Return to Transcripts main page
Eight Dead After Smuggling Boat Capsizes Off San Diego Coast; First Responders Race To Rescue People Caught In CA Flooding; Three Women Vanish In Mexico; Supply Routes Into Bakhmut Still Functional; Treasury Secretary Yellen Rules Out Bailout For Silicon Valley Bank; CNN: Dems Fear Years Of Harris Negativity Could Pose Political Problem; Oscars Return Tonight After Last Year's Infamous Slap. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 12, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
And we begin this hour with breaking news out of California. Officials say at least eight people are dead after a smuggling boat capsized off the coast of San Diego. Authorities responded to the scene after someone on a separate boat called 911 to report victims in the water. They say rough conditions made the recovery effort difficult.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JAMES GARTLAND, LIFGUARD DIVISION, SAN DIEGO FIRE DEPARTMENT: We were in recovery mode for about five hours after that. The access to the area was very difficult due to the tide and the coastal cliff there. That area is a very hazardous area even in the daytime.
It has a series of sandbars and inshore rip currents. So you could think you could land in some sand or get to waist-high or knee-high water and think that you're safe and be able to exit the water but there's (INAUDIBLE) shore holes. This is one of the worst maritime smuggling tragedies that I can think of in California, certainly here in the city of San Diego.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Authorities are continuing to search for any additional victims. We'll bring you more details as we get them.
Also happening this hour in California, a desperate race to rescue people trapped in floodwaters as a new dangerous downpour approaches. First responders are pulling dozens from the rising waters as rivers of floodwaters rush through their communities.
Evacuation orders are in place for parts of Monterey County after a levee breach inundated communities and threatened homes as you see right there. Sheriff's deputies are going door to door to try to help people.
The 11th atmospheric river of the season is expected to begin to hit the state tomorrow. Forecasters predicting that it could bring up to 6 inches of rain for areas already facing severe flooding. More than 15 million people remain under flood watches from California to Nevada.
CNN's Mike Valerio and CNN meteorologist Britley Ritz are tracking the latest.
Mark to you first, you're there in Monterey County where the water is very deep in all the wrong places. What's going on?
MIKE VALERIO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Fred, well you know, for the past four hours we've still seen first responders go up and down the main drag here of Pajaro trying to look for people who may be in immediate danger.
And if you just look over my right-hand shoulder, there are people who are still here who have decided not to leave, who have told us that they want to protect their property. They don't feel as though they are in immediate danger but they're going to be staying here, they tell us for the second atmospheric river system which is expected to arrive Monday night into Tuesday and then finish up on Wednesday.
But I take you to the video, Fred, that we recorded from my phone as I was wading through about knee-high water. You can see some of the neighborhoods that are in our background right now. It's pretty dicey, Fred, when you walk through the center of Pajaro and you get to some of these neighborhoods with narrow streets.
The water becomes channelized and the intensity of the current becomes faster and faster. And you tell yourself, right, definitely stay away so that gives you a sense of the danger that neighbors could be in if they try to make it out of their homes on their own.
So to the point of rescues, there have been more than 90 across the area in the past two days. But look at this rescue, video in a couple of seconds of a California highway patrol aerial rescue over the Salinas River. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice and easy. Nice and easy. Over her.
Coming down. There you go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIO: That was the amazing precision of California highway patrol in action.
Back here live, we have a picture looking at the other perspective of two National Guard vehicles that have been going up and down Main Street here in Pajaro. Again, they're taking a little bit of a break but this is what happens. They go up this Main Street looking for anybody who may be in immediate danger because there still are people. So even more than a day and a half after this levee breach, Fredricka,
it is still an active scene trying to make sure that everybody is ok and everybody is reasonably safe, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Mike, thank you so much. Very dangerous situation for the people living there and, of course, for the first responders as well. You be safe as well.
All right. Britley Ritz in the weather center -- so another system on the way. What are you looking out for?
BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Monday into Tuesday and again into Wednesday some of the heaviest rain, Fred.
We're watching scattered showers now across the Pacific northwest, rolling into the northern part of California. That's all due to a westerly wind. This is not even the next system that's really going to ramp up over the next 24 hours.
Flood watches still in effect for nearly 15 million people. Those will likely be extended over the next 24 hours into 48 hours. They'll watch those likely turn into flood warnings and flash flood warnings.
We have that rain system really setting in Sunday into Monday. Scattered showers starting to ramp up over the coastline of the Pacific Northwest but really the heaviest of the rain setting into the California coastline Tuesday morning and into Wednesday.
Some of these locations, especially the coastline -- the northern coastline of California, 4-6 inches of rain on top of what we've already picked up just through Tuesday, and higher amounts are f possible.
Hence why we have that moderate risk for flooding, that area highlighted in red for the northern coastline there on Monday. But Tuesday it goes down into the southern foothills of the Sierra Nevada and then back down into parts of the Sacramento Valley and on into the southern parts of California's coastline.
Snowfall on top of all the rain causing many to flood. You're seeing the mountains of snowfall, feet of snowfall that are reaching up past homes. A lot of that has melted off which has caused the flooding conditions once again.
And we've already seen above normal snowpack, even on top of all of the rainfall that we've seen, allowing some of those levees to break, of the course.
And this is Lake Orville, a lot of water released -- this was purposely done to see if we could get the levels to kind of regulate themselves. And even though that's happened, we're still staying right about normal if not above normal for some of these reservoirs which is really great to help the drought situation, but not so good when it comes down to the groundwater. That's what we need, Fred. We need some groundwater. And for that to
happen, it needs to be consistent rain over a longer period of time, not all at once.
WHITFIELD: Right. That's what's making it so difficult right now because it is all at once. Britley Ritz, Mike Valerio, thanks so much. We'll check back with you.
All right. Another major story that we're following is the coordinated search now for three women believed to be missing in Mexico. Police say they entered the country from Texas more than two weeks ago to sell clothes at a flea market in the city of Montemorelos. Their disappearance happening one week before four American tourists were kidnapped.
CNN's Polo Sandoval has been following the developments for us. Polo, any new news from them?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, I just checked in with the police chief in that small south Texas town of Penitas and said sadly they don't have any new information to report at this time, as the search continues for these three women. Penitas, Texas is actually where two of those three live, now identified as Marina Peres Rios, her sister Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios and a friend of their Dora Alicia Cervantes.
The three of them, according to local police, drove across the border in Mission, Texas back on February 24. That was a Friday.
As you said, they were headed to Montemorelos, about a three hour drive south of the border to sell clothes at a flea market. Well, the husband of one of the sisters, according to local police, saying that he stayed in contact with them even after they crossed into Mexico.
But it wasn't until that weekend that he loses contact and then that following Monday, on the 27th, he then turned to local police who then referred that case, they say, to the FBI.
Now, the State Department in all this saying that they do have reports of at least three U.S. citizens according to the State Department that are missing in Mexico. But they did not got into further details.
So there's still a lot of questions there about that investigation that's on going on the U.S. side as we hopefully will hear from the FBI sometime soon. But this is really just the very latest in a string of missing people.
I want to give you and our viewers a sense of the geography, Fred. I actually grew up in this region here. So you get a sense of what happened. These women were making a drive, as you mentioned, to Montemorelos which is in Nuevo Leon. The U.S. State Department actually lists it as a place that travelers should exercise above average caution. So it's certainly not the riskiest place to visit in Mexico. However to get there, as you can see in that red sliver that goes north, one would actually have to drive Tamaulipas, Mexico which is listed as a do not travel state in Mexico by the U.S. State Department because of increased cartel violence, Fred.
And if it sounds familiar Tamaulipas is where those four Americans were recently kidnapped. So it's certainly just one of the many considerations as they try to find out where these three women are, two of them residents of south Texas.
WHITFIELD: All right. Keep us posted on any and all developments. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.
SANDOVAL: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right.
Turning now to Ukraine where military commanders say supply routes in and out of the besieged city of Bakhmut are still functioning. That means the resupply of ammunition to Ukrainian fighters is still possible.
Fierce and bloody fighting for control of the city has been taking place for weeks now.
Russian forces led by the mercenary Wagner Group say they have almost completely surrounded the city.
CNN's Melissa Bell is in Kharkiv which came under heavy missile assault just a few days ago. Melissa, how are recovery efforts going?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, this is a city just about getting back to normal. What it saw in the wake of some of those worst aerial bombardments we've seen since the start of the war last week was one of its longest ever power outages. More than 48 hours people here were without any electricity, heat, water. The city is just about getting to normal.
But the most fierce fighting as you suggest still happening around the beleaguered city of Bakhmut. What we've been hearing from Ukrainians tonight, Fredricka, is that they continue that fierce battle, street- to-street combat, some of that happening, we understand over the weekend on some of the industrial outskirts of Bakhmut.
The Ukrainians continuing to hold firm as they seek to hold the city center. But they're saying tonight that they're seeing what they expected would come next, which is some of that Russian fire towards the city that lies to the northwest of Bakhmut Sloviansk (ph) which was hit several times over the course of the day. Missiles and rockets they say taking out critical infrastructure there as well.
And this is something they frankly predicted as they look ahead to what would happen after Bakhmut when and if they decide to stage that tactical retreat.
Now, I'd just like to bring you Fredricka a piece of news that we're just getting this evening. You'll remember that chilling video from last week that showed a Ukrainian soldier saying that now iconic phrase, "Slava Ukraine" before being executed by Russian soldiers.
Now Ukrainian officials, the Ukrainian military had identified him as Timothy (INAUDIBLE), his image had become instantly iconic and a symbol of Ukrainian resilience. In fact, we're now hearing that they've identified him as a different soldier, Oleksandr Matietski who is in fact a sniper from a (INAUDIBLE) tank regiment.
And that's important for a couple of reasons. It tells you first of all of course, about the fog of war but more importantly that Ukrainian authorities intend to make this particular death one amongst so many others an important symbol of their cause given how he was killed in complete contradiction, of course, to how prisoners of war should be treated, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Melissa Bell in Ukraine, thanks so much.
Coming up, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen rules out a government bailout for Silicon Valley Bank as regulators start taking their first steps in taking over the collapsed bank.
What's next for the bank and its clients, straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: All right. Back now to our breaking news out of California. Officials say at least eight people are dead after a smuggling boat capsized off the coast of San Diego. Authorities responded to the scene after someone on a separate boat called 911 to report victims in the water. They say rough conditions made the recovery effort difficult.
Joining me right now, Chief James Gartland from the Lifeguard Division of the San Diego Fire Department. So good to see you.
So what is happening right now in terms of rescue and recovery operations?
GARTLAND: How are you Fredricka? We are currently in search mode, so recovery mode. We have the U.S. Coast Guard and the San Diego Lifeguard still has assets out in the area and we're searching for more victims.
WHITFIELD: What are the conditions like?
GARTLAND: It's a light to moderate swell. It's about a 3-foot swell. We have some fog, so the air assets are a -- a little more difficult for the air assets to do searching. Limited visibility. But we have more opportunity now with the light of the day.
WHITFIELD: So when your crews arrived to Blacks Beach last night after someone called in to 911, what did you all see right away?
GARTLAND: Well, the guards that rolled up on scene first saw two capsized vessels, two Ponga vessels that were upside down inside the surf line. And then as they entered the water, they started to see the bodies of victims who had drowned and they started pulling people in.
They also saw some folks washed up onshore. Usually we'll see lifejackets strewn around the beach as well.
WHITFIELD: Ok. Did you see lifejackets?
GARTLAND: Yes. We saw several lifejackets. That area down there is pitch black. So very little light, visibility. The tide was high. It was a high moderate tide and the beach very small at that hour with that tide.
So you've got a sheer 200-foot cliff to your right, pounding ocean to your left and pitch black darkness. And you're just searching for bodies and trying to find any signs of life to try to rescue and revive anybody you can.
WHITFIELD: That was a terrible scene. So what do you know, or what have you been able to learn from the people just based on, you know, the bodies that showed up, other I guess field of debris that may have been nearby?
GARTLAND: Yes. It all started with a 911 call, and somebody called in and said they were on a vessel of eight and then there was another vessel of 8-10 that had capsized and that they needed assistance.
So that's when the San Diego lifeguards responded to the area and we went into action and tried to rescue and recover anyone we could.
WHITFIELD: Can you tell me more about, you know, the conditions, typically this area, you know, along this Blacks Beach and what the current, the water is like on a typical day?
GARTLAND: Yes. So this area is very difficult to negotiate. It's a world class surf break here in San Diego, but with all the storms we've had over the winter, the inshore holes are -- there's a lot of inshore holes and the rip currents pull very strong.
So usually, the passengers are wearing a life jacket, and those that we recovered did not have a life jacket. So I think they possibly landed on a sandbar and thought that they were safe and then maybe stepped in one of those inshore holes which will pull you laterally to the shore and then pull you out to sea. And if you're not a strong ocean swimmer, certainly in the middle of the night with those temperatures, a very scary, harrowing and obviously deadly experience.
WHITFIELD: Right. And obviously at night, I mean it's difficult to know which direction you're going even if you are a strong swimmer.
All right. Chief James Gartland, thank you so much. It's a tragic, very sad situation, and I know this, too, you know, shakes up your crews who are out there in their continued recovery efforts.
GARTLAND: Yes. Thank you. It was a large response. We had San Diego lifeguard, San Diego fire rescue department, state lifeguards, San Diego police department, UCSD police department, U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol, and air and marine assets. So there was all these agencies there with a unified command to try to help these folks as best we could.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Huge effort. Chief, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
GARTLAND: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Today Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen ruled out a federal bailout for Silicon Valley Bank following its stunning collapse on Friday. SVB is the 16th biggest bank in the country but the second biggest bank failure in U.S. history after the collapse of Washington Mutual during the financial crisis of 2008. That bank's failure was followed by a massive government rescue of banks. But Yellen says a bailout this time is not in the plans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Let me be clear that during the financial crisis there were investors and owners of systemic large banks that were bailed out, and we're certainly not looking, and the reforms that have been put in place means that we're not going to do that again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: With me right now to discuss is Gregory Baer. He is the president and chief executive officer of the Bank Policy Institute. Greg, so good to see you.
So what's your reaction to Janet Yellen saying no government bailouts for Silicon Valley Bank?
GREGORY BAER, PRESIDENT, BANK POLICY INSTITUTE: Well, this is how it was supposed to work, right. I mean coming out of the last financial crisis, the idea wasn't that no bank should ever be able to fail, but that a bank should be able to fail without the taxpayers having to lose money, without financial stability consequences. And that's why that's exactly what we're seeing. I think her reaction is a good sign.
WHITFIELD: So the FDIC ensures up to $250,000 per depositor. But a lot of people and companies, especially those with payroll accounts have a lot more money in that bank than that $250,000. So will they be able to recover some of their millions, or is that when the government may potentially step in to assist?
BAER: Well, I mean the FDIC's job, first of all, is to ensure that insured depositors get paid off. But in this case actually there really weren't that many insured depositors. As you know, there was mostly was primarily uninsured depositors, primarily tech firms. But now the FDIC statutory duty is maximize the return for the other creditors which includes uninsured depositors. And you can be sure that's what they're doing over this weekend.
They're looking for a buyer, whether that's for the whole organization or for parts of it, and to the extent that they get those recoveries, those monies belong to the uninsured depositors, again after the depositor insurance (INAUDIBLE) reimburse the insured depositors.
WHITFIELD: So what do you think really caused the collapse of this bank? And why was it that some of the depositors kind of had a heads- up and were able to retrieve and withdraw a whole lot of money before it completely collapsed?
BAER: Yes. Silicon Valley Bank was a really unusual situation. Basically you had a bank. It catered really to one industry, primarily the tech industry and VCs. It took in huge amounts of deposits over the last two years.
It didn't have a lot of loan demand to loan that money out. So it did what you think would be a smart and low risk thing, which is it went out and bought tons of treasury securities.
There are two problems, though. First, most of that money was uninsured, as you know. So that will be $250,000 limit. So (INAUDIBLE). And then they decided to run because it turned out that the Fed dramatically raised interest rates.
BAER: And so all those low-risk treasury securities were actually under water.
They weren't going to default as a credit matter, but the interest rate they were paying was far below market rates. So, you put those two things together, that's a pretty toxic situation and a pretty unusual one. You don't see a lot of banks that have less than 5 percent of their deposits uninsured and with a balance sheet that looks like that.
WHITFIELD: So, then, what needs to happen before the markets and businesses open tomorrow?
BAER: Well, traditionally, the FDIC will calculate what it's going to get out of the assets of the failed bank and they'll pay out what they call a dividend to the uninsured creditors, some fraction of what they think they're going to end up getting.
So, in the ordinary course, the FDIC would be making a payment to the uninsured depositors this week, maybe even Monday. There are widespread reports that they're actually doing an auction, and the thing they will cover are substantial amount. Whether, again, that's by selling the whole bank or selling parts of it, but again, to the extent they bring that money in over the weekend, that will give greater confidence to pay that money outcome Monday. WHITFIELD: Are you confident this is an isolated incident, or do you
think this is kind of a red flag for some other financial institutions down the line?
BAER: Well, it's always hard to say. But, I mean, I do think in cases like this, going back to the financial crisis, when something like this happens, the first thing you do is look around and say, well, who else looks like this? And then, also, you know, were there any other interconnections.
But the fact is, unlike the financial crisis, there weren't other banks or financial institutions that were creditors of Silicon Valley Bank. So you don't see that kind of contagion. You don't see a lot of banks where they've got huge amounts of treasury securities under water, huge amounts of uninsured deposits and at a risk of going bad very quickly.
WHITFIELD: All right. Greg Baer, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.
BAER: My pleasure. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Coming up, sources say Vice President Kamala Harris's inner circle is feeling really insulted after a recent string of snubs as some Democratic leaders question her place on a potential 2024 presidential ticket. The new CNN reporting, next.
WHITFIELD: In the presidential race for 2024, Democratic leaders are calling on allies to stop criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris, fearing it could cause big problems ahead of the election, according to new CNN reporting. Some concerns were fueled after comments made by Senator Elizabeth Warren.
During an interview with a Boston radio station in January, Warren was enthusiastic when asked if President Biden should run for re-election. Then listen to what she had to say when asked if Harris should be on the ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team. I've known Kamala for a long time, I like Kamala. I knew her back when she was -- when she was an attorney general and I was still teaching, and we worked on the housing crisis together.
So we go way back, but they need -- they have to be a team. And my sense is they are. I don't mean to suggest I think there are any problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's bring in CNN's Isaac Dovere with more on this new reporting.
So, Isaac, fill us in on what is happening and what happened especially after that interview?
ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Well, look, that interview which sources close to Senator Warren tell us was just an unintentional, fumbling, misspoken situation. She didn't mean to imply anything about the vice president.
But it was enough of an issue that Warren called twice trying to apologize, trying to explain what she was trying to say to the vice president. And so far, it's been six weeks. Vice President Harris hasn't called her back.
It's a moment that, of course, is interesting in itself, but goes to a larger feeling that is very much around many of the people who are in the vice president's orbit that she does not get the respect that she deserve, they think, that she is just constantly being trapped in this caricature of incompetence, or the way the people felt -- all the negative things they had to say about her in her first year on the job and they feel like it's time to show that respect.
WHITFIELD: So, then, what, if anything, are the people in the vice president's circle doing, is there any real kind of lobbying on her behalf, or is there some other way in which they're responding to the call made, for example, by Senator Warren?
DOVERE: Well, one of the things that we hear a lot from top Democrats, this fear that, look, Joe Biden, it looks like he's going to be running for re-election. If he does, he'll be running at 82 years old to serve another term. There will be a lot of attention to who the running mate will be. It's always a heartbeat away from the presidency. It's a different question when that heart has been beating for 80 years.
But a number of Democrats saying to us it's time, as the governor of Illinois said, people who are denigrating the vice president are only aggrandizing themselves. And President Biden looking to how he can lift up the vice president over the course of the next year and a half.
His senior adviser, Jen O'Malley Dillon telling me a few days ago there's no one better, there is no one who knows more about what it is to run for re-election as a vice president, how important it is to help lead the ticket across the country than Joe Biden who, of course, in 2012 was a vice president running for re-election.
WHITFIELD: All right. Isaac Dovere, thank you so much.
DOVERE: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead, in a few hours, the champagne carpet rolls out. For the first time in over 60 years, the red -- I should say the Oscars carpet -- well, it's not red. We'll preview tonight's festivities, next.
WHITFIELD: All right. It's all about the movies in Hollywood's biggest night. The 95th Annual Academy Awards, it's tonight, if you didn't know by now. If the run-up to the Oscars proves anything, everywhere all at once is the frontrunner.
CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: And when we're done with this, we'll be carpeting all of Hollywood.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Oscars are back, the first since the slap made Hollywood's biggest night the academy's biggest nightmare.
CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: It still hurts.
ELAM: Just a week after Chris Rock took aim at Will Smith.
KIMMEL: The second I saw Will Smith get out of his seat, I would have been way to the Wetzel's Pretzels.
ELAM: All eyes will be on host Jimmy Kimmel, who says he will address the slap.
KIMMEL: You know, comedians are mad about it. It's one of those things that, for a group of people that find everything funny, it's like not funny, you know. But of course, it's -- you know, you have to.
ELAM: The fallout also upends Oscar tradition, since Smith won best actor last year.
MATTHEW BELLONI, FOUNDING PARTNER, PUCK: They have to find somebody to present best actress, because typically the tradition is if you win best actor, you come back and you present best actress. But that's not going to happen because he's banned from the show.
ELAM: This year's drama should come from the awards. Possible upsets.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS, SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE: I have been an actress since I was 19.
ELAM: A late SAG Award surge from Jamie Lee Curtis could lift her over supporting actress favorite Angela Bassett, neither veteran has ever won.
What does that mean for you?
ANGELA BASSETT, SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE: You know what, it's just a clear example that you've got to hold on. BRENDAN FRASER, ACTOR, "THE WHALE": I'm spiraling and breathing.
ELAM: SAG and Critics' Choice winner Brendan Fraser will go down to the wire with Austin Butler for best actor.
AUSTIN BUTLER, ACTOR, "ELVIS": I'm not ready to fly.
ELAM: The "Elvis" star won a BAFTA, the British Oscar, a bellwether since the Academy has welcomed more international voters.
BAZ LUHRMANN, DIRECTOR, "ELVIS": Denzel Washington said to me, you are about to work with a young actor -- because he had just worked with him -- whose work ethic is like no other. He was right.
MICHELLE YEOH, ACTRESS, "EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE": (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
ELAM: If there's an Oscar shocker, it could be for best actress where Michelle Yeoh is expected to win for "Everything Everywhere All At Once."
CATE BLANCHETT, BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE: I am excited. I'm excited.
ELAM: Cate Blanchett's BAFTA win keeps her competitive. But the outlier, Andrea Riseborough, whose role as an alcoholic in the small film, "To Leslie" led to social media push inside Hollywood that won her a surprise nomination. She was allowed to remain a contender after an Academy investigation into the tactics of the campaign. A probe that upsets some of Riseborough supporters.
BELLONI: There could be a protest vote that goes on here. And if there is a shocker on Oscar night, it's going to be if she wins.
ELAM (on camera): And Tom Cruise is expected to return to the Oscars, not as an acting nominee but a producer on "Top Gun: Maverick", which is up for best picture. But if it wins, that will be a shocker since "Everything Everywhere All At Once" is expected to win that category. Back to you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Stephanie Elam, thank you so much.
All right. So, what else are we expecting tonight.
For more on all this, let's turn to CNN's Lisa Respers France.
So, Lisa, "Everything Everywhere All At Once," I mean, I saw the movie, I don't know why the title still kind of trips me up. But, anyway, okay, it has swept everything. It has won more awards than any other film in history, amazing. So, does that mean it's a shoo-in for the big one tonight?
LISA RESPERS FRANCE, CNN ENTERTAINMENT SENIOR WRITER: Nothing is ever a shoo-in from the academy awards. That's what we have to keep in mind. This film has captured the imagination of audiences like "Parasite" a few years ago. It's a huge boost for Asian American actors. So, we love to see it.
WHITFIELD: Oh my God, and I cannot wait to see what Michelle Yeoh wears. I mean, she's so glamorous, so opulent, such a class act. I mean, the jewels she's been wearing, the choices, the colors, all that. And her work choice and her speeches, wow. Powerful.
FRANCE: A lot of people are pulling for her to win, not only to make history as the first Asian American to win best actress. But also, because she has gone from being a beauty queen, to a Bond girl --
WHITFIELD: The martial arts, hello.
FRANCE: The martial arts. She kicks booty, doing her own stunts. She's incredibly. She's one of the most famous actresses in the world. A lot of people are pulling for her.
WHITFIELD: And most well-rounded and talented. Wow. Can't say enough about her.
OK. So, Jimmy Kimmel, he's hosting tonight's ceremony. And he said, as we saw in Stephanie's piece, you know, he will address the slap. How is he going to handle it? With humor or a very serious message or a combo? What do you think?
FRANCE: I think, of course, he's going to try to make it funny, you know? They have a crisis team in place now because of the slap. I feel like Jimmy has been there for a lot of --
WHITFIELD: In terms of what to do, the discipline --
FRANCE: Exactly, right, because I mean, let's not forget that he was there when "La-La-Land" was announced as best picture winner, but it was actually "Moonlight". He was there for the slap. He understands live television.
He's also a comedian. If anyone can pull off making a joke about the slap, it will be Jimmy Kimmel.
WHITFIELD: Okay. And the best actor, you know, of the previous year usually is the one who is going to present to best actress. Will Smith got best actor last year.
WHITFIELD: What do you think is going to happen? Obviously not him because he's been banned from academy awards events for, like, ten years. But how creative are they going to have to get?
FRANCE: I can tell you what the Internet wants to have and the Internet wants Chris Rock to come out and present. I don't think that's going to happen, however. I think they're going to figure out a creative way to do it, maybe something funny or maybe something to honor someone from the past.
You know, it really was a dark moment for the show and, you know, that's -- I shouldn't put it that way because you know how people make stuff racial.
But, you know, it was a tough night for a lot of people to watch because keep in mind when that happened, a lot of us, including me, at first we thought it was a bit. You realized Will Smith had actually slapped Chris Rock, it was just like wow, stunning, right.
But a lot of people are going to be paying attention tonight to see exactly who presents that award, because Will Smith is banned for a decade.
WHITFIELD: Right. OK. For the first time since 1961 we love to say the red carpet. I mean, it means opulence, elegant, Hollywood. This year we're saying s the champagne carpet. We all love champagne, but huh?
FRANCE: Yeah, not the same.
WHITFIELD: So, apparently, the Oscars folks want it to feel like a California sunset with orange curtain and the champagne sand-like color.
FRANCE: Do you see my face?
WHITFIELD: I know. I'm seeing it, I'm feeling it. Eww.
FRANCE: Yeah, all of the stylists in Hollywood run out and change the look they were planning --
WHITFIELD: Everything goes with burnt orange, backdrop.
FRANCE: Backdrop, right. And a lot of people thought color this year was going to be the color for the dresses, for the gowns. And so, you know, you don't want to blend in.
WHITFIELD: So, you want to blend in with the curtains.
FRANCE: Absolutely not.
WHITFIELD: This is your night.
WHITFIELD: It's popping. How are you going to pop on burnt orange?
FRANCE: Burnt orange is champagne, like one of those things is not like the other.
WHITFIELD: Why don't they call and consult us?
WHITFIELD: I think we know better.
FRANCE: I think we do. Leave it -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's called red carpet for a reason, people. WHITFIELD: Oh my god, that's right. And let's keep it -- so may be
this is an experiment. Next year red carpet will be back.
FRANCE: I think there may be a bit of an outcry if nothing else the celebrities have to plan their outfits.
WHITFIELD: Although I looked up and see that there were interesting color carpets of the other events. There was purple. There was yellow, blue, this is the year --
FRANCE: People complain all the time that the Academy Awards is staged and it's old-fashioned and they don't mix things up. I don't think they met the red carpet may have mixed up and the color scheme. But I say, you know, throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.
WHITFIELD: Sometimes classic is just classic.
WHITFIELD: Okay, I am with you. All right. Lisa, thank you so much.
FRANCE: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Well, talk about excess baggage. Is that what we're talking about?
A woman who posted a photo of this suitcase she said delta air lines destroyed received a surprise shipment and they didn't just send one, they replaced it with 13 suitcases from a luggage store called Ricardo Beverly Hills.
Here now is CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No wonder it is often curtains for luggage dumped, scanned, slept on conveyors, assaulted by the searching hands of strangers. So when a woman who goes by the TikTok handle @Gisele_Rochefort posted --
GISELE ROCHEFORT, DELTA PASSENGER: Delta destroyed my suitcase.
MOOS: The best she expected from Delta was that they would replace her banged up, psychedelic suitcase but instead these arrived, 13 cases sent by delta Dy a store called Ricardo Beverly Hills.
ROCHEFORT: I think they made a mistake.
MOOS: One jokester commented, here's an extra 12 in case we break anymore.
Actually, Giselle say she found more. I thought I was done only to realize three of the bags had small ones inside of them.
We reached out to Delta for an explanation but did not hear back. Meanwhile, Giselle who likewise couldn't reach is getting bombarded with, can I have one? I'd love one. Can I buy one from you?
The ape from the old American Tourister commercial would have a field day with all of these for once instead of excess baggage fees, we are talking excess baggage free.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
WHITFIELD: All right. The news continues after a quick break but first, this week's "Off the Beaten Path".
MICHAEL WOOD, VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK: On your drive in, you drop into this valley and their these spires of sandstone that come erupting from the ground.
Welcome to Valley of Fire State Park. We're about an hour north of Las Vegas, and you really don't see formations anywhere like this in Nevada. You can't climb all over the sandstone, get a glimpse from ancestral Anaasazi people. We have amazing wildlife, incredible views and most of our hiking, most of our viewpoints is going to be right off the roadway. There's a few tours to the northern portions of our park. That's a different perspective.
OSCAR MARTINEZ, ADRENALIE ATV TOURS: The way we go in there. It's on the rural side for the Valley of Fire. You can't really get in there was nothing else but four-wheel-drive or these ATVs, or UTVS. The trail that we're on is the most amazing throughout the whole state park.
If we are going through the canyon, the Sandstone Mountains that are all surrounding us, and we have the famous sand dunes there. You get the RPMs going, and you get the sand kicking everywhere, the tire hitting berms, having a great time. It's a good heart pumping experience.
WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.