This Is Us Season 6 Episode 8 Recap: Big Three Homes

This Is Us Season 6 / NBC

The final Big Three trilogy on This Is Us is underway. First up is the oldest member of the trio, Kevin.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 8 Recap – “The Guitar Man

Stars Are Just Like Us

Kevin might be a successful actor, his true mission is to become a good father just like Jack. He decides to fly cross country with twins and take them to the cabin. Plus, he does it all… wait for it… without a many. See, stars are just like us! The flight is a disaster as both twins cry and poop the entire way there.

Cassidy And The Cabin

Upon arrival, Kevin and Nicky head up to the construction site to check on the progress. Kevin is greeted by Cassidy, who reveals that veterans are the ones working on the cabin project. Much to his dismay, Kevin learns from Cassidy that there has been a setback, which will push back the finish date. Due to his stress from the twins, Kevin lashes out at Cassidy. More on the fallout later.

Speaking of tables, Edie, Nicky, Cassidy’s son, Matty, Cassidy, Kevin, and the twins spend a fun evening together that includes dinner and Monopoly. Kevin apologizes to Cassidy for his outburst, and the duo is on good terms the rest of the night. They even share a few promising looks toward one another as they watch Nicky and Edie dance while Matty tries to play the guitar. Have we found love in a hopeless place?

The happy moment ends when Kevin receives devasting news about Cassidy, who injured herself in a car accident. At the hospital, Kevin is relieved when the doctor says she’ll be alright and they can visit her in the morning. But, Nicky knows that Cassidy is not ok both physically and emotionally. Nicky explains to Kevin how veterans like Cassidy never let you know when they’re not ok. War brings out the worst emotions in people, and those memories are never forgotten. Nicky suggests for Kevin to stay at the hospital, and just “be there” for his friend. No grand gestures are necessary.

While in the waiting room, Kevin begins to doubt his purpose in life, and questions if he will become a man who does the right thing. Kevin’s soliloquy ends when the doctor allows him to visit Cassidy, who is covered in bruises from the accident. Taking Nicky’s advice to heart, Kevin approaches Cassidy with a calming presence and says he’s here to be with her, not to ask her questions. Feeling comfortable to open up about the accident, Cassidy explains how she goes on drives late at night to calm her down. After a great night with Kevin in the cabin, she worried the happy feelings will go away so she stays up all night to avoid ending the day. Nicky, who understands exactly what Cassidy’s going through, arrives and consoles her.

Back at the cabin, Kevin starts to daydream about Jack and his father’s dream of starting Big Three Homes. Kevin runs the idea by Cassidy and Nicky and states his intentions to hire more veterans to build the house. As we know from the flash-forward, Big Three Homes and Kevin the Contractor will come to fruition.

The Deep End

In the past, an ambitious Kevin begs to swim in the deep end, but Jack says he must first learn how to swim before he can go off the diving board. In 1999, teenage Kevin heads to the same pool, which is shutting down, to drink a few beers and sulk over Sophie. Kate and Randall try to cheer him up, and Kevin foreshadows his future as a contractor by saying he doesn’t have a “foundation” and aspires to be like Jack who put a “roof over their head.” Who doesn’t love a good foreshadowing reference?

Also, my mom taught me how to swim at age 3. I was swimming in the deep end by age 4. I just wanted that on the record.

Next week is all about Kate. Maybe something good will happen in her marriage with Toby.

I doubt it.

What are your thoughts on last night’s episode of This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, at @danny_giro.

2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol 7: BAFTA And Critics’ Choice Storylines

The Power of the Dog

We’re almost there, everyone. The Oscars are just over two weeks away, but there’s still work left to be done with the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards. In a strange move, both the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice will air on Sunday, Mar. 13, which means we’ll have twice the amount of answers to apply to our Oscar predcitions.

The Double Up

As an avid fan of sports gambling, my friends and I have a term where you bet on one team – spread and moneyline – in the same game and win both. We call it “The Double Fuck.” For the kids reading at home, let’s call it “The Double Up.”

The BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards are the two biggest remaining barometers for predicting the Oscars. Final voting does not even begin until March 17 so these results have the potential to sway voters. If a film or actor can pull off the Double Up on Sunday, then it will be a lock to win the Oscar.

In the major categories, these are the films and entertainers with the best chances of winning twice on Sunday.

  • Best Film/Picture – The Power of the Dog
  • Best Director – Jane Campion
  • Actor – Will Smith
  • Supporting Actress – Ariana DeBose
  • Supporting Actor – Troy Kotsur/Kodi Smit-McPhee
  • Original Screenplay – Paul Thomas Anderson

If The Power of the Dog wins both the BAFTA and Critics’ Choice, it’s pretty much a wrap on Best Picture. Belfast at the BAFTAs and CODA at the Critics’ Choice are the biggest threats to the Dog’s Double Up potential. Selfishly, I would love for CODA, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed more than The Power of the Dog, to win the Critics’ Choice to make the Oscar race more interesting. Before Nomadland in 2021, the last film to win Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice, BAFTAs, and Oscars was 12 Years a Slave.

The acting categories can get a little weirder. The only true locks at both ceremonies are Ariana DeBose and Jane Campion, who will use both ceremonies to practice their acceptance speeches. The Kotsur/Smit-McPhee matchup is mirroring the Slyvester Stallone/Mark Rylance battle for supporting actor in 2015. Kostsur/Stallone is the acclaimed, feel-good performance while Smit-McPhee/Rylance seems to be the critics’ guild choice.

Every critical pundit and their mother are using the Chadwick Boseman/Anthony Hopkins analogy from last year to compare this year’s Best Actor race between Will Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch. To refresh your memory, Boseman was the heavy favorite throughout the awards season. However, Hopkins’ win at the BAFTAs propelled him to pull off the upset at the Oscars over Boseman. If Cumberbatch can win the BAFTA, then the analogy will gain even more traction. Plus, the BAFTAs like to take care of their own and Cumberbatch is an English man so you do the math.

I don’t care what happens to PTA this weekend as long as he wins the Oscar. To quote Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight, “It’s time.”

The First Streamer To Win Best Picture Will Be…

Though the winner is still up in the air, I can confidently say that Best Picture will go to a streaming service for the first time ever. Barring a last minute surge for West Side Story or Belfast, Best Picture will most likely come down to Netflix’s The Power of Dog and Apple TV+’s CODA. Netflix has been at the door the past few years, trying to get into the Best Picture club. Roma was the favorite going into the 2019 Oscars, but the Academy had other plans in Green Book. This year, The Power of the Dog is the clear favorite to win, and if it doesn’t take home the top prize, I’ll be shocked. If Netflix can’t win Best Picture this year, I truthfully don’t know if it will ever happen.

On the flip side, Apple TV+ started just over two years ago, and they’ve cracked the Best Picture category with CODA. The service has been steamrolling the competition at other awards’ shows thanks to Ted Lasso. If CODA does the unthinkable and wins Best Picture, expect a lot of changes to occur at Netflix in regards to their handling of prestige dramas.

Previous Discussions:

Which film wins the top prizes at the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me at, @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 7 Recap: Dramatic Thanksgivings

This Is Us / NBC

Three words: Beth was right. On last night’s episode of This Is Us, Beth correctly predicted that a Pearson Thanksgiving would include a lot of drama and tears. For her next trick, Beth will correctly predict the winning lottery numbers.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 7 Recap – “Taboo”

Sugar Pie

Thanksgiving brings people together, but it doesn’t always provide a good result. In a flashback, Rebecca and Jack host Rebecca’s parents, Janet and Dave, for Thanksgiving. Despite her hard work, Janet critiques the entire meal, specifically, the sugar pie because Rebecca made it without the secret ingredient. After Rebecca lashes out at her mother, SuperMan aka Jack comes to the rescue and calms both parties down. Jack tells Janet about how hard Rebecca worked on the meal. Janet reveals that she and Dave will be moving to Connecticut, and fears Rebecca will never visit her, which explains the backhanded remarks.

When Jack attempts to calm Rebecca down, he slips in the piece about the move, something Rebecca had no prior knowledge of. Jack’s gamble pays off as Rebecca and Janet apologize for their actions. Plus, Janet whispers something in Rebecca’s ear, which by all accounts, is the secret ingredient to the sugar pie.

Taboo

In another flashback, the Big Three are teenagers on Thanksgiving day. A drunk Kevin is depressed over the fallout from cheating on Sophie. Kate cannot stop her unhealthy eating habits as she puts on more weight due to her depression and insecurities. At least Randall is happy with Beth so there’s that.

In another edition of “will they or won’t they,” Rebecca invites Matt to dinner while Miguel brings Marguerite. Both Rebecca and Miguel try to undermine each other’s dates with half-ass compliments. Adding further fuel to the potential relationship is a spirited game of Taboo, where a spirited Rebecca gives Miguel personal clues for each word, much to the dismay of Matt, Marguerite, and the entire room. Rebecca and Miguel have a connection, but the entire room now questions if it’s friendship or romance.

After the game, Kevin tells Miguel about how Jack would be so disappointed in him to learn of his infidelity to Sophie. Kebin then turns the tables on Miguel, saying how his father would feel the same way if his best friend made a move on his wife. Inside the kitchen, Kate’s struggle with overeating is at an all-time high. However, the song “Kiss Me” from She’s All That calms her down, and she throws away the pie.

Rebecca and Miguel will eventually get together, but it won’t be today as Miguel tearfully shares the news to Rebecca that he’s moving to Houston for a new job and to be closer to his kids. They confess their feelings about each other, but Miguel tells her it’s time to move on, Rebecca retreats to her room and cries uncontrollably as Kate comforts her mother.

Mandy Moore’s Emmy Clip

In the present, the Pearson tribe heads to the cabin for Thanksgiving. With everyone under one roof, what could go wrong?

With the holiday comes drama, and the Big Three are back on their BS. Randall channels his TMZ photographer and captures every second of the meetup to cope with the fact that it could be the last Thanksgiving with a healthy-ish Rebecca. Kevin woefully plays the guitar to counteract his sadness about the twins’ absence, and later hurls an insult towards Miguel about the new cabin’s addition. Kate and Toby’s marriage continues to dissolve as they bicker over Jack’s food. Toby does not want Jack to gain an excess amount of weight like his parents while Kate never wants her son to feel ashamed about food the way she felt as a teenager. We’re one step closer to a divorce.

Eventually, the Big Three and Miguel are summoned to the table by Rebecca, which I’m calling “Mandy Moore’s Emmy Clip.” If Moore is nominated for an Emmy, look for this clip to be shown at the ceremony. Rebecca explains how her health will eventually deteriorate and that if she can’t make her own health decisions, Miguel is first to make the call followed by Kate. Rebecca then tearfully urges the Big Three to take big risks and live a full life instead of putting their mother’s health at the forefront of their decision-making.

Since she has been known to fight with her mother, Kate asks Rebecca why she picked her to make decisions about her health. With a smile on her face, Rebecca tells Kate that she is her best friend. In Rebecca’s mind, it was always Kate. Just like her mother did many Thanksgivings ago, Rebecca whispers something into Kate’s ear, which turns out to be the secret ingredient to the sugar pie.

Tune in next week for “The Kevin Show.

What are your thoughts on last night’s episode of This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, at @danny_giro.

Ja Morant Continues To Defy Gravity

Ja Morant NBA

The Memphis Grizzlies are currently playing in an NBA basketball game, which means Ja Morant has another chance to prove he’s not human. Once again, the superstar does not disappoint.

It’s an overused phrase, but we’re running out of words to describe Morant. Every time he steps foot on the floor, Morant is poised to do something that will make your jaw drop. If Dominque Wilkins is “The Human Highlight Film,” then Morant is “The Man Who Defies Gravity.”

6’3″ point guards typically don’t posterize centers on a nightly basis. But, those point guards aren’t Morant, the leader of a Memphis team that sits third place in the Western Conference at 43-20. After last year’s first-round exit as an eight seed, making it to a 6-seed this season would have been a vast improvement. Thanks to Morant’s play, the Grizzlies have a legitimate shot at a top-3 seed in the West.

Morant is more than just the flashy highlights. The third-year star is averaging 27.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, and 5.9 rpb with shooting splits of 49/34/75. The assists are down a bit from last year, but Morant’s points have increased by eight. His statistical improvements and team’s success are the reason why Morant is the huge frontrunner to win Most Improved, according to VegasInsider.

Like most NBA awards, it comes down to subjectivity and a narrative. Typically, most improved is awarded to players that make the jump from average to good. Previous winners like Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Pascal Siakam, and Victor Oladipo fit the bill. However, it’s rarely given to a player that makes the leap from good to superstar, which is arguably more difficult. Tracy McGrady is probably the closest example as he jumped from 15 ppg to 26 ppg during his MIP season. Morant should join McGrady in that category.

Morant’s rise to superstardom is unbelievable considering that nearly every basketball mind would have taken Zion Williamson over Ja in the 2019 NBA Draft. Now, Morant is the consensus number one.

Dear Basketball Gods,

Please protect Ja Morant.

From, NBA Fans

If you have any thoughts about Ja Morant, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol 6: Can Coda Win Best Picture?

Coda / Apple TV+

One of the most important checkpoints on the road to the Oscars is the SAG Awards, which aired on Feb. 27. Before the ceremony, I tweeted out one prediction.

As The Office’s Kevin Malone once said, “It’s just nice to win one.”

Can Coda Win Best Picture?

The movie that best represents the “little engine that could” this awards season is Apple TV+’s Coda, the story of Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), a teenage CODA (child of deaf adults) who grapples between pursuing her musical dreams or staying at home to support her family’s business. After winning the top prize at Sundance and finding itself on many “top 10” lists, the feel-good story added another chapter to its Cinderella run with a triumphant victory for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards.

Coda seemingly checks off a new “first” with every nomination and win. Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, and Daniel Durant, who play Ruby’s father, mother, and brother respectively, became the first deaf/non-hearing actors to be nominated and win a SAG. Kotsur also won Outstanding Supporting Actor earlier in the night. For the Oscars, not only is it the first film to be nominated with the majority of the starring roles played by deaf actors, but Coda will be Apple’s first film in Best Picture.

According to Goldderby, both the cast of Coda and Kotsur had the second-best odds of winning in their respective categories behind Belfast and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog. With the huge win at the SAGs, can Coda pull off the unthinkable and win Best Picture at the Oscars?

Coda‘s win at the SAGs completely shook up the race for Best Picture. While The Power of the Dog remains the favorite due to its 12 Oscar nominations, Coda now slides itself into second place ahead of Belfast, which lost a ton of momentum with its SAG loss.

There are a couple of things in Coda‘s favor. SAG winners for Outstanding Performance by a Cast went on to win Best Picture in three of the last seven Oscars. Two of those winners – Parasite and Spotlight – were considered upsets, and many cite the SAG win as the springboard it needed to win over voters. Kotsur’s Oscar nomination for supporting acting helps its cause because only three films (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Slumdog Millionaire, and Parasite) in the 21st century won Best Picture without an acting nominee.

From a worldly perspective, things aren’t so great in the world. Between a pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many are looking for signs of hope and happiness. Coda is a delightful, feel-good story that should play well with the Academy’s preferential ballot.

Two important ceremonies to circle: The Critics’ Choice Awards on March 13 and the Producers Guild of America Awards on March 19. Three of the last six best picture winners at the Critic’s Choice and Producers Guild went on to win Best Picture. If Coda can win the top prize at least one of these awards, it has a legitimate shot to pull off the upset at the Oscars.

Unpredictable Best Actress Race

Good luck predicting who wins Best Actress.

In things I did not expect to see, Jessica Chastain winning the SAG for Outstanding Leading Actress ranks at the top of the list. Chastain won for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye as the titular character. I will admit that I have not seen this film nor do I know anyone who saw it. However, Chastain is a well-respected actress who transformed into an unrecognizable person due to makeup and prosthetics, which is something that major guilds like SAG and the Oscars typically reward.

If you asked me three months ago who will win Best Actress, my pick would have been Kristen Stewart. Two months ago and I would have said Olivia Colman. One week ago and Nicole Kidman would be the selection. Now, is it Chastain? At this point, don’t count out Penelope Cruz as well.

With none of these films competing for Best Picture, this category is on an island. Your guess is as good as mine. As of March 1, my guess is Colman.

Previous Discussions:

What are your suggestions for the Oscars? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me at, @danny_giro.

Reacher Understands The Assignment

Reacher / Prime Video

Everything you need to know about Jack Reacher appears before the character says his first word six and a half minutes into the pilot. He’s a physical specimen – 6’5″, 250 pounds – that could have been better a defensive end than Lawrence Taylor. Reacher is highly-intelligent as he meticulously listens to every detail that comes from the mouth of Oscar Finley (Malcolm Goodwin), Chief Detective of the Margrave Police Department. The war medal in his pocket shows the audience that Reacher probably spent some time in the military, and the lack of luggage means he’s a no-nonsense type of man.

This silent assassin headlines Prime Video’s Reacher, based on the first book in the series from Lee Child, Killing Floor. In the opening scene, Reacher, played by Alan Ritchson (Blue Mountain State, Titans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), steps off a bus in the small town of Margrave, Georgia, and quickly becomes entangled in a series of murders that take over the entire community. After he learns about his brother’s involvement, Reacher teams up with Finley and Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald) to get to the center of the criminal conspiracy that spans beyond the borders of Margrave.

With the summary out of the way, let’s get down to the brass tacks. Reacher is a certified killer, and his body count throughout the first season rivals that of John Wick. Reacher is constantly the smartest man in every room, and he lets you know it. His first words in the series are “I don’t need a lawyer” after being questioned about the first murder in Margrave. The former major in US Army’s military police then explains why Finley should be looking for three shooters, not one, due to the complexity of the crime.

As someone who hasn’t read the novels, my pre-existing relationship with the character is nonexistent. All I had to go off of were the two Jack Reacher films starring Tom Cruise. The Top Gun star may be a giant movie star, but he’s not big in stature, standing 5’7″, which is nowhere close to the gigantic frame of the character. The series goes out of its way to emphasize Reacher’s size, most notably when he corrects someone who guessed his height as 6’4″ instead of 6’5″. From the reviews of the show, the Prime Video series is more faithful to the character than Cruise’s iteration.

Prime Video perfectly cast Ritchson for the role. He’s a big, strong, good-looking actor that doesn’t have to say much to carry a scene. It helps that Ritchson is 6’4″ and has experience playing “big guy” roles as Thad Castle in Blue Mountain State, Aquaman in Smallville, and Hawk in Titans. Even for his imposing stature, Ritchson still had to gain 30 pounds of muscle to play this iconic character.

Part of the show’s strength is its simplicity. Each episode follows the same script, which makes it extremely easy to watch. Reacher gets a lead on the case, kicks some ass, makes a witty joke about his kills, and finds the next clue that leads into the new episode. There’s no need to run to Reddit after every episode to search for Easter eggs. Critically thinking about the politics of the series or figuring out the overall message of the show isn’t necessary. Reacher knows it’s an entertaining whodunit with a badass leading man, and every episode leans into that premise. Creator Nick Santora understood the assignment. It’s the perfectly enjoyable version of “big dad energy.”

The commitment to stay true to the novels has paid off as Amazon renewed Reacher for Season 2. Amazon already came out and said it’s one of the service’s five most-watched series of all time. The service should lock Ritchson up for more action roles because he will be in high demand as the show’s popularity increases.

Reacher knows what its fans want, and delivers like a warm slice of peach pie.

Did you enjoy Reacher? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

The New York Knicks Make Me Sick

The best comedy act in the country occurs when the New York Knicks step on a basketball court. Seriously, I urge you to find something that provides more laughs to the US of A than the Knicks, especially when the team begins the second half of every game.

Just look at tonight when the Knicks faced their crosstown rival, the Brooklyn Nets. In the first half, the Knicks held a TWENTY-EIGHT (28) point lead against a team without its three best players – Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons.

Every single Knicks fan knew it was too good to be true. The fans know this team finds new ways to emotionally devastate us on a nightly basis. A case in point is my tweet below.

As Ramsay Bolton said, you haven’t been paying attention if you thought the Knicks would win this game.

Tom Thibodeau refuses to change his rotations. Without a point guard, the team can’t run any sets late in games. The offense forgets how to score in the fourth quarter. Julius Randle is the only one who wants the ball at the end of games, but he settles for too many tough jump shots. Stupid double teams on defense lead to wide-open threes for the opposition.

In other words, business as usual for the Knicks down the stretch.

Embarrassing, disgraceful, pathetic, sad – we’re running out of words to describe the Knicks. New York invents a new way to lose every single night. This was (in my best LeBron James voice) not the first, not the second, but the third time in 11 days that the Knicks have blown a 20+ point lead.

I believe that only one loss per season can truly break a fan. For me, that loss came against Portland last Saturday. That game broke my spirit and hope in humanity. Because of the loss to the Blazers, I found myself laughing through the pain against the Nets. You can’t “re-break” me, Knicks. As MJ said in Spider-Man: No Way Home, “If you expect disappointment, then you can never really be disappointed.”

At least I can hang my hat on the fact that Thibs continues to play the young guys like Quickley, Obi, Deuce, and Cam Reddish substantial minutes in order to further their development.

HA, good one, Dan.

Thibs even said that “everything is on the table now” in the postgame press conference. Hopefully, playing starters like RJ Barrett in the final minute of a game with the team down double-digits is removed from Thibs’s playbook. But hey, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Enjoy the all-star break. I know I will because the Knicks won’t have a chance to break my heart.

Comment below with your thoughts on the Knicks or tweet me at, @danny_giro.

2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol 5: Improving The Telecast

Oscars

Let’s travel to the future together. It’s March 28, 2022. The ratings for the Oscars come out, and the show managed to increase from 2021’s career-low 10 million viewers. However, the number of viewers was less than 2020’s ceremony, which accumulated 23.6 million. There will be multiple “how-to” posts all over Twitter, providing solutions on various ways to fix the telecast.

I’m beating those writers to the punch. I can’t fix the Academy, nor is it my place to do so. I’m interested in the telecast itself. For the second time, I came up with a few ideas to implement into future ceremonies.

Improving The Telecast

The Oscars need to remember that it’s a television show first and foremost. Rewarding incredible achievements and spotlighting the Hollywood elite, though important, is secondary to running an informative and entertaining broadcast. The days of 30 million viewers are behind us. Cinephiles like myself who love movies will always watch. The key is to figure out how to bring back the casual fan.

Move The Nominations To Primetime

Announcing the Oscar nominees on a Tuesday at 8:15 am ET/515 am PT is malpractice. Why haven’t entertainment journalists rallied together and protested against the morning announcements? Being nominated for an Oscar is life-changing, but it’s hard to generate excitement before most people drink a cup of coffee.

The nominations should be a one-hour primetime special on ABC. One or two hosts can announce the nominations throughout the hour. Create a panel of movie experts and entertainment journalists to live-react to the surprises and snubs. Conduct virtual interviews with nominees to generate excitement for one of the highest honors of their lives. Stream the special on Twitter so those without cable can take part in the action. Selfishly, it will be easier for writers (like myself) to blog about the nominations at a normal hour instead of the wee hours of the morning.

Cut The Check For A Host

Hosting the Oscars used to be one of the most prestigious gigs in Hollywood. Icons like Bob Hope, David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Chris Rock all hosted the Oscars. After the Kevin Hart controversy in 2019, there has been no host, and the show has suffered from three straight shows with an average of 20 million viewers, the lowest three years in 35 years.

Besides the Internet dragging a host through the mud for every little mistake in their past, the financial compensation to host is extremely low. Jimmy Kimmel said he was paid $15,000 to host. For a high-risk, high reward project that requires a lot of time and attention to detail, the Academy should compensate the host financially at a fair number. Maybe it’s not enough money to captivate an A+ list star, but it could attract an A-/B+ host to take on the challenge.

I would just like to put it on the record that I want to host the Oscars. If any member of the Academy reads this article and wants my services, please hit me up.

Best Picture Eliminator

Best Picture is the biggest award of the night that’s usually the last award announced*. Presenters will spotlight each Best Picture nominee throughout the ceremony with a short speech and clips. The clips can stay. However, I want to drum up even more anticipation for the greatest award. What if a few nominees were eliminated from the race at the end of each hour?

*Do NOT even get me started on last year’s decision to put Best Picture second-to-last and end the show with a picture of Anthony Hopkins because he wasn’t there to accept his award for Best Actor.

I call it “The Eliminator.” At the end of the first hour, a presenter announces the elimination of three to four films from the Best Picture race. At the end of the second hour, three more films are eliminated from contention. The plan is to have the final three going into the last hour. Halfway through the last hour, eliminate one more film so it gets down to two. Then, announce the winner from the remaining two films at the end of the night.

Don’t tell me this wouldn’t garner attention from those watching at home and those following along on Twitter. Tense eliminations work! Just ask American Idol, Survivor, The Challenge, The Bachelor, etc. Some might argue that eliminating films throughout the night will diminish their value. Who wants to come in tenth place in any competition? To avoid this, don’t announce the number of votes placed for spots four through ten. Don’t publicly rank the films from ninth place, eighth place, seventh place, and so on and so forth. Randomly determine which ones to eliminate for those first two hours. Only the order of the final three should matter. The crowd’s reactions to these eliminations will generate loud, viral reactions. Think of the memes!

Award Stunt Ensembles

Looking back, the most popular award was ahead of its time. #FilmTwitter begs and complains about the Oscars 24/7. I mean I’m literally writing an article about changing the telecast! You know what would bring in high ratings? Tom Holland and Zendaya accepting an award for Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The show needs popular movies featured in the telecast. If we can’t agree on the popular Oscar, then the next best thing is an award for stunt ensembles, similar to the award given at the SAGs. Rewarding stunt ensembles is long overdue. These daredevils deserve to be rewarded on the same stage where the actors they portray collect Oscars. Plus, it’s a good way to incorporate more action blockbusters into the ceremony.

Fan Voting For Non-Awards

The Oscars should be a celebration of the year in film for the fans. Without these fans, movies would never be made. It’s time to make their voices heard throughout the broadcast. The Academy will never let fans vote on the awards, which is fine by me. However, there needs to be a fan element to the broadcast. Fans should be able to vote on who they think will win each category. A ticker can run at the bottom of the screen to reveal the fan vote before the announcement for each category is made.

I’d also consider adding fun categories for fans to vote on like best dressed, best speech, the best performance of the year, the best film of the year, etc. Hold a prediction contest to see who can predict the most winners of the night and announce their name on the broadcast. There needs to be more social interaction between the host and the viewers. Make the audience at home feel like their opinion matters.

Start It Earlier

The Super Bowl is the most-watched event in the country and it starts at 6:30 PM EST. The Oscars are not the Super Bowl, but the ceremony should not air from 8 PM – 11 PM. Casual viewers are not staying up that late to watch. Either do it from 6:30 PM – 10 PM or 7 PM – 10 PM. Then, run a post-game interview show from 10 PM – 11 PM.

I’m writing this article as someone who adores this ceremony. I only want this show to thrive, not struggle, in the future. Here’s to an open mind.

Previous Discussions:

What are your suggestions for the Oscars? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me at, @danny_giro.

NBA Trade Deadline: Winners and Losers

Ben Simmons / NBA

Two words: this league! No league is more dramatic than the NBA. If you need drama, look no further than today’s trade deadline. The drama is continuing on TNT as we speak!

You couldn’t script funnier moments. Back to the trade deadline, here are my winners and losers.

Winner: Brian Windhorst

The MVP of the trade deadline is Brian “Windy” Windhorst. Make no mistake about it, Windhorst pulled his sword out and defeated the dragon that is Adrian “Woj” Wojnarowski. Yesterday, Windhorst firmly planted his flag on “James Harden Island,” saying the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers were “absolutely engaged in trade discussions.” He said it with conviction, and never waivered.

Naturally, most people waited for Woj to report on the issue, and Mr. Bomb essentially refuted Windy’s report on NBA Countdown.

In the Battle of the Network Reporters, Windhorst pulled the upset after Woj adjusted his story this morning. Good for Windhorst. It’s nice to see a reporter other than Woj and Shams break a big scoop.

Shams also defeated Woj in the number of trades broken. I expect Woj to head back into the lab and go on a revenge tour come free agency.

Loser: Los Angeles Lakers

In my best Randy Newman voice, “I (don’t) love LA.” The Los Angeles Lakers have LeBron James, who is averaging 29 ppg, 7 rpb, and 6 apg, and Anthony Davis, a top 15 player in the NBA, and yet, the team sits in 9th place in the Western Conference at 26-30. The Russell Westbrook experience has been a disaster. Signing Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza over Alex Caruso is the definition of basketball malpractice. The Lakers have a horrible cap situation, but with some creativity, trades could happen.

Spoiler alert: The Lakers made zero trades at the deadline. I’m sure they can secure a buyout player, but I would be shocked if L.A. makes it out of the first round especially if their opponent is Phoenix or Golden State.

Winner: Quitting

Winners never quit, and quitters never win. Today, the saying reads “winners never quit, and quitters can also win.” Ben Simmons refused to play for the Sixers this season after Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid called him out for his poor play against Hawks in last year’s playoffs. James Harden didn’t like Brooklyn so he mailed it in this past week and wanted out.

Kids, if you play in the NBA, refusing to play and mailing it in on the court will get you your way because that’s exactly what happened today. Simmons heads to a good situation in Brooklyn while Harden teams up with Embiid. Both of these players should thrive in their new situations. However, what’s to stop them from asking out if things don’t go haywire a few years down the line?

Loser: New York Knicks

I could spend forever on how the Knicks screwed this up so I’ll keep it brief. Today was a colossal failure for Leon Rose and the entire front office. The Knicks made z-e-r-o trades on a day where they had to make m-u-l-t-i-p-l-e moves. The De’Aaron Fox dream died when the Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton*. Ben Simmons was a long shot. Russell Westbrook was a possibility, but it never materialized.

At that point, all I wanted for the Knicks to do was to trade veterans like Burks, Noel, and Kemba for waivable players and 2nd round picks to clear up rotation spots for the young players. Did that happen? No. My guess is the front office believed the team had tradeable contracts on the roster. As it turns out, the league wouldn’t budge, and that’s an indictment on Leon’s poor off-season where he spent money on the three aforementioned players above as well as Evan Fournier. This is absolutely the worst-case scenario, and I’m very upset.

*If the Knicks did not contact the Kings about Haliburton, I’ll scream.

Quick Hits

  • Whenever I think the Knicks are hopeless, I always say to myself, “It could be worse. We could be the Kings.”
  • The Dallas Mavericks trading Kristaps Porzingis to Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans is puzzling. I understand why the Wizards make that move, but for Dallas, I’m struggling to come up with answers. Dinwiddie and Bertans are not on team-friendly contracts. Perhaps Dallas believes Brunson will leave in the offseason so therefore, Dinwiddie is guard insurance.
  • The San Antonio Spurs made multiple trades This ain’t your Duncan Spurs anymore, Pop.
  • Goran Dragic will be the best buyout option for contenders. Dallas is the frontrunner to sign the Dragon, but after the Dinwiddie trade, that might have changed. The Milwaukee Bucks should make an aggressive play for the Dragon.

Tell us your winners and losers of the NBA trade deadline in the comments below or tweet us at,@unafraidshow.

2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 4: BAFTA Nominations Reaction

King Richard / Warner Bros.

The BAFTA Awards announced their nominations this past Thursday morning. There were a lot of surprises, both good and bad, which will directly impact how predictions for the 2022 Oscars. Shall we travel across the pond?

BAFTA Nominations

If you love Dune, then you were jumping for joy as Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic led the field with 11 nominations as the film will be the frontrunner to pick up hardware in many technical categories. Oscar favorites The Power of the Dog and Belfast followed behind with eight and six nominations, respectfully. Click here to see all of the categories. Right now, I want to focus on the major categories especially the acting nominations.

Big Wins

  • Don’t Look Up in Best Film and Leonardo DiCaprio in Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Everyone in the Best Directing category besides Paul Thomas Anderson and Jane Campion
  • Will Smith for King Richard in Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Alana Haim for Licorice Pizza and Renate Reinsve for The Worst Person in the World in Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Mike Faist for West Side Story in Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Jessie Buckley for The Lost Daughter and Ann Dowd for Mass in Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Big Losses

  • No West Side Story in Best Film
  • No Steven Spielberg for West Side Story, Denis Villeneuve for Dune, or Kenneth Branagh for Belfast in Best Director
  • No Denzel Washington (!!!) once again or Andrew Garfield for tick, tick… Boom! in Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • No Oliva Colman for The Lost Daughter, Nicole Kidman for Being the Riccardos, or Kristen Stewart for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Keep in mind that Oscar voting ended on Feb. 1 so voters turned in their ballots before these nominations were revealed. However, the BAFTA results can have a direct impact on Oscar winners. Just ask Olivia Colman in 2019 or Anthony Hopkins last year, who both benefited from BAFTA victories in Best Actor and Actress on their way to upset wins at the Oscars in the same categories.

The Top 2 In Acting Categories

If you were on #FilmTwitter today, then the phrase “top 2” was being thrown around left and right. This is in regards to voting for two lead acting and two supporting acting categories. These are the rules straight from the BAFTA website.

The BAFTAs released longlists of 15 actors and actresses in each category back in January. From the pool of 15, the top 2 are nominated. Then, the jury will determine the final four nominations from spots 3-15 with a vote.

In simpler terms, think of this voting process like it’s American Idol during the deliberations. The top vote-getters automatically move on to the live shows. For the remaining spots, the judges would choose the wild cards from the rest of the pool, and they too would also advance to the Finals.

Why is this important? Although the BAFTAs won’t reveal the top 2, correctly guessing these two positions will help predict the Oscars as the top 2 selections will typically receive a nomination in their respective category. By some process of elimination, we can narrow down the answer as to who made the top 2 and make educated guesses.

As Matt Neglia and many other critics pointed out on Twitter, there are a select group of individuals who received nominations by four major guilds: Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the BAFTAs.

Let’s start with the easy decisions. Troy Kotsur, Kodi Smith-Mcphee, Caitríona Balfe, and Ariana DeBose have racked up nominations all over so it’s safe to say those four made the top 2 in the supporting categories.

In Best Actor, Benedict Cumberbatch is in all likelihood in the top 2 because of the eight nominations for The Power of the Dog including Best Film. It gets trickier with Will Smith. Smith might be the frontrunner for the Oscar, but he was probably saved by the jury while Leonardo DiCaprio made the top 2. DiCaprio’s biggest nomination to date occurred at the Golden Globes. That’s his only real nomination throughout awards season. If that’s the case, why would the jury save him? It makes more sense for DiCaprio to be in the top 2. Regardless, the voters loved his outburst on The Daily Rip, as did I.

Then there’s Lady Gaga, who definitely made the top 2 thanks to her nomination dominance these past few months. Who also made the top 2? Time for the process of elimination. Emilia Jones has received a lot of best new actress or rising star nominations, but rarely cracked the lead actress category so cross her off. Renate Reinsve is the lead in one of the best films of the year, but the film just opened in the U.S. so without big nominations in North America, cross her off. Joanna Scanlan is in a British film and the BAFTAs typically like to reward performances like hers despite little awards recognition so cross her off. Tessa Thompson is a nice surprise in this category, but her co-star, Ruth Negga, has gotten the bulk of the nominations in supporting so cross Tessa off.

This leads us to my best guess for the other member of the top 2, Alana Haim. First of all, fuck yes! I love HAIM, the band, so I almost fainted when I read she would be the lead in a PTA film. Haim is phenomenal in her debut film performance, and the voting body agreed as well. This gives me hope that Haim will sneak her way into Best Actress at the Oscars. You’ll never hear me shut up about it if Haim makes it to the final five.

All of these debates will end when the Oscar nominations are announced on February 8, 2022. Until then, predict away!

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