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Biden Administration Weighs Protecting All Depositors At Silicon Valley Bank; Eight Dead After Smuggling Boats Capsized Off San Diego Coast; California Braces For Another Round Of Dangerous Downpour; Former VP Mike Pence Ramps Up Criticism Of Donald Trump. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 12, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN HOST: Adrienne Broaddus, CNN, Minneapolis.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: Wow. Heroes indeed.
All right, thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The CNN NEWSROOM continues with Jim Acosta after this.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.
We begin this hour with a scramble to prevent a sudden bank failure from spiraling out of control. The "Washington Post" is reporting that federal officials are weighing safeguarding in all uninsured deposits Silicon Valley Bank. This is one potential response if the government is unable to find a buyer for the failed bank.
We've also learned that the Treasury Department has briefed California lawmakers about the latest on the situation. Silicon Valley Bank was the go-to lender protect tech startups until its sudden collapse on Friday.
CNN's Arlette Saenz joins us live from the White House.
Arlette, what are we hearing from the Biden administration about what is being done and what is being ruled out in terms of trying to help out after this bank failure?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the Biden administration has been working throughout the weekend trying to find a solution in the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that she's been speaking with financial regulators throughout the weekend as well as depositors, and for President Biden's part, he spoke last night with California Governor Gavin Newsom about steps to address this situation.
Now one big question at this moment is regarding the deposits at that bank. For the time being the FDIC insures deposits up to $250,000 leaving in question what happens to those depositors who have larger than that amount in that bank. And according to the "Washington Post" there are discussions underway about potentially safeguarding all deposits at that bank.
It remains unclear whether exactly that would be seen and that step would likely only be taken if they're unable to find a buyer -- a bidder to take control of Silicon Valley Bank. But a bit earlier today Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen insisted that there would be no larger bailout for the bank.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET YELLEN, 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 are certainly not looking at the reforms that have been put in place means that we're not going to do that again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Now additionally Treasury officials have briefed California lawmakers. Our Alayna Treene has reported. And two items that they told them is that the FDIC has started taking bids for the bank as well as telling lawmakers that they are working -- that the FDIC is working to ensure that, quote, "They're prepared to operate the institution in order to ensure that depositors can maintain their payrolls for employees." So it's unclear what exactly -- what format that would take but this is an issue that the Biden administration has been watching quite closely over the weekend as there are concerns about any economic jitters it could prompt.
ACOSTA: All right. And there are lots of jitters out there.
Arlette Saenz, thank you very much, over at the White House for us. We appreciate it.
For more on what this means and what it could, I guess, portend for the bank and its depositors, I want to bring in Jon Sarlin, who's the host of CNN's "NIGHTCAP," a digital weekly program that highlights intersection of business and culture.
There's a lot of intersecting going on this weekend in all sorts of directions, Jon. The big question, what happens tomorrow when the financial markets open? I suppose that's a big glaring question at this point. And will there be a plan in place that reassures the markets and prevents this crisis from getting worse? The dribs and drabs that we're getting out of the "Washington Post" and from -- I guess from folks up on Capitol Hill, it sounds like this is a work in progress right now.
JON SARLIN, HOST, CNN BUSINESS NIGHTCAP: Jim, you said it. This is a race against the clock because right now lawmakers in D.C. want the bank to be sold. That would be the best-case scenario. Depositors would be made whole. But if that doesn't happen, well, then we're looking at a Monday where markets open but also banks open, right? And people will be looking at banks to see, hey, is my money is safe? We know from what happened at SVB these things can move very quickly.
And there are two concerns. One is that people in smaller regional banks will move the money to larger banks and we might see bank failures like we saw at SVB. Then there's the concern about businesses who have their money tied up in SVB, what they will do to pay their employees and keep the lights on.
ACOSTA: And as we just heard, officials are weighing whether to guarantee all of the bank deposits not just the $250,000 limit but we know that the Treasury secretary is ruling out a bailout, but that sounds like a bit of a financial rescue of some sort that they're talking about at this point. What would the impact of this be?
SARLIN: Right. It's what your definition of a bailout, right?
SARLIN: Lawmakers are focusing in on depositors, right, but bear in mind that there's a political liability here for the Biden administration as well, right? Silicon Valley has its enemies on both the left and the right, and there is a strong libertarian ethos at the heart of Silicon Valley that believes that the private sector and specifically the private sector in Silicon Valley can do a better job generally than the federal government.
Well, for Silicon Valley Bank, the bank of choice for startups in D.C.'s to need this extraordinary measure from the federal government in a bailout, you can see that being used as a political cudgel from both the left and the right.
ACOSTA: All right, Jon Sarlin, thank you very much.
And we should note -- a programming note, in a few minutes I'll speak with California Congressman Adam Schiff, Democrat from California, about this in just a few moments so stay with us for that.
Another story that we're following out of California at this hour. At least eight people are dead after two boats capsized offshore near San Diego. Officials are calling this one of the worst disasters stemming from human trafficking that they've ever seen.
CNN's Camila Bernal joins us now.
Camila, what more do we know?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jim. So, yes, authorities calling this a tragedy, saying that a criminal organization is responsible for this but I'll start from the beginning. Authorities saying they received a 911 call around 11:30 midnight last night and saying that this person reported two capsized boats. One with eight people in it, the other with 15 in it.
By the time authorities arrived on scene they did not find the caller, they did not find any survivors, but they began searching. This was a difficult search. Authorities saying it was pitch black. They also described these sandbars. So they believe that people thought they were OK walking out of the water but there were also these holes in the water where all the currents are and that current of course pulling these people back into the ocean.
That's what authorities believed happened. They continued searching today but so far they've only been able to find eight bodies. They say they found lifejackets on the shore but not in or on the bodies that they recovered. And officials also saying that the people responsible for this are not necessarily looking at safety. Here's what they're saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. JAMES SPITLER, SAN DIEGO SECTOR COMMANDER, U.S. COAST GUARD: This is not necessarily people trying to find a better life. This is part of a transnational criminal organization effort to smuggle people into the United States. These people are often labor trafficked and sex trafficked when they arrive.
JAMES GARTLAND, CHIEF OF LIFEGUARD DIVISION, SAN DIEGO: 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)
BERNAL: And Border Patrol saying they are looking into this, working with Mexican officials to try to identify the criminal organization responsible for this. But of course it's going to be difficult as they have not even found any survivors or anyone to speak about this -- Jim.
ACOSTA: A very sad situation. All right, Camila Bernal. Thanks very much keep us posted on any developments that come in.
Meanwhile, central and northern California are bracing for another round of devastating storms and flooding. That's even before those areas can recover from the last several days. Hundreds have been forced to evacuate after this levee failed in Monterey County as the region reels from this winter's 10th atmospheric river as it's known in meteorology. An ominous reality is all also approaching at this hour. Another atmospheric river, number 11 in fact, is just hours away.
CNN's Mike Valerio is in Pajaro, California.
Mike, what's the latest there?
MIKE VALERIO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, we have two new pieces of information that we learned within the past hour. The first piece is, to your point, that we have another atmospheric river on the way. County officials tell us that we are expecting by the end of the day another larger evacuation zone around a nearby Salinas River, so stand by for more information on that.
The second piece, Jim, to the levee by the end of the day we're expecting a plan about a temporary fix. What to do, how to somewhat plug up the whole on that levee which is why we have all of this water around here.
So we actually, Jim, want to show you some video that we shot on our phones earlier this morning, waiting several hundred yards behind us here to give you a better idea of the damage. Some of these homes are total losses and it really, Jim, breaks your heart to know that you're walking through this community of mostly migrants. Their American dreams of pizza places, bakeries, auto shops are lost with all of this water that flowed into the buildings, now 48 hours ago.
You see just a few sandbags in some of these neighborhoods and that just certainly was not enough but when you see this damage, Jim, there are also new incredible videos of rescues. This one that we want to show you in a few seconds is above the Salinas River.
A motorist was swept in his car into that river car about 12 hours ago and the California Highway Patrol spotted him and were able to make this rescue. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. I'll come again. There you go, just keep this line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIO: Just unbelievable right there. He was unharmed and put on to dry ground.
So, Jim, you're going to be looking at video of National Guard troops going in and out of the main drags here in Pajaro, just making sure that everybody is safe. We've seen sheriff Humvees doing the same thing. But some people have decided not to leave. They're on the second floor of their apartment buildings. They want to stay for round two because they had everything here. They think that they can make it but, you know, we have a few more hours until the second round. They think emergency officials are going to try to persuade them, otherwise, Jim.
ACOSTA: All right. Mike Valerio, thanks so much for that update. We appreciate it.
Former Vice President Mike Pence is making some blistering comments about members of his own party including his former boss, Donald Trump. That's next.
Later, new CNN reporting on Vice President Kamala Harris. Why Democratic leaders are getting concerned over the repeated snubs that she's been facing.
Plus, Hollywood's biggest stars will soon arrive at the Academy Awards. And CNN is live on the champagne carpet? Yes, champagne, not red carpet this year. We'll explain in a little bit.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
ACOSTA: Former vice president Mike Pence is ramping up his criticism of his old boss, telling a crowd in Washington this weekend that history will judge former president Donald Trump for his actions on January 6th. He said, "President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election and his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable."
Joining us to talk about this, conservative lawyer and usual Trump critic, George Conway, and Republican strategist Alice Stewart.
George, let me ask you about what Mike Pence had to say. I mean, I guess it's stating the obvious that history will judge Donald Trump.
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: History will judge him as well, and judge everybody.
ACOSTA: All of us.
CONWAY: It's sort of like --
ACOSTA: Yes. But what do you make of the former vice president's comments? He is sort of steadily ramping up this criticism, and it teased up this -- I guess this question in the Republican Party, can you run against, I guess the standard bearer of the Republican Party in this kind of way.
CONWAY: Well, I'm all for him running against the standard bearer of the Republican Party in that way. I mean he has said this before. He said it before a Federalist Society event in Florida I think some time last year. I mean, occasionally he does talk like this but you have to remember this is a private party of journalists in Washington, D.C. It's like, that's great. Say it more out there and out in Iowa, out on the campaign trail.
Let's see him do that instead of -- and I don't think it is a good look for him. I mean I like journalists as much as anybody in this town, but, you know, saying it at a private dinner like that, white tie, just doesn't really cut it particularly when you are fighting, you know, having to testify about what the illegality that Trump tried to make you engage in. It's just -- so that's a bit sort of galling to me.
The other thing that's galling about it is, even though I give him enormous credit for doing the right thing on January 6th, it shouldn't have come to that. He had his own moral obligation, personal moral obligations as a candidate on the ballot in 2020 to concede the election once before then, as soon as the electoral college at the very least had voted. ACOSTA: Yes.
CONWAY: And he -- you know, he's responsible in that sense for not basically saying, look, we lost. I think he was too terrified of Donald Trump to do that.
ACOSTA: You know, Alice, that is kind of a forgotten thread in that whole saga. I mean, I remember covering Mike Pence over at the White House during those days, and he just wasn't going out on a limb and he was being very careful and avoiding criticizing Trump and avoiding the topic of whether or not we won or lost the election. But he's doing it now.
What do you make of the timing of this and what he saying?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this really it's always been in Mike Pence's character. He did so back when he was endorsing Ted Cruz in 2016. He's always been able to keep his powder dry until he's really ready to ready, aim and fire and that's clearly what he's doing in those case, and what this tells me does indicate more than likely he's leaning more towards getting into the race.
And hats off to him for actually calling a spade a spade because it is absolutely correct that history will judge Donald Trump for his actions and his responsibility for what happened on January 6th, and it was wrong and reckless. And not only did he endanger the lives of vice president and his family, every member of Congress, the police officers, those who were there, the journalists on that day.
And what I'm hearing out on the road despite how another network mischaracterizes what happened with recently released videotapes, voters are responding to the fact that January 6th should not have happened and I'm speaking with people in Iowa, New Hampshire and these early states. And Donald Trump's actions on January 6th, his election denying, his tone and tenor ever since he got into the White House that is going to be a big factor in what happens with him on the campaign trail in 2024, and many voters are not looking favorably on his actions and his responsibility for January 6th.
ACOSTA: George, what about what Alice is saying there, that out on the campaign trail there are more Republicans than you would think who are critical of Trump for what happened on January 6th?
CONWAY: Well, I haven't been out there the way Alice has.
CONWAY: But I'm glad to hear that. On the other hand the problem is that he's got this core base of support, 20 percent, 30 percent, 35 percent, who knows, who are going to vote for him no matter what, even if he gets indicted or especially if he gets indicted. They're going to stick with him. And the way the system is, I'm not going to say rigged, but the way the system is set up you can win a nomination of the Republican Party without getting a majority of the votes. All he got to do is get a plurality in some states to get all the
delegates. So unless it's a one-on-one race against somebody who is ready to go after him it's possible that Trump could pull it out. In fact, I think it's fairly likely that Trump will pull it out if it's not a one-on-one race.
ACOSTA: Alice, one of the things -- one of the threads that we've been following with Trump over the last several days is obviously what may be happening with the Manhattan DA's office, and whether or not he does seek an indictment against Trump for his actions in the Stormy Daniels hush money probe.
Do you think that could add to the weight that you're I guess picking up on out on the campaign trail that this will turn off even more Republicans and turn them against the president than perhaps we're picking up on, or might all these pending indictments amount to, you know, a sort of something that Trump could exploit and put, you know, sort of out there as like they're coming out to get me?
STEWART: I think we've already seen him already trying to portray that he is the victim in all of this, whether it is the Stormy Daniels case or whether it's Mar-a-Lago. And to George's point, his base is going to stick with him. His solid hardcore base is going to stick with him no matter what. We could have another "Access Hollywood" tape and they would still stick with him. But where he's running into trouble is the people in the Republican Party outside of his base.
And again, I'm talking about a key part of the electorate that he will need in 2024, which is social evangelicals. And speaking with some of them, he's going to be in Iowa this week, evangelicals in Iowa say, look, they're thankful for what President Trump did with regard to the Supreme Court, with regard to immigration, with regard to safety and security. But what they are frustrated with is this tone and tenor.
They're frustrated with this name-calling, the January 6th, and Bob Vander Plaats who is the president of the Family Leader is a key person that you really need. He told me this interesting way he put it. He said, look, Bob Seger has two really great songs, one is "Still the One," and one is "Turn the Page," and when it comes to Donald Trump evangelicals think Donald Trump is still the one and they're ready to turn the page.
ACOSTA: And George, all these indictments that may be on the horizon, they appear to be on the horizon for Trump. How do you see that playing out?
CONWAY: Yes. I think he will be indicted multiple times. He will get bail. He will campaign no matter what. Unless he's incarcerated. And even if he's incarcerated he stick to the camp, he will stick to running for president and he'll try to foment violence. I just think that's just his nature. He's a malignant narcissist. He's a very unwell man. He will try to take everyone down with him if he can't win.
ACOSTA: But does it change the equation?
CONWAY: Does it change the equation?
ACOSTA: On the Republican side for the nominee.
CONWAY: Again, I mean, as -- I mean, we both agree, Alice and I did, there's just a certain core of the party that is going to go with him no matter what and actually might be bound to him more if they think he's being persecuted, and he plays that and he plays that to the hilt. And again I mean, it's going to be a question of whether or not somebody can get traction on him one-on-one.
But even then, even if they win, even if like, say, DeSantis got a one-on-one shot against Trump and won, you're going to have 30 percent of the Republican, you know, base at least, a core part of the base that's going to be mad. They're going to be unhappy to your leader. And Trump is just singularly destructive as Tucker Carlson noted in one of his e-mails, and Trump would take the whole party down by running as a third candidate if he had to.
You know, he's -- this isn't looking -- I mean, I'd like to share Alice's optimism that people are done with Trump at the Republican Party, but I don't think they're going to get rid of him that easy.
ACOSTA: Might not be quite yet time to play "Turn the Page" by Bob Seger, although a great reference there, Alice.
Alice and George, thanks so much.
CONWAY: I'm Seger fan.
ACOSTA: Yes, I know. It's a great song. All right, guys, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
In just 48 hours Silicon Valley Bank collapsed leaving businesses scrambling. The Treasury Department just briefed lawmakers about to collapse. California Congressman Adam Schiff, he will join me live in just a few moments to talk about this as investors and consumers out there are very nervous about what comes next.
ACOSTA: Turning back to our top story. The "Washington Post" reporting that federal officials are weighing safeguarding all uninsured deposits at Silicon Valley Bank, despite the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen ruling out a bailout for the bank.
California Congressman Adam Schiff joins me now.
Congressman, thanks so much for doing this for us so quickly. We understand lawmakers from your state have been briefed on the situation. Can you tell us what you've been told and what do you know in terms of what's being done to shore up this bank? There's a lot of nervous investors, a lot of nervous consumers out there.
[16:30:00] REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We've had a couple briefings now. One with FBIC yesterday. One with Treasury this morning. And what we have tried to emphasize with both is the need, first and foremost, to protect people whose paychecks, workers that is for small businesses, that, you know, completely unbeknownst to them, had their payrolls handled by SBB and, therefore, may not get a check. May not get, you know, income that they need to rely on.
So, we want to make sure that we underscore just how important it is that people get those paychecks, that are depending on it for their living. I don't think any of us are particularly concerned about what happens with the bank executives or even investors.
We do want to make sure that people who made their deposits are protected up to the $250,000. And beyond that, that the risk of contagion, that is runs (ph) and other banks, is mitigated by Treasury. So, these are the concerns that we have expressed.
I would add that, also, there's profound concern in California, given that this sector is such an important part of our economy. That is the entrepreneurial sector, that a bank that really was integral to that economy that someone, ideally another bank, take over that portfolio so that work can continue.
ACOSTA: And, earlier today, the Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, ruled out a bailout for this bank. Do you think it's premature to make that kind of declaration? What if some sort of financial rescue package is necessary?
SCHIFF: Well, my sense, from the two calls that we've had, and both the FDIC and Treasury kept their cards pretty close to the vest. But I think it's clear that the best outcome here is to find another bank to acquire and run the assets at SVB. That would the least disruptive. It would make people the most whole.
So, that's the best outcome. Now, if that doesn't happen, then it's much more complicated task. And whether they go to try to protect depositors, over that insured amount of $250,000, will depend on just how great the systemic risk is. That is, will other banks fail if they don't protect these other depositors? It's hard for me to evaluate that. It may be hard for them to evaluate that.
I could tell you, there are, you know, real concerns about it in California. They did try to underscore, repeatedly, that the financial system is in much better shape than it was during the 2008-2009 collapse of some of these major institutions. And I think that's true.
But, nonetheless, there's profound concern in California about where this will lead and whether other banks are similarly situated.
ACOSTA: Well, and I -- one of the things, since you mentioned the 2008 financial crisis, I mean, the government did put in some protections, I thought, Dodd Frank and so on, to make sure we didn't have bank failures of this nature in the future. What happened to that? Why is it that, now, we are, all of a sudden, dealing with a bank collapsing in 48 hours, which is what happened last week with SVB? SCHIFF: You know, I think those protections have worked, to some
degree. But, in 2018 under the Trump Administration, Congress moved to weaken those regulations as it pertained to some other banks, smaller or mid-sized banks, including this one.
And so, it didn't have as strong regulatory oversight and a strong, you know, capital requirements as it might have had. So, it was more vulnerable, I think, as a result of weakening those regulations.
And I think what we have here is a -- both a failure of oversight of the bank and an extraordinary failure of the bank's management. You know, it was certainly increased by the rapid increase in interest rates.
But that wasn't completely unforeseeable. There are a lot of unanswered questions here. I think we're going to want to dive into how the bank could have made such poor decisions and put so many of its customers and others at risk. Why the FDIC and others weren't more on top of the situation.
But, right now, the most urgent priority is making sure people, you know, working for small businesses through no fault of their own are at risk, get their paychecks and can provide for their families.
ACOSTA: And just very quickly, as a follow-up to what you were just saying. One of the contributing factors to this bank collapse that's been reported has been the steady rise in interest rates by the -- carried out by the Federal Reserve.
We know that the former FDIC chair, Sheila Bair, was on one of the Sunday talk shows earlier today. And she was telling one of our colleagues, here at CNN, that perhaps we need to hit the pause button on raising interest rates.
ACOSTA: In the event that other banks may -- or financial institutions may be in the same situation, where they may be affected by these rising interest rates that are going up very quickly. Worth hitting the pause button on that, thinking of that as a possibility?
SCHIFF: I think they're going to have to examine that possibility. And I think we, in Congress, need to ask the question, were they considering the impact on banks like this one in the Silicon Valley by such rapid rate increases?
You know, clearly, they were doing this to try to tamp down inflation. But did they consider the possibility that some institutions may not be able to handle such a rapid increase in rates?
Now, I think a large part of that responsibility goes to the management of that bank. But, nonetheless, was the Fed on top of this? Did they see the risks? And, going forward, are there other institutions that will be in jeopardy, if they continue such rapid increases in interest rates? They're going to have to study that and we're going to have to find out, in Congress, exactly how to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.
ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Adam Schiff, thanks for weighing in on the breaking news, as officials here in Washington are scrambling to get on top of the situation of this bank failure out in California. Thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
ACOSTA: All right. And coming up, we're live from Los Angeles and the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are tonight, a night where some sentimental favorites could win big.
You're looking at some live pictures right now. Apparently, there is not a red carpet tonight. There is a champagne carpet tonight. So, we'll have some comments on that. In just a few moments, we'll explain. Stay with us.
ACOSTA: It's Hollywood's biggest night. The glitz and the glamor are out in full force for the 95 Academy Awards. Leading the nominations, "Everything Everywhere All At Once." If the Oscars have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected.
One person who definitely won't be attending is last year's best actor winner, Will Smith. He was banned from the award ceremony for 10 years after that infamous slap to the face of Chris Rock. CNN's Stephanie Elam joins us now from outside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
OK, so, we're not going to see Will Smith tonight. But I know you are positioned there to see who -- everybody else coming in tonight. But what is the deal with the carpet, because I keep hearing about a champagne carpet? Are you in front of the champagne carpet? Where is the red carpet?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am on the champagne -- I'm on the champagne carpet here. I'm going to step out so you can see more of the champagneness (ph) that's behind me, Jim. And the curtains are kind of a burnt orange. And then, you've got the cold pops of the statuettes that are around.
So, yes, it's champagne. They wanted to go for a nighttime vibe in here, so a little bit different. It's also good because California is trying to have all of the rain that could possibly fall in a year fall this winter. So, it probably is a good idea that they planned a tent. It was a little misty this morning.
But you brought up a really good point about Will Smith. Since he won best actor last year, he should be the man who's presenting best actress this year. So, one of the questions we have tonight is, who's actually going to be presenting that award? We do not know. So, we're going to be looking for that.
And, like you said, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" has been winning just so many awards this award season. Will it continue tonight? Will we see Michelle Yeoh get her first Oscar? Maybe Jamie Lee Curtis as well. Ke Huy Quan as well. These are all the questions we're looking at to find out tonight.
I can tell you right now that we're waiting for the carpet to open, so I know that it looks very boring here. But they've pulled the media off the carpet to get ready for the actors, actresses and the celebrities to make their way down. Not -- it hasn't started just yet.
But another big one that we're looking to see is who's going to win best actor? Will it be Austin Butler from "Elvis" or could it possibly be Brendan Fraser from "The Whale"? And the reason why is because at the Screen Actor Guild Awards, which is the largest voting block of the Oscars, are the actors. We saw Brendan Fraser win that award, but Austin Butler won the BAFA which is basically the British version of the Oscars.
So, a lot of questions that we have to keep our eyes on tonight. Who's going to walk down the carpet? Who's -- how are they looking -- how are they going to change their outfits because there isn't a red carpet, Jim. All these very big pressing questions, as we get the night going here.
ACOSTA: All right. Well, Stephanie, I am not convinced that that is anything but poured concrete on the floor behind you. But I'm going to take your word for it. But that is a -- it is the color champagne.
ELAM: I'll send you a close up of the carpet.
ACOSTA: There may be some Hollywood spin on that.
ACOSTA: On the color of that carpet. But anyway.
ELAM: It's a fancy beige.
ACOSTA: All right, exactly. It's a fancy beige. Some Hollywood special affects there. All right, Stephanie Elam, great to see you. Thanks so much.
ELAM: You too.
ACOSTA: The ceremony is just a few hours away but there's time to catch up on who's nominated and who could win. CNN Entertainment Reporter Chloe Melas joins us now with a preview. Chloe, you don't have the red carpet or champagne carpet. Maybe your carpet is champagne there. But what are the awards that you've got your eye on tonight?
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER (via Webex): Well, as you can see, I wore my champagne shirt --
ACOSTA: There you go.
MELAS: -- for the evening, Jim, just for you and your show. ACOSTA: Perfect.
MELAS: The big category that you have to wait until the very end, if you guys can stay awake, is best picture. And could it be the year of the blockbuster? So, Jim, this is the category that I have, you know, all of my eggs in this basket. I think it's going to be "Top Gun." I think that, --
MELAS: -- you know, it grossed over $1 billion. And many people credit Tom Cruise with getting people back in movie theaters. And you heard Steven Spielberg say it recently, that matters. And that probably matters to the voting body of the academy. So, I know that many people think that "Everything Everywhere All At Once" may rightfully win, because it was a creative and incredible film that leads the way with 11 nominations. But I think it could be like the year "Titanic" won.
MELAS: I think it could be the year of the blockbuster.
ACOSTA: Wow, that would be a huge surprise. Because everything up until now has pointed to "Everything Everywhere All At Once" sweeping the awards tonight. But it does feel like there has been -- this all gets back to this, you know, whether or not the P.R. folks are, you know, out in full force and whatnot.
But it does feel like there has been a little bit of buzz and momentum for "Top Gun Maverick." Amazing film. I thought it was terrific. But, to me, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" is such -- it's such a mind bender of a film.
But what about the acting awards? I mean, are there other categories where we could see some upsets tonight?
MELAS: So, one of the categories that I want to talk to you about is best supporting actress. So many believe that Jamie Lee Curtis is going to -- you know, that she's the favored front runner here for her role in "Everything Everywhere All At Once."
But many think that, perhaps, Angela Bassett could win for "The Woman King." And she is incredible. So, I think that that could be an upset of a category.
Stephanie Elam talking about the best actor category between Austin Butler for "Elvis." That voice that he does. And many people say, you know, look, although he's a young star, this could be his night.
But then again, Brendan Fraser, he has had quite the ride in Hollywood. And everybody loves a good comeback story. And he had this incredible transformation and wore this fat suit with the makeup and the visuals in "The Whale." Just incredible. I actually watched it for the second time last night.
And then, best director category, you know, could it be Steven Spielberg again, right? For "The Fable Men." So, that will be an interesting category to look at.
But other movies to look out for are "The Banshees of Inisherin." That's a film that got a lot of buzz this year. "Tar."
But, you know, I am looking forward to, Jim, is how is Jimmy Kimmel going to address what happened last year?
MELAS: Right. Is he going to make jokes about Will Smith? And I said it to Alisyn Camerota the other night. I think, what if Chris Rock shows up? What if he presents the category? And maybe that's too controversial but maybe something wild is going to happen tonight. You never know.
ACOSTA: I have a feeling that the producers of the 95th Academy Awards have gone to great lengths to ensure that there will not be that kind of drama this evening. But, I mean, I have to tell you, I also think that the award for best actress is very interesting, and you mentioned "The Banshees of Inisherin." I thought that was a terrific film.
And I thought Colin Farrell was just sort of, you know, playing a different character that we'd never really seen him play before. Maybe not one in a very long time. He's usually the villain in movies. He plays this tremendously sympathetic warm character, you know, who is told by his best friend that he doesn't want to be his friend anymore.
I mean, it just -- I love that film. It's also a just -- I this year, in particular, we have a -- just a great assortment of terrific movies that are up for all these awards.
MELAS: And, look, Brendan Gleason great in that movie.
MELAS: And, yes, Colin Farrell, he plays this, like, sympathetic idiot, right? Like of a friend who just doesn't get it, that his friend doesn't want to be his friend anymore. And, visually, it's stunning. Filmed in Ireland and just the landscape is just incredible.
But, yes, I mean, look, there are so many good movies this year. And, also, let's not cut out "Avatar" that grossed over $2 billion at the box office that's going up against all these movies in the best picture category.
So, again, I mean, could we see some wild upset with "Avatar" winning? I mean, never say never. You never know where the voting body is going to swing.
ACOSTA: Well, that's a good point. Because "Avatar" was such a huge blockbuster, that also brought people back to the movie theaters. I mean, to the tune of $2 billion, so does that cancel out, you know, the case that you make for Maverick -- for "Top Gun Maverick" and maybe they do go ahead and give it to "Everything Everywhere All At Once." Although, that's what we're all expecting, so maybe there will be some drama, in that respect. Chloe Melas, great to talk to you. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.
MELAS: Thank you.
ACOSTA: All right. Coming up, the second largest bank failure in U.S. history is impacting small businesses. I'll be joined by an Ohio mother of four who spent Friday making sure her 15 employees would get paid after Silicon Valley Bank collapsed. She was doing business with that bank. It collapsed and now she's concerned about making sure her workers get paid. That's coming up.
ACOSTA: March is brain injury awareness month, and a CNN Hero is doing his part to help survivors. Kevin Pearce was a 22-year-old Olympic hopeful in 2009, when he had an accident that ended his snowboarding career. His older brother, Adam, stayed by his side through recovery, helping him relearn how to walk and talk.
But it wasn't until they found yoga that Adam watched his brother come back to life. Now Adam brings yoga to other TBI survivors.
ADAM PEARCE, CO-FOUNDER, LOVE YOUR BRAIN FOUNDATION: I think people feel isolated after a brain injury, because they don't feel able.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard. I lost my identity.
PEARCE: And when we allow people to be vulnerable and who they are, there is a deep connection formed because there is so much common understanding of the challenges that go on with brain injury.
The changes I see most, after people with TBI practice yoga, are probably a deeper connection to self.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Helping them cultivate greater awareness in self compassion allows them to meet the constant changes so much more.
ACOSTA: To learn more, go to CNNHeroes.com. And while your there, nominate your hero.
Coming up, federal regulators are working to limit the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Ahead, I'll be joined by Congressman Josh Harter, who is a former venture capitalist, to talk about it.
ACOSTA: We are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Tonight, the White House is trying to make sure that one bank failure does not cause serious financial problems for the rest of the country.
ACOSTA: "The Washington Post" is reporting that federal officials are considering protecting all uninsured deposits at Silicon Valley Bank.