FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
January 19, 2016
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At an event hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Tuesday, Donald Trump called for the Environmental Protection Agency to follow the ethanol volumes set by Congress in 2007 and to increase the volume of ethanol mixed into the nation's gasoline supply. "The EPA should ensure that biofuel... blend levels match the statutory level set by Congress under the [renewable fuel standard]," Trump said in a speech just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. The mandate has long been popular among Iowans, as 47 percent of the state's corn goes to ethanol production.

Trump's support came just hours after Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad attacked Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz for his opposition to ethanol mandates, which Cruz sees as an "unwanted subsidy to corn growers," The New York Times reports. "I'm convinced he may well lose this because of his stand on ethanol," Branstad said in an interview about Cruz's chances in the first-in-the-nation caucuses, adding that Cruz is "heavily financed by Big Oil."

Trump, however, says he's "100 percent" behind the ethanol industry. "Energy independence is a requirement if America is to become great again," Trump said, seemingly reading from notes in a departure from his usual animated manner of speaking. "My theme is 'Make America Great Again.' It's an important part of it." Becca Stanek

2:01 a.m. ET

To honor Bill Paxton, the star of Twister who died on Saturday, close to 200 storm chasers used GPS coordinates to spell out his initials on a map showing Oklahoma's stretch of Tornado Alley.

The Spotter Network came up with the tribute on Sunday, with its president, John Wetter, telling The Associated Press the group has done this for a handful of chasers, but never for someone not in the field. In Twister, Paxton famously played a storm chaser researching tornadoes in Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service also remembered Paxton, tweeting that Twister was "an inspiration to many budding meteorologists over the last 20 years. Thank you, Bill Paxton, a.k.a. Bill 'The Extreme' Harding." Catherine Garcia

1:37 a.m. ET
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Mel Gibson lost the Oscar for best director and Meryl Streep didn't win best actress, but they can at least cry into their swag bags, filled with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of random items.

This year's Oscars host, Jimmy Kimmel, and each of the nominees in the actor, actress, supporting actor and actress, and director categories received gift bags put together by Lash Fary. They were given so many products that they actually didn't come in bags — they were crammed into two large pieces of luggage. The most expensive retail item included was the $599 Oomi Intelligent Smart Home, the Los Angeles Times reports, which allows the A-listers to control their lights and security systems at home through an app. They also were gifted trips to Hawaii, Italy, Northern California, and the Golden Door spa; customizable Crayola crayons; an electric scooter; and a CPR kit.

None of this is sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and last year they sued Fary, alleging trademark infringement. Fary told the Times he makes it clear his gift bags, distributed by Distinctive Assets, are not affiliated with the Academy. He also revealed that only about 10 percent of nominees ever redeem the trip vouchers — in 2009, for example, Viola Davis, then nominated in the best supporting actress category, received a free African safari, Fary said, and she calls him every year for an extension. This is a marketing expense for the companies that participate, he said, as "we're not doing this as philanthropy. One of the questions I often get is, why are we gifting people who are rich and famous? Well, a gift doesn't have anything to do with a person's means or their bank account. And it's not exactly free, because the brands get to leverage the celebrities' names." Catherine Garcia

1:26 a.m. ET

President Trump and wife Melania Trump hosted 46 governors and their spouses at the black-tie Governors' Ball on Sunday evening, the first big social event of the Trump White House. President Trump appeared pleased with the night and his first month in office, telling the governors in his dinner toast that thanks to the first lady, the candle-lit "room, they say, has never looked better, but who knows?" He was also impressed with the turnout: "I hear this is a record number of governors, 46, and that's the highest number that has ever shown up to this evening." ("No fact-check was immediately available," The Washington Post said, perhaps a touch self-deprecatingly.)

"I can say that after four weeks — it's been a lot of fun — but we've accomplished almost everything we've started out to accomplish," Trump said, contradicting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. "The borders are stricter, tighter. We're doing a really good job. Gen. Kelly has done a great job, militarily," he added, referring to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. "We're very happy with the way things are working but, again, we've made a lot of promises over the last two years and many of those promises already are kept so we're very honored by that." He suggested the big topic for Monday's meeting with the governors will be health care, and ended by raising his glass of water. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:14 a.m. ET

Guess what, Anne Hathaway and James Franco? Your stint hosting the Oscars in 2011 is no longer the most embarrassing moment in Academy Awards history. That honor now goes to everyone involved with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announcing La La Land as the winner of the best picture award, rather than the actual winner, Moonlight.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, Beatty and Dunaway presented the Oscar for best picture. Beatty opened the envelope, looked at the card, then started rummaging around for another piece of paper. The audience laughed, thinking he was joking around, and Dunaway even urged him to get on with it and name the winner. He handed Dunaway the envelope, and she declared that La La Land won.

The La La Land team came up onstage and the producers had enough time to thank several people before the error was realized — Beatty and Dunaway had announced the wrong movie, and Moonlight was the real winner. After having to be told several times "this is not a joke," the audience whooped and cheered, host Jimmy Kimmel tried to smooth things over, and Beatty explained that the card he was given had said "Emma Stone" and "La La Land" and he "wasn't trying to be funny."

Entertainment Weekly writer Anthony Breznican later tweeted that accountants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers are "supposed to go onstage IMMEDIATELY if someone reads the wrong winner," and backstage, Stone told reporters she was holding her best actress envelope "the whole entire time." Eagle-eyed former teenage doctors shared images on social media showing Beatty holding an envelope that said "Actress in a Leading Role," and there are now more questions than answers — who set up Bonnie and Clyde to make it look like they wanted to rob Moonlight of its win? Are we sure Denzel Washington really lost to Casey Affleck? How does Russia fit into all this? Can I be in charge of the show next year? Catherine Garcia

12:31 a.m. ET
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The 2017 Academy Awards ended with a shocking twist, as Moonlight won the Oscar for best picture — despite presenter Warren Beatty announcing moments earlier that La La Land was the winner.

Beatty said the envelope he opened read "Emma Stone" and "La La Land," which is why he was confused and didn't announce the movie right away. Host Jimmy Kimmel joked that he blamed Steve Harvey, and at the end of the ceremony said he knew he would "screw this show up."

Stone did win the best actress award, and Manchester by the Sea's Casey Affleck received the award for best actor. Moonlight's Mahershala Ali won the Oscar for best supporting actor, while Fences' Viola Davis won for best supporting actress and La La Land's Damien Chazelle won best director. History was made several times over the course of the ceremony — Stone, Affleck, Ali, Davis, and Chazelle were all first-time winners, with Chazelle becoming the youngest person to win the award for best director and Davis the first black entertainer to win an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony for acting. Catherine Garcia

February 26, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel kicked off his introductory monologue at Sunday night's Academy Awards with some light, good-hearted political humor, noting that the Oscars are being broadcast not just in the U.S. but also "around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us." One of the least political late-night TV hosts, Kimmel got to President Trump eventually, but he started out with a soft target in the room. "I don't have to tell anybody, the country is divided right now," he said. "I've been getting a lot of advice, people are telling me it's time to bring everyone together, you need to say something to unite us, and let's just get something straight off the top: I'm not— I can't do that. There's only one Braveheart in this room, and he's not going to unite us, either. Mel, you look great, I think the Scientology is working."

In the spirit of bringing people together, Kimmel said he wanted to "bury the hatchet" with Matt Damon, kind of. "I've known Matt for a long time now. You know, I've known Matt so long, when I first met Matt, I was the fat one," he said, before mocking Damon for making a flop (Great Wall) and passing up the lead in the Oscar-nominated Manchester By the Sea. "Smooth move, dumbass. See, it's so easy to reach out and heal!" Then he made the first Trump joke of the night: "Maybe this is not a popular thing to say, but I want to say thank you to President Trump — I mean, remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?"

"It has been an amazing year for movies: Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz — that's what you call progress," Kimmel joked. And then he ribbed Hollywood: "We are very welcoming to outsiders here in Hollywood. We don't discriminate against people based on what countries they come from; we discriminate against them based on their age and weight." He ended by taking a moment to remind everyone in the theater that they were at the Oscars, many of them nominated for awards. "Some of you will be able to come up here and give a speech," he said, "that the president of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5 a.m. bowel movement tomorrow." Peter Weber

February 26, 2017

One of Jimmy Kimmel's signature segments on his late night show is "Mean Tweets," and just because Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are nominated for Academy Awards, he didn't let them off easy in his Oscars edition. In a pre-recorded bit, the La La Land stars and other celebrities read rude messages sent to them via Twitter, and while several were able to laugh them off — like Eddie Redmayne, who thought it was hilarious that @tahnight said he's the "scum between my toes" — others were not so keen (cough Robert De Niro). Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads