenplay… John Ridley has to win for “12 Years a Slave,” right?
8:25 – Indeed he did. Whoa, purple dress on his Asian gf/wife/side piece? Wasn’t ready for that… Man, some good speeches tonight. Really liked his. Well done… OK, off to Original Screen play … this one is tough.. “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Nebraska,” “Dallas Buyers Club”…
8:27 – Going to say “Her” wins because of how unique it was, and I really enjoyed that film … booyah! Spike Jonze everyone. Wow, you could tell me any age for him and I’d believe you. Amazing that he used to direct Beastie Boys videos and now he’s won an Academy Award. Shows you anything is truly possible.
8:32 – Best Director already! Has this show flown by or not? I can’t tell. It’s been 3 hours so probably not. Ok, here we go… and it’s Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”… how many statues is that for Gravity now? “They’ve won all the dumb ones.” Well. So there.
8:42 – Daniel Day-Lewis out to present Best Actress. I forgot it’s been a whole year since he transformed into Abraham Lincoln. Funny tweet just now saying DDL prepared four years for this introduction… So it’s been Cate Blanchett leading this category since the summer, let’s see if she can go wire-to-wire.
8:43 – Yeah she did. I like Cate’s dress… and good use of exacerbates.
8:48 – Jennifer Lawrence out to present Best Actor… all she’s thinking right now is, “don’t trip, don’t trip, don’t trip.” And all I really want her to do is trip… whoa, she just scolded someone for laughing… what was that? She realizes this isn’t about her, right? I think in the course of a few hours I’m losing interest…
8:50 – OK, who ya got? Leo was really awesome in “Wolf of Wall Street” but for some reason you get the feeling like he’s never gonna win one of these, though I often think about what type of acceptance speech he would give. Speaking of, I know everyone wants Matthew McConaughey to win and believe me, no one loves MMC like I do, but I just think Chiwetel Ejiofor was so fantstic in “12 Years A Slave” and deserves it. We’ll see…”it’s either AIDS or slavery, so some oppressed people will be really happy.”
8:52 – Effin’A’, McConaughey for the win. Fantastic tux. Gave us the “all right, all right, all right,” too … he nailed it. Wow. That was awesome… and he’s his own hero. Just wow.
8:55 – Final award of the night. Best Picture, and who else but Will Smith out to present… wearing… whatever that is… and we’ve hit the 3:25 mark, the over wins… Like I said, I’m predicting “12 Years A Slave”…
8:57 – WINNER. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, just a fantastic (yet disturbing) film. Really well done.
OK, that’s gonna do it for me and Berger. Thanks for reading. Hope you were entertained. My next running diary will most likely be the 1st Round of the 2014 NFL Draft. So you have some time to prepare yourselves. Oh, and the final RT count on the Ellen photo as we go off the air is 1.73 million. Simply amazing.
2013 NFL You’re The Man Burning Questions — Week 2
LOS ANGELES — Wow. What a Week 1 in the National. Football. League. Hey, what do you think Ryan Seacrest? Cool. Seriously, though, it had stunning plays, fantastic finishes and rousing introductions to the league, it’s hard to believe we went seven months without football. Seriously, it’s almost as if the epic Super Bowl 46 and Ray Lewis’s final cry were an eternity ago, and combine that with what seemed like an offseason cloud that would never lift. But lift it has, and the 2013 NFL season couldn’t be off to a more amazing start.
When I last left you here at the “You’re The Man” rankings back in February, I asked questions each team should be thinking about heading into the offseason, along with their final rankings. Now, as we head into Week 2, I’m going to give you their rank along with how they answered my question plus one more to think about as we embark on 22 weeks of pure football bliss.
As always, these are scientifically proven and 100% accurate. Now let’s find out who’s The Man.
32.) Jacksonville Jaguars (2013 record: 0-1) (2012 final YTM ranking: 32) — Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t get paid and Shad Khan didn’t bring in Tim Tebow, which means you can bet MoJo will be doing the Eisen Podcast End Zone Dance for another team next year while Blaine Gabbert continues to throw interceptions for the worst dressed team in the NFL. Seriously, how bad are those helmets? Burning Question: How do they get worse? Honestly, what do they do for an encore, sign that 9-year old girl from the YouTube videos last year to return kicks? Wait, that might actually work.
31.) Cleveland Browns (0-1) (26) — Brandon Weeden has some great AARP insurance because it guaranteed him the starting job this season, and would you believe the help he and Trent Richardson were seeking actually came? Maybe it’s because I watched two Browns preseason games and they looked above average, or maybe I got drunk listening to Bernie Kosar during the broadcasts. Burning Question: Every year there’s a team that surprises, could the Browns be this team?
30.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) (16) — If you want to stop explosive passing offenses you go out and trade for a guy like Darrelle Revis. Or you just go get the man himself. Now, whether or not he’s 100% healthy is another question, but in the NFC South, the Bucs are the only team who improved defensively. That’s a start. Burning Question: Josh Freeman was all over the map in Week 1; if Tampa Bay wants to be a player, he needs to be consistent and consistently great. Jury’s out.
29.) Oakland Raiders (0-1) (30) — Well, it’s always nice to start the column off with a correct prediction, like I did in accurately guessing Carson Palmer would be let go in favor of Terrelle Pryor. What I didn’t anticipate is Matt Flynn crapping down his pants in the process after being given the keys to the… wait, what kind of car would the Raiders be? I’m thinking the burnt out minivan Thomas Kubb has to drive at the end of “Project X” (awesome movie). But hey, at least he had wheels. Burning Question: At what point this season will Darren McFadden just say “eff it” and stop showing up for work? Week 6? 10? 2?
28.) Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) (15) — The Steelers thought they found some running help, then Le’veon Bell got hurt and is out six weeks. Now, their most important offensive player not named Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season, after Maurkice Pouncey’s knee injury in Week 1 vs. Tennessee. Burning Question: A team without an identity heading into the season, Pittsburgh’s back is against the wall immediately. What team will emerge from the smoke as the season rolls on?
27.) Carolina Panthers (0-1) (17) — So the Panthers went out and kept their roster basically the same as 2012 and what happened, Cam Newton had his lowest total yardage output of his career in Week 1. I don’t think this is a coincidence. Burning Question: This is something to monitor as the beginning of the season moves on, because Steve Smith isn’t getting any younger and faster.
26.) New York Jets (1-0) (27) — Turns out Mark Sanchez got irrevocably broken sooner than I anticipated. But for the second year in a row, the Jets did Sanchez dirty (see what I did there) by bringing in another quarterback while at the same time pledging he was the man. He’s never been the man. Ask me point blank and I can’t tell you why I feel bad for Sanchez, I just do. He didn’t deserve all this. He could’ve been a fine NFL backup for a dozen years. Sadly, I think he’s out of the league in two. Burning Question: How exactly will Rex Ryan go down? Will it be guns blazin’ “Desperado” style? Will it be quietly in his sleep? Will there be a bloody horse head? Will he choke on a Krispy Kreme? I just hope it’s broadcast live on NFL Network.
25.) Minnesota Vikings (0-1) (12) — It’s almost as if the Vikings read my column back in February, because they went out and signed Greg Jennings and drafted Cordarrelle Patterson to be pass catchers for Christian Ponder. But in Week 1 they were hardly effective. And after a 78-yard jaunt on his first play, Adrian Peterson was held to 17 yards on 15 carries. Get used to this, Vikings fans. Burning Question: It’s still all about Ponder for the Vikings. If he can develop and make teams respect the pass attack, this will be continue to be a playoff team.
24.) Buffalo Bills (0-1) (23) — The Bills were 7 seconds away from beating the Patriots, and the Dolphins took care of Cleveland in Week 1, which means Bills fans have something to be encouraged by. However, CJ Spiller was held in check and failed to show anything really of what made people think last season he could be a superstar in this league. EJ Manuel, however, now there’s something Bills fans should be encouraged by. Burning Question: Will Manuel be the guy this season and make Buffalo forget about Fitz, Trend Edwards, Rob Johnson, and all the other jamokes it trotted out behind center since No. 12 hung ’em up?
23.) San Diego Chargers (0-1) (22) — Do you think Norv Turner watched the Monday night game? Let’s say that he did. What do you think his range of emotions were? Kinda like Deb on “Dexter” I’m guessing. In the end, Norv got the last laugh after the Chargers choked away what would’ve been a pretty big statement win to start the year. Now who do you blame? Philip Rivers? Burning Question: Will Manti Te’o get himself a real-life girlfriend this year? I hope that’s reported on to no end like we all did his fake one.
22.) Arizona Cardinals (0-1) (28) — Bruce Arians decided on his quarterback and the name he pulled out of his Kangol hat was Carson Palmer. I’ll let you make your own joke. I actually think the Blonde Bomber could have a big season and no, he didn’t pay me to say that. Burning Question: Will we see the Larry Fitzgerald of old this year or did the year’s of gawd-awful quarterbacking suck the superstar blood from his veins?
21.) St. Louis Rams (1-0) (21) — Tavon Austin might not be a huge, household name as we head into Week 2, but it was a splash, and a potentially explosive one for Sam Bradford and that Rams offense. Austin wasn’t showcased at all in the preseason and exactly how he’ll be used is something everyone is watching for. Burning Question: Is Sam Bradford going to finally show he was worth of that #1 pick back in 2010?
20.) Tennessee Titans (1-0) (25) — The Titans kept Chris Johnson and his 1,200 yards around this year and people are predicting a comeback season for CJ. Looking at his stats, he’s never had a sub-1,000 yard season, which is pretty amazing. You wonder how much he has left in that tank. Burning Question: What will the Titans get out of Jake Locker this season and can he be a franchise quarterback?
19.) Detroit Lions (1-0) (24) — I don’t think anyone on the Lions got arrested this offseason (though league-wide odds would say otherwise) so that’s a good start, but this team is still full of knuckleheads and it begins with the head coach. Burning Question: Matthew Stafford got a boatload of cash this offseason for his 17 career wins; does he improve from the chubby gunslinger to elite status to carry his team?
18.) Miami Dolphins (1-0) (20) — The Dolphins went and out signed Steelers big-play receiver Mike Wallace to catch the ball from Lauren Tannehill’s husband but that didn’t stop No. 11 from saying the media should “ask the coach” after the game as to why he wasn’t more involved in the offense. Uh oh. Burning Question: Do they have enough defense to stop the Patriots and win the AFC East?
17.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) (31) — Here’s the funny thing, even I’ve talked myself into being a Chiefs fan. I’m almost ready to pick them to win the AFC West. Unlike most, I don’t think Denver can repeat 2012 and San Diego/Oakland are completely inept. Burning Question: How much weight will Andy Reid put on this season? OK, a serious question: will Jamaal Charles carry the ball on consecutive plays?
16.) Indianapolis Colts (1-0) (9) — The Colts picked up right up where 2012 left off, meaning Andrew Luck had to lead them from behind to victory, against the hapless Raiders, no less. Indy didn’t get any better on defense so look for Luck to have a lot of games like Week 1. Burning Question: Peyton Manning made a huge leap in his second year in the league; can Luck do the same and a repeat playoff berth as well?
15.) Washington Redskins (0-1) (10) — In the first half against the Eagles, it looked as if My Good Friend Robert hadn’t run or played football in quite some time; which he hadn’t. He either a) shouldn’t have been out there or b) should’ve played some in the preseason. His health is paramount. Burning Question: Will Robert stay quiet this season (the opposite of his M.O. this offseason) and let his superb play do the talking?
14.) Baltimore Ravens (0-1) (1) — It isn’t exactly clear who replaced Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and Dannell Ellerbe, or even Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin, but they still have the hardware and every team this year is going to give the Ravens their best. That is a fact. Burning Question: When the Ravens get behind in games, much like they did in Week 1, who is going to be their go-to guy to bring them back? Bueller?
13.) New York Giants (0-1) (14) — As it turns out, consistency is not for sale at any price, though Tom Coughlin probably wishes there was a price tag attached so he would at least know what it might cost him. You saw the famed Giants roller coaster on full display Sunday night in Week 1 vs. the Cowboys. Six, count ’em, six turnovers but yet there they were, a final drive touchdown away from victory. Get used to it. Burning Question: In the wake of Andre Brown’s injury and David Wilson pissing down his leg for the second straight season opener, what will New York do at running back to compliment Eli Manning? ‘Cause they have to do SOMEthing.
12.) New Orleans Saints (1-0) (19) — The Saints were DFL in the NFL in defense last season and hired Rob Ryan to make them less sucky. So far, so good, holding the explosive Falcons to 17 points in a huge Week 1 win. Hey, when you hit rock bottom, there’s only two ways to go: straight up or sideways. Burning Question: Will New Orleans consistently be able to stop teams so that Drew Brees doesn’t have to score 40 a game to win?
11.) Houston Texans (8) (1-0) — There’s no boost to the secondary like adding the words “Ed” and “Reed,” however you’d like to get the Ed Reed that was making Pro Bowls and winning Super Bowls, not the one who looks better in a tux at the Oscars Red Carpet with me. Unfortunately, that’s who the Texans have at the moment. Who knows when Ed is going to play again, because he sure doesn’t. Burning Question: Could this be the beginning of the end for Arian Foster? Simmons threw out Larry Johnson’s name in his Cousin Sal podcast and it doesn’t seem that far off given how Monday night played out.
10.) Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) (29) — Not only did Chip Kelly stick with Michael Vick, but after watching what a disaster Geno Smith has turned into with the Jets, I’m sure Mr. Hurry-Up is doubly glad he didn’t trade his whole draft away to get him. This new college-style offense seems tailor made for Vick, who is flying under the radar as someone who could have a potential monster season (OK, I’m talking myself into him after drafting him in my 5th fantasy league). 2013 Burning Question: When will the first column be written saying “I told you so” about Chip’s offense never being able to work in the NFL?
9.) Chicago Bears (1-0) (13) — It seems as if the Bears are going to replace Brian Urlacher with an even better version of 2012’s Peanut Tillman. It took him all of 15 minutes to have two forced turnovers. Though rookie MLB Jon Bostic looks as if he could be the real deal. Burning Question: As always, the onus is on Jay Cutler to lead this team and be the new face of the franchise. Whether he can do it is a whole other red hot question.
8.) Green Bay Packers (0-1) (7) — Green Bay didn’t get younger or faster on defense and guess what happened? Colin Kaepernick torched them again. Oops. Packers/49ers is turning into one awesome rivalry. Burning Question: Will Aaron Rodgers score enough points this season to render the inept Green Bay defense unnecessary?
7.) Dallas Cowboys (1-0) (18) — Dallas brought in Monte Kiffin to call the defense and Bill Callahan to call the offense, leaving head coach Jason Garrett to supervise and ya know, be the head coach. While try as they might to lose it, a Week 1 win against the rival Giants is a good start. Still, gotta be weary of Tony Romo’s bruised ribs. Burning Question: Will Dez Bryant be the all-world guy we saw the last 8 weeks of last season or the dog of the first 9?
6.) Atlanta Falcons (0-1) (3) — You want to know how the Falcons improved on defense? They let John Abraham and Brent Grimes walk, and signed Osi Umenyiora. That’s it. Not sure how they stop the 49ers and Seahawks with that, let alone the Saints, Cowboys or Packers. Burning Question: Can Matt Ryan complete 4th and Goal to advance to the Super Bowl? Because Arthur Blank sure has hell didn’t pay him serious Home Depot money not to.
5.) New England Patriots (1-0) (4) — The Patriots did sign a receiver this offseason. That is a fact. They did not sign a big-play corner guy (Aqib Talib re-signed) nor did they bring in a big-time rush end. Now, if you had Game 2 as the first Danny Amendola would miss, raise your hand. I see too many hands up. Maybe my roommate was right. Who knows what the Pats are gonna do this season. Burning Question: Who will emerge as the darkhorse offensive go-to guy, since it has to be someone?
4.) Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) (11) — If “Hard Knocks” star Jay Gruden uses his Week 1 gameplan for A.J. Green in the playoffs this time around, I’m guessing the Bengals will have a different result. Dude is a beast and could be better than Calvin Johnson this season. It’s just up to Gruden and Andy Dalton to get him the ball. Burning Question: How will the Bengals handle the title role of expected greatness?
3.) Seattle Seahawks (1-0) (5) — Despite the suspensions and notoriety the Seahawks got this offseason, I still stand by them being the most complete team in the NFL, though they’re not my pick to win the Super Bowl. I also can’t recall if they bolstered their offensive or defensive lines. Go Hawks! Burning Question: What will Percy Harvin look like when he returns to the team for the final month? Will he make an impact or will it not matter at that point?
2.) Denver Broncos (1-0) (6) — Wait. Peyton Manning just threw another touchdown pass. OK, back to the column… In other news, was I really that stupid to predict a Favre-in-2010-esque season for Manning this year? Jesus. No wonder I’ve never won the ROFFL championship. Burning Question: Will Rahim Moore be able to knock down a 2nd-and-72 Hail Mary?
1.) San Francisco 49ers (1-0) (2) — Oh, you want Colin Kaepernick to stand in the pocket and beat you? No problem. You didn’t think they had a deep threat with Michael Crabtree out? How’s Anquan Boldin doing these days? Forgot how awesome that defense was? How’s Aaron Rodgers feeling this week? Burning Question: As the tape grows on Kaepernick, will someone figure out a way to stop this kid, or will he continue to wreck the whole league?
Finally, we made our picks on the Rich Eisen Podcast last week and here’s who I said would take home individual crowns:
Passing Champion: Matthew Stafford, Lions
Rushing Champion: Doug Martin, Buccaneers
Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick, Patriots
MVP: Tom Brady, Patriots
Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Falcons
2013 Academy Awards Prognostications
LOS ANGELES — I am fortunate to live at the epicenter of film, and for the second consecutive year, will be attending the Academy Awards Red Carpet gala. I added the “gala” part because last year, as I witnessed first hand, it’s really something spectacular. Watching at home on E! all those years with my mom as Ryan Seacrest did his thing, you could never really get a feel of how extravagant being on the Red Carpet really is. I capitalize it because of all the events worldwide, this is the one. This is the Super Bowl of cinema. And I’ll be there. With Rob Gronkowski.
That’s right. Hollywood is about to get Gronk’d.
Scratch that. I wrote the above paragraph a couple days ago. That’s when we had Rob Gronkowski as a correspondent for The Eisen Podcast. Now we don’t. Seems like he had “other” “plans” come up which resulted in him canceling all appearances in the immediate future. Including the Oscars Red Carpet. Oh well. His loss.
Sometimes, though, Hail Mary’s are caught and ours came in the form of Ed Reed, the future Ravens Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion. He’ll be joining me Sunday in front of the Dolby Theater for what should be an epic afternoon hobnobbing with the biggest names in Hollywood. Last year, we had Hines Ward, the Steelers great. This year, a Raven.
As always, I try and see all the big movies up for the major awards and end up with around a 50% success rate. That was also the case this time around. (Note to self: get on a screeners list next year.) So here’s my expert opinion on who’ll be Sunday’s big winners.
Best Picture: “Argo” — Thought this was extremely well done from top to bottom, and even though I knew the end result, I were still on the edge of my seat the entire time. Just gripping cinema. It’s a damn shame Ben Affleck got snubbed in directing.
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis — Honestly, the only performance in this film that I saw was Bradley Cooper’s, and while it would be great to see him win, DDL is the best actor alive right now. He could play in the Dumb and Dumber sequel and make it an Oscar-winning performance.
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain — My favorite part of “Zero Dark Thirty” is when they’ve found the compound and everyone in the CIA is the boardroom and Gandolfini walks in and asks who’s the girl sitting in the back, and Chastain sits up and says, “I’m the motherfuc*er who found this place.” I may have did a little fist pump in the theater at that point. She was spectacular.
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz — I would watch any movie where this guy plays a snarky, semi-bourgeois, wise ass with a bone to pick who then leaves a slew of bodies in his wake. Yeah, sign me up for more of that and less of that Elephants movie BS he did.
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field — While Anne Hathaway has won every award show in this category this year, I’m refusing to give her any recognition here. Why? Well think about it like this: Field played Mary Todd Lincoln!! Her husband, oh you know, Abraham Lincoln, freed the slaves and then got shot watching a play. As if she wasn’t suffering enough watching the damn play, her husband gets iced by some nutjob! Throw the woman a bone.
Best Director: Ben Affleck — What? Ben Affleck isn’t nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director of the movie that’s going to win Best Picture? Whaddya mean? That can’t be right. Go back and check again. He’s really not? Are people aware of this? Oh, they are? Screw it. He still did the best job.
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal — I’m gonna go out on a limb and say “Zero Dark Thirty” gets it here, the reason being, at least for me, is that “Django Unchained” was far too long and went in a few different directions, which I know is what Quentin Tarantino does, but still. That movie should’ve ended a few times before it did. And ZDT had that “Argo” feel to it where you knew how it was going to end and it was still tense and thrilling and awesome. Oh, and Boal already has a statue at this house for “Hurt Locker,” which means he knows how to write modern war flicks.
Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell — Loved “Silver Linings Playbook” from beginning to end. If it wasn’t for “Argo” it’d be the best film of the year. It pulled on your heart strings, made you laugh, make you wanna give your parents a big hug and take up balllroom dancing all at the same time.
Best Animated Film: Wreck-It Ralph — Admittedly, I didn’t see any of the films nominated here but I remember really wanting to see this and hearing it was awesome. Plus, it’s about video games. And once upon a time, I liked them.
Best Foreign Language Film: Amour — Reason leads me to believe if a film is good enough to be nominated for Best Picture, which is everything, then it’s probably going to win its sub-category. Right?
Best Cinematography: Skyfall — This iwas a pretty badass movie and the cinematography had a lot to do with it.
Best Editing: William Goldenberg — So this is a pick based on math, since Goldenberg is nominated twice for “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” I mean, 40% chance, that’s pretty freakin’ good.
Best Production Design: Les Miserables — This is one of those categories that always seems to go to a film based in the 19th century, since those are the hardest to replicate. “Project X” ain’t getting nominated for this, that’s for sure.
Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina — Is it possible for no one to win this category? So we have two films about Snow White, two more where everything is dank and ashy and literally miserable and the last where people play dress up. Guess I’m going with that one.
Best Makeup: The Hobbit — Do you know how hard it is to make regular people look like midgets? Do you?!
Best Original Score: John Williams — This guy seems to win everything … (checking his IMDB) … yup, he’s won 5 Oscars. Again, math wins here.
Best Original Song: Walter Murphy/Seth MacFarlane — Keep in mind, past winners in this category include Eminem and the Three-Six Mafia, so why can’t the freakin’ host of the show win for a song he wrote for an talking, crude, sex and drug-crazed teddy bear? By the way, a song from “Les Miserables” is nominated; isn’t this a remake of a film AND a play? How can you have something original in there?!
Best Sound Mixing: Skyfall — This was my favorite film on the list of nominees. That’s all the reasoning I need.
Best Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty — Now here’s what I want to know, how does a film get nominated for Sound Editing but not Sound Mixing? Either way, in 2010, Kathryn Bigelow’s film “Hurt Locker” took both these categories and you’d have to go back to 2009 when the same film didn’t sweep.
Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi– My roommate works in visual effects on some pretty big films, so I figured I’d just ask him and he said, “I haven’t seen ‘Life of Pi’ but it’s getting a lot of buzz to win… the other real contender is ‘The Avengers’.” Works for me.
Best Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man — This film makes life worth living. Check it out if you haven’t.
Best Documentary Short: Open Heart — I once went to Jane Seymour’s house and in the gift bag was one of her open heart collection tie pins.
Best Animated Short Film: Paperman — Dude just wanted to meet a girl.
Best Live Action Short Film: Curfew — Because who doesn’t enjoy their afternoons ruined by children?
Superficially Scoring The 1st Presidential Debate
LOS ANGELES — By a show of hands, how many of you wanted to be President when you were younger? That’s it? Weird, I thought it’d be more. Anyway, part of the “American Dream” appeal is the belief anyone can become President; to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and lead the nation like no one has before. With a wink and a nod, we all know that’s not really the case. Only certain individuals will ever have the opportunity to host Easter Egg Hunts on the South Lawn and have sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom.
There are rules to being President, and even having the chance to be President, and despite what anyone says the first rule is: You Have To Look The Part. That’s why we have the two guys we’re left with now. It’s why in movies the president is always played by a handsome or stately-looking gentleman like Michael Douglas or James Cromwell.
Sticking with the superficial theme, I watched Wednesday’s first Presidential Debate from Denver with a keen eye and closed ears. Because who cares about what’s actually being said when most of it is complete B.S. to begin with. I want my President to pretty much be James Bond, which, unfortunately, leaves us S.O.L. in 2012 (but Skyfall comes out November 9!!). However, that didn’t stop me from keeping score and determining an unbiased winner.
Here’s how I broke it down.
Talking Time of Possession: Barack Obama. CNN had a lower right clock counter that tallied the total time each candidate talked. Naturally, the more you talk, the better you performed in the debate. Barack Obama is the winner here by speaking for 43 minutes, to Mitt Romney’s 38-and-a-half.
Who Wore It Better: Barack Obama. The best part of the Academy Awards, or any awards show, really, is seeing what all the “stars” wear and then decide who looked great and who should fire their stylist. For debates, conservative is generally the name of the game, so I was expecting the navy suits. However, I was disappointed neither candidate went with a skinny or rocked a tie clip. Obama wins this round for the sharpness of his solid true blue neckpiece.
Best Hair: Mitt Romney. When you don’t have any hair, you get to know a thing or two about admiring others’ locks. Now, I can respect the President’s high-and-tight look since it’s what I’ve rocked most of my life. However, Mitt Romney has some fantastic hair. Presidential hair, one might say. Though, if he gets elected he might want to clean up the gray. Can’t be having the most powerful man in the world looking like Paulie Walnuts.
Best Honey Boo Boo: Ann Romney. Now I’m not saying the First Lady doesn’t look great. She certainly knows how to rock what she’s got. And her pipes are some of the finest around. I’m sorta jealous of them, to be honest. But Wednesday night wasn’t just a bad night for her husband. Michelle had better step her game up for the second debate. Ann Romney brought her ‘A’ game to Denver, complete with pearls. You know I’ve got a soft spot for pearl necklaces.
Most Random Cities Mentioned: Barack Obama. The best part of any debate, in my mind, is how specific the candidates try to be. Sure, we all care about numbers and percentages and trillion this and Whatever Act that; it all sounds great. But I want to know how people like me are going to be affected if you get elected; how is my life going to be better. And that’s when great stories like the electronics store owner in Des Moines and the dairy farmer in Little Rock and the fisherman in Wasila come into play. Joe Sixpack, if you will. And nobody does that better than the President, who not once, not twice, but at least THREE TIMES referenced his grandmother. Well done, sir.
Size of Lapel Flag Pin: Mitt Romney. This is simple; the bigger your flag pin, the more you love America. This is all the proof I need.
Best Way To Blame China For Killing Big Bird: Mitt Romney. In the upset of the night, Big Bird basically got killed by a mormon. Romney said that should he be elected he’d cut funding for PBS, claiming he didn’t want to fund programs as an excuse to owe China more money, or something like that. And then claimed he like both liked Jim Lehrer and Big Bird, before saying they had to go. Now, I don’t think anyone would notice if Jim took a hike, but a 9-foot yellow bird doesn’t just go away without some 5-year olds noticing. It also spawned one of the best fake Twitter accounts since the Bronx Zoo Cobra.
Best Walking Over of Jim Lehrer: Barack Obama. This was really a toss-up, since both candidates did a great job of basically ignoring everything the moderator had to say or any ground rules he laid out beforehand. There were interruptions, answers that way far longer than they should have; you name it. However, the best butt-in came from the President, who noticed that one Lehrer chime cost him 5 seconds of answer time. No one cuts the President off with 5 seconds to spare might be my new, “no one puts Baby in a corner.”
Best Use of Aggression To Make People Think You Know What You’re Talking About: Mitt Romney. My mom used to say just because you talk loudest doesn’t mean you’re right or have control of the conversation; well, clearly she was wrong because that’s just what happened in this debate. Mitt came out swinging, knocked the Prez on his heels and never looked back. I don’t know if anything he said was accurate but that’s not what debates are all about. It’s about making people think you’re right. Mission Accomplished.
Debate 1 Winner: Mitt Romney. My extremely scientific and analytic breakdown have this 4-3 for Romney. There you have it. See you for the second debate, October 11, from Danville, Kentucky.