Author Archives: The Brave News

Sports: Hat Trick Mahomes

by Luke Garrison, Sports Editor

The Chiefs halted the league’s most dominant defense in recent memory to rally from 10 down, to win by 11. The Chiefs and the “Legion of Zoom” proved that they were the most dynamic and dangerous offense in win yesterday.

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Mahomes in all three playoff games this season has overcome large deficits, in all three games to become Super Bowl champions. He took down the Texans after trailing by 24 to win in the AFC Divisional round. In the AFC Championship Game, he overcame a 17 point deficit to propel his Chiefs to the Super Bowl. Finally, last night, he overcame trailing by ten to become a Super Bowl Champion.

For 3 quarters the 49ers had outplayed Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The 49ers were able to force him into two ugly interceptions early, and Mahomes seemed to be completely out of sync with his WR/TE core. However, Damien Williams put the entire team on his back and kept them in contention by running all over the Niners. Williams had his play of the game when he received a direct snap and was able to muscle down to the 1-yard line on fourth down to set up first and goal. Which later would result in a Patrick Mahomes rushing touchdown.

Mahomes, who won Super Bowl MVP, in the fourth quarter put on an absolute clinic. He didn’t even start to go crazy until there was just under 11 minutes left in the game. The Chiefs trailed by ten, and Mahomes then finds, Travis Kelce, on a play-action power play for six. The touchdown came with 6:13 left in the game. The Chiefs at this point cut the deficit by seven, 20-17 49ers.

Everyone expects to see the 49ers come out and run the ball down the throats of the Chiefs which had been working for them for the majority of the game. However, to everyone’s surprise, they came out throwing the ball. It worked for a few plays until the Chiefs defense tightens up and was able to put the ball back into Patrick Mahomes’ hands.

Mahomes marched back onto the field and did exactly what every 49er fan feared. That was he marched down the field and found Damien Williams for a 3-yard score, which put the Chiefs up 24-20. The 49ers then had the opportunity to go out and create yet another great moment for the books. Jimmy G had the opportunity to show that he was the guy and that New England had lost the future. This could not have been shorter from the truth.

Jimmy G goes out on the field, and right away over throughs Emmanuel Sanders, and then on 4th down, he throughs the ball away which results in a turn over on downs. This is the Super Bowl, he needed to at least through the ball up and hope one of your guys comes down with it. 49ers’ hands had their hearts ripped out, in one drive.

On the ensuing drive, Patrick Mahomes just hands it off to Damien Williams who would run into the endzone for the final score of the game, and Andy Reid finally got his Super Bowl.

Andy Reid, arguably the most liked person across the entire NFL, was able to finally overcome the hurdle of not succeeding in the playoffs and solidified himself as an NFL Hall of Fame coach.  The man known as big red, had his guy, Patrick Mahomes, and a defense that was able to get enough pressure that ended a 50 year Super Bowl drought. Andy Reid and the Chiefs, for the rest of your lives no one can ever tell you, you could not win the big one. 

Many people, however, are going to question until next season, if Kyle Shanahan is two far inside of his own head. Shanahan has now blown two second-half leads in the Super Bowl. The first coming in the infamous 28-3 comeback by the Patriots, in Super Bowl LI(51). The Second, coming last night against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV(54). 

All I have to say is the man to blame is Patrick Mahomes who was an absolute beast late in the game. Shanahan is a great coach he took a team that was not expected to succeed, and lead them to the Super Bowl. He was able to utilize every single part of his offense, he was able to get his Fullback, yes a Fullback a touchdown on a reception. Shanahan is innovative, and he comes from a successful coaching tree and a successful coaching bloodline. He will win the big one someday, and he will continue to have success in the NFL, as long as he does not listen to the outside noise.

To sum the entire game up, the better team won. The better coach, QB and WR/TE core won simple as that. The Chiefs are your Super Bowl LIV(54) champions.

A+E: Direct My Actions Not My Love

by Matthew Ruiz

When watching a romance movie, naturally they end in matrimony, but what about a movie that begins with a marriage ending?

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When watching Noah Baumbach’s New film “Marriage Story” Starring Scarlett Johansson as Nicole and Adam Driver as Charlie, it’s intense to see their marriage falling apart. It’s a tear jerker, frustrating, and funny film at times the plot jumps around and shows the audience the realism and heartbreaks of families going through a divorce. 

Nicole and Charlie are a very active couple who together have an eight year old child named Henry played by Azhy Robertson. They live in Brooklyn and both work in Charlie’s Film Theater. Nicole is a former Hollywood star, she’s very brave, competitive, infectious, and full of love. Charlie is a Director/Actor who’s a persistent man, self Sufficient, and a very good cook. As the film opens we see how each partner describes the other and we learn just who each of them are and what their internal feelings are before anything happens. 

What follows is rage and awkwardness between them. Happiness is a very inexpressible and a very special privilege to have within a family. When they split, they find a new look for themselves with Nicole finding her own path in going back to Los Angeles and doing her own acting there. Charlie on the other hand stays in Brooklyn, but he will soon be traveling back and forth from New York to Los Angeles. The aftermath shows the misery of getting a divorce, the Lawyers. Nicole and Charlie become pawns in a drama filled divorce case neither want to be in. 

Nicole goes with a very successful and well known LA Lawyer named “Nora”, who’s a published author and Lawyer. Charlie is stuck between two lawyers who want to crush Nicole and her lawyer in getting custody over Henry, while the other wants to go the safe route. If Charlie wants custody of Henry he needs to “Change the Narrative” and move the case to New York. 

The most irritating part of this movie is how both Nicole and Charlie are acting like dense and greedy children sometimes. With Nicole, she doesn’t want to tell Charlie the truth in terms of when things need to be done with the divorce papers, who is supposed to have Henry for special holidays, and ignores the fact that Charlie has a heart too, who just wants to spend time with his son. Yet Charlie acts like a child during their marriage. Charlie had an affair with the costume designer he works with, but the audience has to feel some sense of remorse or pity for the guy. 

He’s a hard working father that is trying to balance his family life, work, and divorce. The struggles he goes through and the position Nicole puts him in was hard to watch. Adam Driver did a phenomenal job of showing his emotions and bringing out the realization of being a single father, while also trying to direct a play on the other side of the country. Scarlett Johansson also did a good job acting like a mother but also acting like a “villain”. 

One of the most powerful and intense scenes in the movie is when Charlie and Nicole finally want to “talk” but what ends up happening they get into a really heated argument saying some threatening words and bringing up family members to compare to. The disconnection this family has is very well presented in this scene, and the hatred they both have for each other is incomprehensible. Charlie is in an emotional wreck and Nicole is already moved on and has found a new man. The case closed with Nicole winning and both parents have to share Henry every other weekend. This movie was very sad and depressing, and it was like a hard pill to swallow on how the reality of a hard marriage can be.

A+E: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

by: Joshua Lucero

Marking the end to a 40-year story arc that the world fell in love with, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released on December 20, 2019. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars series, was the sole creative director for the forever beloved, Episodes I-VI before selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012. Episodes I-III showed who the chosen one was prior to his fall to the dark side. The fan base was able to get to know Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi Knight versus his role in episodes IV-VI as Darth Vader. 

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Since Disney bought the franchise in 2012, the series has become nothing more, but simply a dollar sign to them. Episode VII gives followers a decent backstory for the new main characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Finn (John Boyega). The Trilogy first introduced to us with the main character Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is a force sensitive scavenger. She was abandoned as a young child, on a desert planet and was forced to live her life with no explanation of what she came from. 

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Episode IX is the final episode of the Skywalker legacy. This film is a prime example of what happens when money takes over a well-oiled franchise. The last episode of the Trilogy shows how Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is torn between the dark and light side. His goal is to find the sith planet Exegol and once he locates the planet he discovers Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who has been pulling all the strings from behind the curtains since Episode VII. When Kylo found this planet he swore his allegiance to the dead Palpatine and would go on a mission to find Rey and kill her to solidify his role in Palpatine’s empire. On this planet Palptine had a massive army of Imperial Star Destroyers that he commands at will. Kylo sets out to find Rey and kill her to be part of Palpatine’s rule. They eventually encounter each other and have a fight similar to the one from Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, which takes place on the Death Star ruins. During the fight Kylo’s mother, Leia, reaches out to him one last time before she dies. He gets distracted and Rey stabs him and escapes with Kylo’s ship to the planet Ahch-to. Kylo then gets persuaded back to the light by his father’s essence. 

Rey, now on her own, seeks to find out who her family… who she really is. During the midpoint of the movie she discovered she is of the Palpatine bloodline, the grand daughter of Darth Sidious. Further into the Episode, Rey and Kylo, who was turned to the light, with the help of the Resistance fleet, attack Exegol. During the siege on Exegol, the Resistance, in addition to the ships rallied by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), fight Palpatine’s army head to head. While the Resistance is holding the fight in the air, Rey and Kylo fight Palpatine and ultimately win with the cost being Kylo’s life. The film concludes with Rey burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers.  

This film lacked fluency, there was no real story connecting it to the other movies. There was seemingly no real preparation for this film. The main focus around the film was to bring Emperor Palpatine back to the throne. This does not make sense as George Lucas’ films intended that the emperor stay dead. There was no explanation on how Darth Sidious survived. He appeared out of the woodwork attached to some sort of life support machine keeping him alive. This is poor planning by Abrams and Chris Terrio because of the unlikeliness that Darth Sidious would have been alive if Lucas was involved in the film. It was almost like Abrams and co writer Chris Terrio took bits and pieces from previous films, the Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, added Palpatine, and hoped and prayed that it would stick on the wall somewhere. 

sw11This film lacked the “Star Wars umph”, there was no real connection to the film that made it meaningful, which it should have been, considering this is the end to an emotionally attaching series. This film was seemingly rushed to the point of desperation. They reached in a bag and pulled out whatever they found. Rey and Kylo’s “love” felt fake. It felt as if they were forced to love one another simply due to the fact that Rey was a Palpatine and Kylo was a Skywalker. It seemed they wanted a dramatic love story just like Padme and Anakin from Episodes II & III. They wanted something that was never there in the first place. Their “love story” was fake and did not connect well with the main story line. 

The ending fight scene between Rey and Palpatine as well another forced scene. Rey engaged in a fight with Palpatine, Palpatine struck with his sith lightning then Rey countered it by holding two lightsabers against the lightning. She pushed against the lightning and forced it back to Palpatine, killing him and all his Sith followers. There was no real battle between them and it was pointless how Rey would just push back the lightning and kill Palpatine. 

There is a lot that the filmed lacked to be called a true Star Wars film. Many, myself included, were disappointed on how this long line of emotionally jerking Episodes ended. This film was watched because it was the end of a Star Wars era that started it all. It lacked the family aspect that would be created from films that would be carefully constructed rather than be controlled by a dollar sign. There are some aspects of the movie that can be praised, such as the visual performances that involved with CGI and the actors themselves were very involved but other than these few drops of water this film went up in flames.

News/Op-Ed: Legends Never Die

by Robert Johnson

An athlete, pianist, writer, rapper, businessman, husband, and most importantly a father. Kobe “Bean” Bryant was a beyond talented human being, accomplishing more in his lifetime than being an NBA Megastar. 

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Born August 23rd, 1978 in Philadelphia, PA to Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. Kobe was born into a family of stardom with his father, Joe Bryant was a former NBA and overseas player. 

When Kobe Bryant was 6, his father Joe retired from the NBA to go play professional basketball in Italy where he played five seasons in a few different cities. 

In order for Kobe to adapt to his environment, he had to pick up the local language which was Italian in order to communicate with his teammates on the basketball court or soccer field. 

Later in life, Kobe learned Spanish, making him completely fluent in three languages. 

Kobe Bryant is extremely intelligent, graduating with a high school degree from Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. In Kobe’s adult life, he was mostly self-taught, learning the most from his life experiences. 

Kobe was drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School, into the NBA with the 13th overall pick of the 1996 draft. The team that originally owned this pick was the Charlotte Hornets who on draft day would trade Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers immediately for Vlade Divac, the 7’1 Serbian center. 

“Charlotte never wanted me,” stated Kobe in an interview in 2015. “They had a couple of guards already, a couple small forwards already. So it wasn’t like I would be off the bench much. “ 

This was the trade that would create a dynasty for the Lakers which would dominate most of the 2000s. 

Whether it was Shaq and Kobe or Pau and Kobe. Bryant proved himself to be a champion.  Kobe came into the league wanting to be his own man. 

“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” 

By the end of his career, Bryant cemented himself as one of the greatest of all times.

Having an NBA resume of accomplishments such as five NBA championships with two Finals MVPs, 3rd on the all-time scoring list (4th now, after recently being passed by Lebron James), 15 All-Star Game appearances, and 1 regular season MVP. 

With all of Kobe’s on-court accolades, some of his off-court accolades meant just as much if not even more. 

This list of off-court accomplishments, and the most important starts with his four daughters, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant,  Bianka Bella Bryant, and Capri Kobe Bryant. 

Many of Kobe’s fans were more concerned about him having sons that would carry on his torch, but Kobe was proud of being a “Girl dad”. 

“Without hesitation,” he said, “I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad,”  according to Elle Duncan. 

Bryant was heavily invested in being a family man. This is what made Kobe and Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant’s sudden death on January 26th, 2020 so impactful on the lives of people all over the world. Kobe was able to stretch himself out to several different age groups.

Everything that Bryant did was for his daughters. Which sadly would lead to his eventual death as he was taking his daughter to a Mamba Sports Academy game. 

After being a father, Kobe was an artist. 

Bryant enjoyed writing poetry, later taking his writing to the mic. Kobe has had several songs over the years. Songs such as “Kobe” with Tyra Banks, “Hold Me” with Brian McKnight, and “Say My Name” with Destiny’s Child. Bryant’s artistry didn’t stop here. He later found himself in the film industry. 

In 2018, Kobe Bryant was the first professional athlete to be nominated and win an Oscar. 

The Oscar that Kobe won was for “Best Animated Short Film” for his film “Dear Basketball”. 

Kobe Bryant’s artistry was second to none, setting the example of creative freedom that any athlete could possibly obtain in their lifetime. 

Bryant was also an advocate for youth sports, rebranding what was initially “The Sports Academy” that started in 2016 in the “Mamba Sports Academy” in 2018. A multisport training center for young athletes in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach, California.

Bryant’s daughter Gianna was often seen working, perfecting her craft at this academy. Enjoying the company of her teammates and the game. 

UCONN Women’s Basketball team recognized Gianna’s dedication to basketball from a young age, leaving a jersey with her number on a seat saved for “Mambacita”. 

UCONN has let it be known that Gianna is “forever a Husky”. 

The passing away of these two has left Los Angeles, along with Kobe and basketball fans across the world feeling lost. 

Bryant left behind his wife Vanessa and three other daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. A family that he dedicated himself to day in and day out. 

Not only was Kobe dedicated to his family but also his league. Kobe played twenty years in the NBA, making on-court rivals as well as off-court friends. 

There were plenty of heartfelt interviews from plenty across the NBA. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Jay Williams, and Doc Rivers have all sent their condolences to the Bryant family. 

On the court, these men have fiercely competed on the court or coached against Kobe. This was just another reason for them to respect Bryant even more so. 

Younger players across the league like Devin Booker, Trae Young, and Zach LaVine all look up to Bryant. Appreciating Kobe’s detail for the game of basketball. 

Many claim Kobe to be this generation’s Michael Jordan. This is false. 

Some people would say that Kobe Bryant is this generation’s Micheal Jordan. However, just like Kobe said himself, Kobe is this generation’s, Kobe Bryant. A champion in life and a legend whose legacy will never fade. 

 

 

 

A+E: The Mandolorian Offers a Fresh New Look at The Star Wars Galaxy

by Ryan Tavera

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, there was a lone gunslinger known as the Mandolorian, played by Pedro Pascal, first appearing on November 12, 2019, on the launch of Disney’s new streaming device known as Disney+.

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When Mando’s character was introduced, it is revealed that he is from a creed known as the Mandalorians, a group of people who are distinguished by their distinct armor and impressive combat skills. Mando is a bounty hunter for a living and takes up a job from a shady ex-empire official, who directs Mando to obtain an asset with the promise of a large fortune. 

Mando is helped by IG-11 a bounty hunter droid and Kuiil a resident of the planet, as they shoot their way through countless guards to obtain the target. As Mando slowly creeps up to the floating orb at the climax of the mission, his device begins to beep faster and louder. He opens the orb to find perhaps the show’s most talked-about character, the notorious Baby Yoda that has spread through the internet like wildfire. Thus at the end of the pilot, a worldwide obsession with baby Yoda was born.  

Since episode one, the story has been quite simple and easy to follow yet remains interesting and fresh. Mando returns Baby Yoda to the shady ex-empire official and claims his immense sum of rare Mandalorian steel named Beskar. Mando then fashions it into some bright and shiny new armor but decides that Baby Yoda is too adorable for him to let go so Mando returns to the ex-empire official’s hideout and picks off his guards one by one as he attempts to claim the child back. 

The plan doesn’t go so well and Mando is being cornered by a surplus of blaster fire. The music begins to rise, and a handful of powerful and elite leveled Mandalorians help Mando out so he can achieve his righteous quest of leaving with Baby Yoda to protect him. Mando and Baby Yoda leave, making countless friends and enemies along the way trying to protect the mighty yet minuscule Baby Yoda. 

In episode 4 “Sanctuary”,  Mando and Baby Yoda land on a remote planet named Sorgan which is sparsely populated, and perfect for hiding. The pair encounter an ex-soldier named Cara Dune (played by Gina Carano) who is taking refuge on the planet as well. They team up and talk to two villagers from a nearby town, who show up to ask Mano and Cara Dune if they can help defend their village from a club of raiders who keep terrorizing their home. Mando and Dune accept and help train the village in hand to hand combat along with how to shoot a blaster. The village succeeds in defending themselves from the raiders, but end up forcing the Mandolorian to desert the planet with Baby Yoda since their cover is blown. 

Mando grows as a character along with Baby Yoda who’s not the same vulnerable kid when we first met him. Baby Yoda begins to use the force in small bursts force choking Cara Dune and force healing Greek Karga.

The pair travels through the galaxy, and The Mandolorian ends up reaching out to his old friend Ran, who has assembled a crew consisting of ex-Imperial sharpshooter Mayfield, the Devaronian strongman Burg, the droid pilot Zero, and the knife-wielding Twi’lek woman Xi’an, to rescue Xi’an’s brother Qin. 

This episode takes a more horror movie type approach. The mercenaries turn on Mando and attempt to lock him in the ship to be captured. The plan doesn’t exactly work out though, as Mando breaks out in one of the most chilling shots of the show. The ship’s lights are blinking red, the sirens are letting out an eerie and nerve-racking screech, and Mando one by one hunts each of the mercenaries taking them out with stealth and precision. 

The last two episodes of the Mandolorian are easily the strongest, as the show concludes with a bang. Mando is called to help Karega’s town, which has been overrun by Imperial troops led by the Client, who is desperate to recover the child, baby Yoda. Karga proposes that the Mandalorian use the child as bait in order to kill the Client and free the town. In return, Karga will square things out with the Guild, which would allow the Mandalorian and the child to live in peace. 

Things don’t go so well and Mando, Greef, and Cara are surrounded by stormtroopers and death troopers commanded by Moff Gideon. Mando orders Kuiil to take Baby Yoda and leave the planet urgently. As Kuiil hustling back two scout troopers take off in an attempt to capture Baba Yoda.

I was on the edge of my seat as the music rises and Kuiil is running his hardest in his best attempt to protect Baby Yoda. The screen cuts to black and Mando’s voice fades over as he yells at Kuiil asking if he made it. Our view then pans over to Kuiil’s slumped over the body, only a couple of feet away from the ship, as scout troopers pick up Baby Yoda.

The season finale Chapter 8 “Redemption” is exactly what it says it is. While the Mandalorian, Dune, and Karga are trapped, IG-11 rescues the Child. Gideon gives them until nightfall to surrender, or he will order his troops to fire. The Mandalorian and IG-11 remain behind while Dune and Karga take the Child into the sewers. IG-11 removes the Mandalorian’s helmet to treat his injuries before they join the others in the sewers. 

As the group is escaping from the Empire’s grasp, they take an underground lava river where they find out they’re going to be ambushed by a large group of stormtroopers. IG-11 elects to sacrifice himself for their safety, and walks through the lava while self-destructing, succeeding in protecting the group. All the troopers are gone due to IG-11’s heroics, and The Mandolorian departs from the planet taking Baby Yoda, as the episode ends in redemption. 

Overall The Mandolorian is a breath of fresh air for Stars Wars fans and a good one at that. The show has many things going for it Baby Yoda, Mando, and the support of many Star Wars fans. I can easily recommend The Mandolorian to any Star Wars fan who is seeking for more content to satisfy their itch.

Sports: Former Brave Aaron Pico Stuns Crowd in an Exciting Night of Fights at Bellator 238

by Ryan Tavera

Bellator 238 saw Cris Cyborg, one of the most feared fighters, with another historic finish and former Brave Aaron Pico with a full head of steam and an intense finish to end the night.

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The main event featured Cris Cyborg defeating her opponent Julia Budd in the fourth round by TKO to win Bellator women’s featherweight title. 

The title was not easily won though as Julia Budd put up a very impressive fight against Cyborg. She was able to outmuscle Cyborg at times in the early rounds. By the third, though it was all Cyborg’s fight. She finished the round on top of Budd raining down blow after blow. And in the fourth, the Brazilian buzz saw kicked it into full gear and let loose with a brutal combo that left Budd toppled on the mat. It was a familiar finish for most fans of Cyborg who once loved to watch her in the octagon of UFC with similar excitable finishes. 

Post-fight Cyborg (22-2, 1 NC)  said she felt “really happy to have the opportunity to make history,” and has now finished 18 of her 22 victories by KO/TKO. Her only loss since 2005 was a knockout via Nunes in the UFC. Julia Budd who lost her title is anything but discouraged stating “I’ll be back stronger,” so it is clear that Cyborg has her work cut out for her if she wants to hold the featherweight title. 

The evolution of Aaron Pico continued on Saturday night as well with the 23-year-old prospect getting back in the win column with a vicious one-punch knockout over Daniel Carey.

Former Bosco student Aaron Pico left it all in the cage at Bellator 238 in what was an incredible display of power against his opponent Daniel Carey. Aaron Pico returned to The Forum, back home in the Los Angeles area, looking to shake off back-to-back knockout losses. 

Aaron Pico was a former wrestler at St. John Bosco, where he beat his opponent Paul Fox in 2013 to win the CIF State Championship for 132lbs. Pico continued his love for martial arts by joining the US National freestyle wrestling team when he qualified for the Olympic trials in 2016 at 19 years of age. No teenager had made the freestyle National team for 40 years. 

Pico is currently 5-3 coming of his last fight with a win. Pico headed into the fight with a full head of steam, he seemed more patient this time around and displayed all that he had to offer. 

Pico’s grade-A wrestling made an appearance in the first round followed by accurate striking and powerful blows that ended the night in the second. Only 15 seconds into the second round Aaron Pico saw his opportunity and struck quick and powerful in a single left-hand that took Daniel Carey off his feet and on the mat.  

In Picos post-fight interview he seemed ecstatic about his victory and noted he felt “very very humbled I’m very happy, I’m happy that’s all I can say.” This victory does not come without sacrifice though as Pico wanted to let his opponents know just how hard he works.

“I just want to let my opponents know when they’re feeling lazy and I don’t want to do this just know that I’m in Albuquerque and I’m training every day that I wake up so just know that,” says Pico.

Pico is definitely one of the hardest workers in MMA and we will look forward to seeing his career continue to play out.

The full results of the Bellator 238 card went down like this thanks to Sherdog.

A+E: Oscar 2020 Predictions and Story Lines

By Timothy Levine, Executive Editor

With the Oscar Nominations being released this last Monday, the buzz for the Academy Awards has gone into full swing with as much excitement as there is controversy.

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One of the biggest disappointments of the nominations is that there is not a single woman nominated in the Best Director category. With the Golden Globes having the same outcome in their nominations for this category, I did not anticipate the Oscars to follow suit. While I’m impressed with the current field and feel that none of the nominees are undeserving, there were many great female directors this past year in Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), and Lulu Wang (The Farewell), just to name a few. 

Another problem I personally had of the nominations was the complete shut out of Uncut Gems from any of the categories. While I found this movie to be quite polarizing in opinions, I thought it was one of the best films of the year and deserving of some recognition. I especially feel bad for Adam Sandler, who is not normally known for Oscar-worthy performances but delivered the best performance of his career and one of the best performances of the year in general.

The Academy Awards still did surprise me in a few positive ways as well. I knew Joker was definitely going to at least grab a few nominations, I did not expect it to completely dominate with eleven nominations in total. This makes it the most nominated movie of the year and also the most nominated “comic-book” movie of all time. Another great surprise comes in the form of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite grabbing six nominations including Best Picture and Best Director for Bong Joon-ho. This was probably my favorite movie of the year and while I did at least expect a foreign film nomination, I did not expect it to be a serious contender in categories where foreign films rarely get recognition.

With all things considered, here are some predictions into who I feel will win and who I want to win some of the major categories that will be announced on February 9th at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

The Best Picture nominees are Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Parasite.

This is always my favorite category when it comes to the awards season and this year’s race seems to be one of the most competitive in recent years. I could see this going a few different ways, but my favorite and the movie I hope wins is Parasite. It is Korea’s first Best Picture nomination, but I feel that it is simply just going to stay as a nomination, as I just can’t see critics and voters being drawn in numbers to a foreign film, especially with movies from Tarantino and Scorsese in the mix. I also do not see Joker winning in this category, because it has not won the best picture award at any of the major shows and I can’t see the academy ready for a comic-book movie to win the grand prize. My prediction here goes to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as movies based on the movie industry tend to have a slight edge and while 1917 won the Golden Globes, I don’t see it gaining enough support when movies are not split up between comedy and drama.

The Best Director nominees are Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Todd Phillips for Joker, Sam Mendes for 1917, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Bong Joon-ho for Parasite.

This is going to be another seriously competitive category with Scorsese and Tarantino being clear frontrunners that come to mind. Again, Sam Mendes did win the Golden Globe award for Best Director, but I believe the Oscars will stick with more traditional staples and give Scorsese the win for The Irishman. I also like Bong Joon-ho to win the award, but I can’t picture any wins for Parasite outside of the foreign film category.

The Best Actor nominees are Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory, Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Adam Driver in Marriage Story, Joaquin Phoenix in Joker and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes.

I don’t see how this award can go to anyone but Joaquin Phoenix and he is my personal choice to win as well. No one else has really been in the discussion and Phoenix has swept the best actor at all other award shows.

The Best Actress nominees are Cynthia Erivo in Harriet, Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story, Saoirse Ronan in Little Women, Charlize Theron in Bombshell, Renée Zellweger in Judy.

Zellweger has to be the clear favorite here and my prediction to win the award as she has won the most awards including a Screen Actors Guild Award this past weekend going into the Oscars, however, I think Cynthia Erivo’s performance in Harriet is definitely more than worthy of the award.

The Best Supporting Actor nominees are Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes, Al Pacino in The Irishman, Joe Pesci in The Irishman and Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Continuing with the trend of these acting awards having clear favorites, this can’t go to anyone else other than Brad Pitt. While I thought Pacino and Pesci were both phenomenal, since they are in the same movie, it’s going to be hard to gain enough votes for one of them. 

The Best Supporting Actress nominees are Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell, Laura Dern in Marriage Story, Scarlett Johansson in Jojo Rabbit, Florence Pugh in Little Women and Margot Robbie in Bombshell.

Scarlett Johansson has had herself an incredible year with nominations in both acting categories. I think she has a better chance to win this one with her performance in Jojo Rabbit, but I think Laura Dern will continue to win this award season following her Golden Globe and SAG award.

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