Battle Royale: The Last Generation Of An SNES-CD Saga

The Amazing Race, Season 22
The Amazing Race: Season 22: Expressly twice.

This season was, for many, a bit of a mixed bag. But I'll get into that at the end. The one change that needs to be mentioned is that the team who wins first place in the first leg gets two Express Passes: one they keep, the other they have to give away before the end of the fifth leg.

This season was filmed between mid-November to early December 2012.

The Cast

Dave and Conner: Father and son cancer survivors. Honestly, they are an ok team.

Joey and Meghan: YouTube hosts. These two are extremely annoying.

Bates and Anthony: Hockey brothers. Goofiest team this season.

Caroline and Jennifer: Friends and Country singers. Caroline is a direct descendant of Daniel Boone and Jennifer is John Wayne's granddaughter.

Max and Katie: Newlyweds. Good people if a little over bearing, even for a villain team.

Jessica and John: Dating. John is a little too overconfident, which nearly costs them the race.

Chuck and Wynona: Married couple. They are alright.

Pam and Winnie: Best Friends. Smart people and funny.

Idries and Jamil: Twin doctors. Make too many mistakes on the show.

Mona and Beth: Roller Derby moms. They are athletic enough for the show.

Matt and Daniel: Firefighters. Another team competing for their families.

The Race

Leg #1: "Business in front, party in back."

Original Air Date: February 17, 2013.

Starting at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, teams get $200 and instructions (via a recorded message in their Ford Fusions) to fly to Bora-Bora, French Polynesia. On arrival, teams are immediately confronted by a Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to sign up for one of six helicopter flights, each with enough room for two racers. Once they get to 10,000 ft they will tandem skydive with an instructor, back to their partner on the ground in Anau.

Teams then make their way to Eden Beach, where they find a second Roadblock. In this Roadblock, the team member who didn't do the first Roadblock has to dig through 400 sandcastles for their next clue. If the sandcastle doesn't have a clue they have to rebuild the sandcastle. Then teams have to build an outrigger canoe and paddle to the Pit Stop: Motu Cafe.

1. Jessica and John 9:52 A.M. Won two Express Passes.

2. Dave and Connor 9:58 A.M.

3. Bates and Anthony 10:04 A.M.

4. Caroline and Jennifer 10:22 A.M.

5. Pam and Winnie 10:43 A.M.

6. Mona and Beth 11:11 A.M.

7. Joey and Meghan 11:34 A.M.

8. Chuck and Wynona 12:00 P.M.

9. Max and Katie 12:15 P.M.

10. Idries and Jamil 12:36 P.M.

11. Matt and Daniel 1:01 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #2: "Just between us."

Original Air Date: February 24, 2013.

Getting $150, teams are told to search the immediate area for a Polynesian priest who will bless them then give them their next clue. Teams then go to Povaie Bay for the Detour: Pick a Pearl or Take a Trunk. In both Detour options, team have to take a snorkel and mask. In Pick a Pearl, teams have to go to a point a half mile off shore and dive to get at a line of pearl oysters. Then they have to shuck them until they find two red pearls. In Take a Table, teams have to wear diving helmets, dive underwater and then take a trunk and unpack a table and set it up at an underwater umbrella.

Teams then got back to shore, gat a personal water craft and get to Motu Tapu. This is where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to use a pair of stilts to walk down the beach while kicking a coconut for 35 yards. If they fell off they have to go to the starting line again. Then teams can walk to the nearby Pit Stop.

1. Dave and Connor 10:15 A.M. Won a trip for two to London.

2. Bates and Anthony 10:35 A.M.

3. Meghan and Joey 11:01 A.M.

4. Caroline and Jennifer 11:13 A.M.

5. Mona and Beth 11:33 A.M.

6. Jessica and John 11:34 A.M.

7. Chuck and Wynona 11:45 A.M.

8. Pam and Winnie 12:03 P.M.

9. Max and Katie 12:16 P.M.

10. Idries and Jamal 12:43 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #3: "James Bond all over again!"

Original Air Date: March 3, 2013.

Getting $190, teams have to fly to Christchurch, New Zealand (which looks great. Of course, this was filmed before the earthquake that effected the area happened). Once there, teams have to pick a Ford Focus and drive to Rakaia River Gorge and spend the night there. The next morning teams have to cross the river and get the Detour: Rev It Up or Reel It In. In both Detour options, teams have to get there by ATV. In Rev It Up, teams have to drive a modified vintage car through a set of cones under 83 seconds, combined. In Reel It In, teams have to use a rod and reel to fish for a 12 inch long fish. For this one, if one team member catches the fish the task is complete.

Teams then go to Mount Hutt Station, where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to complete an obstacle course known as a Shemozzle. The team member has to dress in gum boots, a pair of stubbies shorts and a burlap sack, then with a farmer and a sheep dog, run the course where they are cover in molasses and feathers, climb over hay bales then rode an inner tube into a pile of manure all while collecting chicken eggs. If they put 12 unbroken chicken eggs into the basket at the end of the course they get the clue to the Pit Stop: Terrance Downs, where they are told to keep going.

1. Jessica and John 10:43 A.M. Won a trip for two to Bangkok.

2. Dave and Connor 10:49 A.M.

3. Pam and Winnie 11:02 A.M.

4. Bates and Anthony 11:10 A.M.

5. Caroline and Jennifer 11:35 A.M.

6. Joey and Meghan 11:56 A.M.

7. Mona and Beth 12:05 P.M.

8. Max and Katie 12:34 P.M.

9. Chuck and Wynona 12:58 P.M.

Leg #4: "I love monkeys!"

Original Air Date: March 10, 2013.

Getting $200, teams have to fly to Bali, Indonesia. On arrival, teams, after a brief unaired stop at Kenanga Terracotta Restaurant, teams go to Ubud Monkey Forest. Here teams put a coconut where a monkey can get to it and they open it to get teams the Detour: Sandy Bottom or Fruity Top. In Sandy Bottom, teams have to dredge the bottom of the Ayung River for volcanic sand and then drag it 200 yards up hill to fill a container to a certain line. In Fruity Top, teams have to dress in sarongs and then prepare an offering called a gebogan carry it in a procession to the Pura Desa Puseh Temple in Batuan and put it on the altar.

Teams then go to Uluwatu Beach and find Ketut's Surf Shop. There they find the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to search through the surf boards for one with an image of a Tahitian priest on it. Then they find their partners and head to the Pit Stop: Pura Luhur Uluwatu Cliff. If they're right, they can check in.

1. Pam and Winnie 3:03 P.M. Won $5,000 each.

2. Dave and Connor 3:15 P.M.

3. Caroline and Jennifer 3:45 P.M.

4. Max and Katie 4:02 P.M.

5. Mona and Beth 4:16 P.M.

6. Joey and Meghan 4:34 P.M.

7. Bates and Anthony 5:01 P.M.

8. Jessica and John 5:13 P.M

9. Chuck and Wynona 5:44 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #5: "That's a pretty cool tan."

Original Air Date: March 17, 2013.

Getting $250, teams fly to Hanoi, Vietnam. Once there, teams have to make their way to the Rap Cong nhan Theatre Gallery 42, where they find the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to watch a performance of a patriotic Vietnamese song and at the end memorize a phrase that translates to Glory to our young generation in English. Then they have to search outside the theatre for the right propaganda poster with that phrase on it, amongst several wrong ones, without taking notes, in five minutes. If they are wrong, or run out of time, they have to sit through the performance again. Teams then go to Cong vien Thong Nhat and participate in a traditional bamboo dance called mua sap to get the Detour: Make You Move or Make Your Meal.

In Make Your Move, teams have to get to the Temple of Literature and put human Chinese chess pieces, with matching symbols on them, into place according to a nearby diagram. In Make Your Meal, teams have to pick up the ingredients for pho and then take them to Ngoc Son Temple and prepare two bowls of it. Teams then go to a Vietnam War Memorial: a downed American B-52 for the U-Turn. The memorial caused a minor bit of controversy, along with the song that was performed for the Roadblock, among conservative groups as well as various veteran's groups, which the show did apologize for. Anyways, no one U-Turns anybody and teams go to the Pit Stop: The National Museum of Vietnamese History.

1. Pam and Winnie 10:15 A.M. Won a trip for two to Whistler, B.C.

2. Dave and Connor 10:34 A.M.

3. Jessica and John 11:01 A.M.

4. Caroline and Jennifer 11:03 A.M.

5. Bates and Anthony 11:19 A.M.

6. Max and Katie 11:45 A.M.

7. Joey and Meghan 12:12 P.M.

8. Mona and Beth 12:23 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #6: "The scorpion master!"

Original Air Date: March 24, 2013.

Receiving $210, teams go to the Hair of the Dog Bar for an unaired task involving dancing. No idea of the specifics. Teams then fly to Maun, Botswana where they have to sign up for a charter flight to the Xhumaga Airstrip in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Once there they have to pick a Bushman who will accompany them for the rest of the leg. Teams then go to one part of Old Xhumaga Road where they run into the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to follow a Bushman to a hole where they are taught how to dig up a scorpion and place it safely in a jar.

Teams then have to go to another part of the Road with their Bushman where they run into the Detour: Fire or Fowl. In Fire, teams have to create a fire using two sticks, some zebra manure and grass. In Fowl, teams have to set up a trap for a guinea fowl and, once it's properly set, imitate the call of the guinea fowl to catch one. Teams then go to the Pit Stop: Meno A Kwena Safari Camp.

1. Jessica and John 1:21 P.M. Won a trip for two to Phuket, Thailand.

2. Bates and Anthony 1:23 P.M.

3. Dave and Connor 1:43 P.M.

4. Pam and Winnie 2:13 P.M.

5. Caroline and Jennifer 2:27 P.M.

6. Joey and Meghan 2:56 P.M.

7. Max and Katie 3:07 P.M. NOT ELIMINATED/SPEEDBUMPED.

Leg #7: "Please don't hit anything."

Original Air Date: March 31, 2013.

Getting $250, teams travel to Makoro Poling Station in Boro Village. Here Max and Katie get their Speedbump. In this Speedbump, Max and Katie have to complete a traditional beaded skirt and wear it during a ceremonial seduction dance. The Fast Forward is here too. In this Fast Forward, teams have to water ski for over a mile in the Okavango Delta through crocodile infested waters. Bates and Anthony get it. Teams also did the Roadblock here. In this Roadblock, one team member had to punt their teammate and two goats to a delivery point down river and then return to the start once the goats were dropped off.

Teams then head to, and cross using "Safari Taxis", the Thamalakane River to the Royal Tree Lodge Game Preserve where they find the Detour: Brains or Brawn. In Brains, teams have to go on a horseback safari and spot ten wooden cutouts of animals: zebra, African buffalo, kudu, giraffe, meerkat, boomslang snake, leopard, warthog, ostrich and hippopotamus with a heron. Then they have to get to a nearby campsite where they have to arrange a set of tiles in the order that they saw the animals (with many animals they didn't see, no tile for the hippopotamus but one for the heron). If they don't arrange the tiles in the right order they have to do it all over again. In Brawn, teams have to fill a traditional sand sledge with fire wood, then use a carrot to lure the donkey pulling it to a camp 1/2 a mile away. Then teams have to search the Preserve for the Pit Stop.

1. Bates and Anthony 10:10 A.M. Won $7,500 each.

2. Dave and Conner 12:36 P.M.

3. Caroline and Jennifer 12:54 P.M.

4. Jessica and John 1:06 P.M.

5. Pam and Winnie 1:22 P.M.

6. Joey and Meghan 1:43 P.M.

7. Max and Katie 2:13 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #8: "My cheese is out of control."

Original Air Date: April 14, 2013.

Receiving $270, teams fly to Zurich, Switzerland. Once there, teams have to search the airport of a conductor in a red hat. He gives them the clue to go to Grindelwald by train and wait at the Kirche Grindelwald for a shepherd. The clue he gives them tells them to get to Kleine Scheidegg by train and go to the Hotel Bellesvue des Alpes and get a rescue dog. They must take the dog by train (I know a lot of train travel in this one) to Jungfraujoch and give it to a handler. Then they must search the Sphinx Observatory for the next clue.

Teams then head by train to the Eiger Mountain and head up it to get to the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to put on a safety harness climb out onto the ledge on the north face of the mountain and pick up a Travelocity Roaming Gnome and bring it back in. No Detour this leg. Teams then head to Grund where they cross a bridge and listen to an Alpine horn to get to perform a Switchback task. In this Switchback, teams have to bring four 50 pound wheels of cheese from the top to the bottom of a hill using the provided sleds. They may not roll the cheese at any time. Teams then head to the Pit Stop: Bodmi Snowboard and Ski School.

1. Bates and Anthony 2:01 P.M. Won a trip for two to Bora-Bora.

2. Pam and Winnie 2:15 P.M.

3. Dave and Connor 2:16 P.M.

4. Jessica and John 3:24 P.M.

5. Caroline and Jennifer 3:49 P.M.

6. Joey and Meghan 4:59 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #9: "This is crazy, man."

Original Air Date: April 21, 2013.

On getting $200, teams have to go by train from Interlaken to Basel, Switzerland then fly to Dresden, Germany. On arrival, teams have to go to the Saxony Ministry of Finance and pick up a 2013 Ford Fusion. Their next clue comes in the form of three questions: 1. Who said "Tear down this wall?" 2. Who did he say it to? and 3. Where did he say it? The answers are: Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Brandenburg Gate. At the Gate, teams are told to go to Park Inn Berlin, where they BASE jump from its roof. Then teams get the Detour: Train Trials or Font Follies.

In Train Trials, teams go to the Deutsches Technikmuseum and put together a model train track using all the pieces to complete the circuit. After the train completes a circuit without falling apart, derailing or hitting the scenery, they get the next clue. In Font Follies, teams have to go to Alexanderplatz, pick up two large neon letters and deliver them, on foot, to the Bundestabenmuseum, without damaging them. Then teams go to the Salon Zur Wilden Renate for the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to answer the question "who said 'Ich bin ein Berliner'?" and then enter an indoor labyrinth beneath the night club and look for their clue. Teams then go to the Pit Stop: Joachimsthaler Platz.

1. Pam and Winnie 3:12 P.M. Won a 2013 Ford Fusion each.

2. Jessica and John 3:45 P.M.

3. Caroline and Jennifer 4:03 P.M.

4. Dave and Connor 4:36 P.M.

5. Bates and Anthony 5:13 P.M. NOT ELIMINATED/SPEEDBUMPED.

Leg #10: "Working our barrels off."

Original Air Date: April 28, 2013.

Getting $120, teams have to fly to Edinburgh, Scotland. Once there, teams have to pick up a Ford Fiesta and drive to Gosford House, where they find the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to dress in the uniform of the Royal Scots Regiment and learn how to play a drone on the bagpipes. Then they have to hold the drone for two minutes while walking around Gosford House's Marble Hall. Teams then have to head to Craigmiller Castle where Bates and Anthony hit their Speedbump.

In this Speedbump, Bates and Anthony have to play a British version of 10 pin bowling called skittles. Once they both hit a strike, they can search the Castle fireplaces with the other teams for the Detour: Tasty Puddin' or Whisky Rollin'. In Tasty Puddin', teams have to go to the Sheep Heid Inn in Duddingston and make four portions of haggis, while a Robert Burns impersonator recites Address to a Haggis to them. After they eat a bit of haggis, they get the next clue. In Whisky Rollin', teams have to roll eight barrels of whisky up a slope to a party. Teams then head to Duddingston Kirk where the Double U-Turn is. Bates and Anthony U-Turn Jessica and John. No one U-Turns anyone else. Then teams head to the Pit Stop: Niddry Street South.

1. Pam and Winnie 3:14 P.M. Won $10,000 each.

2. Dave and Connor 3:56 P.M.

3. Bates and Anthony 4:39 P.M.

4. Caroline and Jennifer 4:44 P.M.

5. Jessica and John 5:03 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #11: "Beacon of Hope." Part I

Original Air Date: May 5, 2013.

Receiving $150, teams go by train and ferry to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Once there they have to go to Peatlands Park where they find the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to go Bog Snorkeling. After putting on full snorkel gear, have to swim through a bog for a 100 yard lap in under four minutes. Teams then have to find the "Thing with the Ring" and have to figure out it's the Beacon of Hope. There teams find the Detour: Tray it or Spray It.

In Tray It, teams have to go to the dry-dock in the Titanic Quarter and prepare and serve a five course meal, using a period menu and a seating chart (though the seats themselves are unmarked in practice). In Spray It, teams go to the T13 Skatepark and, using a photo, complete a graffiti painting. Then teams head to the Pit Stop: Ulster Hall.

1. Bates and Anthony 2:22 P.M. Won a trip for two to the Dominican Republic

2. Dave and Connor 3:10 P.M.

3. Pam and Winnie 3:31 P.M

4. Caroline and Jennifer 4:02 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #12: "Beacon of Hope." Part II

Original Air Date: May 5, 2013.

Getting $200, teams go by ferry to Liverpool, England. Then they travel by train to London's Euston Station. Teams then have to go to the Euston Tap, where they drink a pint before going to their final destination city: Washington D.C. On arrival, teams have to go to the place where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech: the Lincoln Memorial. There they find a man standing where Dr. King stood who will give them their next clue. Teams now have to go to 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue where a "Secret Service agent" will take them to get a picture taken with President Huntsman. In reality, their photo is superimposed onto someone meeting with President Huntsman. Teams then have to go to the Tidal Basin, where they have to search for limo and knock on the rear window three times to get a briefcase and their next clue. It's the Roadblock.

In this Roadblock, one team member has to search the surrounding area for one of 50 spies who will use a code phrase in response to their code phrase (Pam and Winnie: "Where can I get a Half-smoke with chili?"/"I know a great place on U Street."; Bates and Anthony: "I did not dress warm enough for this weather."/"Perhaps you would like to borrow my gloves."; Dave and Connor: "The cherry blossoms are beautiful in April."/"I'll bring my mother next spring."). Once they do that, teams have to open the briefcase with the numbers of their positions in the third, fourth and fifth legs. Teams then have to go to Nationals Park. Here, in what I think was half a Detour that was never fully aired, one team member has to ride a zipline while throwing a baseball to their partner on the ground who has to catch it while wearing one of the mascot costumes of the team. Teams then go to Hains Point, where they search a ball pit for the globes with names of the countries they went to on them. Only one member of each team can go in at a time. Once they put them in order they can go to the finish line: Mount Vernon.

1. Dave and Connor WIN

2. Pam and Winnie PLACE

3. Bates and Anthony SHOW.

The Review

This season was only notable for Joey and Meghan and maybe Caroline and Jennifer. The tasks were average, the course, while great to look at, was places the show has done before. It's my number 23 season. Still the show did see a small uptick in the ratings, especially in Canada. Speaking of, from now on we will be alternating between the Canadian version of the show and the American version. Starting next week. See you then.

-Globetrotting: An Amazing Race Blog for the website Reality Rewind, January 30, 2017.
 
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Grammy/Oscar 2013
2013 Grammy Nominees (winners in bold):

Best New Artist-

Alabama Shakes
Donnie Glass
Ely Spira
The Lumineers
Sons Of The Future

(Note: This year's Best New Artist category was full of critically beloved but relatively unknown artists, with The Lumineers probably being the favorite in this category going in. However, British newcomer Ely Spira surprised everyone with her melancholy album about romance and loss, and despite the album not being overwhelmingly popular with fans, and despite Ely herself not being nearly as visible as most popular singers, she ended up taking home the award in one of the night's biggest upsets, though it wouldn't be the biggest...)

Song Of The Year-

“The A Team” by Ed Sheeran
Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye ft. Chloe Wang
“To Hell With Heartbreak” by Rihanna and Taylor Swift
“West Side” by Nathan Benz ft. Janelle Monae
“Zackaree” by Ely Spira

Record Of The Year-

“Artificial Heart” by Garth Brooks
Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye ft. Chloe Wang
“To Hell With Heartbreak” by Rihanna and Taylor Swift
“Trademark” by Donnie Glass
“You Get Me Worked Up” by Pitbull ft. CharStarr

(Note: "Somebody That I Used To Know" ends up being even more dominant ITTL than it was IOTL, winning both Song and Record of the Year going away over its competition. "To Hell With Heartbreak" was probably its closest competition in both categories, with Garth Brooks' "Artificial Heart" being somewhat of a sentimental choice in the Record of the Year category, but in the end, Gotye's song proved a winner. It was the second most popular song of 2012 behind "Gangnam Style", which was NOT going to be nominated in these categories, and the voters felt fairly comfortable awarding it both times even though it was a fairly boring choice.)

Album Of The Year-

Babel by Mumford And Sons
Life On Fire by Sons Of The Future
Petrol by Ely Spira
Snow Covered Barn by Garth Brooks
Songs To Survive For by Pitbull

(Note: Ely Spira took down her four rivals to win this award in one of the biggest Album of the Year upsets ever. Going in, Petrol was dead last in betting odds to win the award, with Babel and Snow Covered Barn in a close race for first and Songs To Survive For a close third behind them. However, as mentioned before, critics loved Petrol, comparing it to Come Away With Me by Norah Jones, which dominated the Grammys nearly a decade ago. Overall, it was a fairly weak year at the Grammys. Most of the heavy hitters didn't release an album, and the Asian pop boom was fizzling out, leaving an opening for an upset winner. That wouldn't be the case for next year, but Ely seized her moment and took home some major awards, launching her career into the stratosphere into the process.)

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2013 Oscar Nominees (winners in bold):

Best Picture-

Argo
Lincoln
Livermore
Spilled Across The Page
Violent End

(Note: This year's Best Picture category was as much about controversy as it was about the actual nominees. We finally had a bit of a popular blowup in reaction to fan favorites like Sprout getting shut out of the awards, similar to the 2008 Dark Knight/Wall-E controversy from IOTL. This would be the last year of strictly five Best Picture nominees, as 2014 would see this category expand as IOTL. The biggest controversy was over the film Livermore, a fairly boring romantic drama that wasn't especially loved by fans or critics, but which somehow managed to sneak a Best Picture nomination. Lincoln beat out The General for a nomination, while Argo was actually seen as a slight underdog. Crime drama Violent End was a popular dark horse pick, while fans also loved the dramedy Spilled Across The Page, a 1970s period drama about a woman attempting to break into the surprisingly competitive world of Harlequin romance novel writing. In the end, Argo won the Oscar ITTL, mirroring its IOTL success, though not without some detractors.)

Best Director-

Ben Affleck for Argo
Matthew Vaughn for 30 Seconds
Sofia Coppola for Spilled Across The Page
Steven Soderbergh for Violent End
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

(Note: With Life Of Pi butterflied, this race was wide open. Affleck, Coppola, Soderbergh, and Spielberg were all seen as having a decent chance to win, and in the end, it was Steven Spielberg for his Abraham Lincoln biopic. Meanwhile, Matthew Vaughn's nomination for the frenetic and over-the-top action crime drama 30 Seconds was seen as a bit of a surprise. The film was beloved and revolutionary, but a lot of Hollywood insiders never imagined he'd be nominated, especially over Quentin Tarantino, who was snubbed for Django Unchained. In the end, it didn't matter: Spielberg won yet another Oscar.)

Best Actor-

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Ed Harris for The General
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Jonathan Brandis for Violent End
Will Smith for Django Unchained

(Note: It was thought that Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln and Ed Harris' portrayal of Eisenhower might split the votes, allowing Joaquin Phoenix to take home his second straight Oscar. Jonathan Brandis' surprising turn as an amnesiac murdered in Violent End was seen as being a bit too niche to win, while Will Smith's nomination for Django Unchained was seen as a major surprise. Smith almost didn't take the role, but was convinced to do it after a conversation with Samuel L. Jackson, and ended up getting lots of critical praise. However, Daniel Day-Lewis absolutely disappeared into the role of Lincoln, and took home the Oscar, just as he did IOTL.)

Best Actress-

Alison Pill for My Dragon
Elizabeth Banks for Spilled Across The Page
Famke Janssen for Precision
Naomie Harris for All For Nothing
Noreile Stratford for Care Comes Sparingly

(Note: Elizabeth Banks was the odds-on favorite to win, and she didn't disappoint. She beat out Alison Pill's performance as a starving sculptor, Famke Janssen's performance as a Cold War-era sniper, Naomie Harris' performance as a recovering drug addict in All For Nothing, and newcomer Noreile Stratford's performance as a disillusioned home caretaker in Care Comes Sparingly. While all four of the losing performances were praised, Elizabeth Banks absolutely carried Spilled Across The Page, and charmed audiences and critics alike to take home the award.)

Best Supporting Actor-

Charlie Day for Spilled Across The Page
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Colin Firth for 30 Seconds
Jeff Bridges for No Skills
Phillip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

(Note: Phillip Seymour Hoffman's incredible performance in The Master lost to Cristoph Waltz IOTL, but the voters saw it differently this time around, giving him a narrow win. Jeff Bridges got plenty of commendation as a jaded hiring director in No Skills, but he couldn't beat out Hoffman, and it wasn't a surprise when he won the Oscar.)

Best Supporting Actress-

Charlotte Gainsbourg for Violent End
Frances McDormand for Spilled Across The Page
Mandy Moore for Last Call
Sylvia Hoeks for Spilled Across The Page
Tessa Thompson for Hatchtown

(Note: Young Mandy Moore and Tessa Thompson both impressed in their performances, with Mandy Moore excelling as a down on her luck bar singer in the depressing Last Call, and Tessa Thompson scoring accolades as a young mother in Hatchtown. However, Frances McDormand won yet another Oscar on the strength of her performance as a publisher in Spilled Across The Page, with her character and Elizabeth Banks' character playing off of one another perfectly. This award was never really in doubt.)
 
2012-13 NFL Season
The 2012-13 NFL season saw several surprise teams rise quickly through the ranks of the league to have big seasons and achieve high seeds in the playoffs. These included the two New York teams, the Jets and the Giants, who rode young stars to 12-4 finishes and division titles.

In the AFC, the Tennessee Titans reigned supreme. The Titans, behind the outstanding quarterback play of Philip Rivers (acquired in a trade from the Falcons several years back) emerged as the class of the AFC South, trouncing their other rivals, including the Indianapolis Colts, who fell way back to 7-9. Meanwhile, the New York Jets and their surprising rushing attack took first place in an extremely competitive AFC East, beating the Patriots by a single game and also knocking last year's conference champs, the Miami Dolphins, out of contention. The Bengals were back to respectability, going 11-5 to win an exceptionally competitive AFC North just barely over the 10-6 Steelers. The AFC was a tough conference in 2012, and whoever emerged from the playoff gauntlet would be battle tested indeed.

In the NFC, there were several big stories, including the excellent quarterback play of rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Andrew Luck led the 49ers to an 8-8 record, not good enough for the playoffs but good enough to be considered a team back on the rise, and with a much better relationship with the team and his coach. Meanwhile, RG3 had to fill in for Tim Couch a few times throughout the season, and though the Eagles struggled in a tough division, they ended up 10-6 and took the last playoff spot, losing a razor thin tiebreaker to the division rival Dallas Cowboys, with both teams losing to the Giants who went 12-4. The Chicago Bears remained the class of the conference, and looked to repeat their winning ways, hoping to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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NFL Playoffs 2012-13:

Wildcard Round

(3) San Diego Chargers over (6) Pittsburgh Steelers, 17 to 3

The San Diego Chargers were another surprise team that emerged from the season with a decent 11-5 record, though many said they had a fairly soft division with the Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers all regressing. However, they proved that they weren't a team to take lightly, thanks to their effective defense trouncing the Steelers. Aaron Rodgers, who'd struggled with injuries all year, found himself picked off three times and looking more human than he has in a long time. The Chargers would advance to the divisional round, looking to score an upset against the tough Jets in what looked to be a defensive struggle.

(4) Cincinnati Bengals over (5) New England Patriots, 29 to 13

Though the Bengals had gone only 11-5, this was largely due to a fierce strength of schedule, and many people saw them as potentially the best team in the league. They dispatched the Patriots fairly easy, with McNabb really showing his age in this one. Indeed, this game would see some questions about his retirement begin to loom, and 2013's season would see McNabb grooming backup Colin Kaepernick to take over after one last campaign. In the meantime, the Bengals, led by Matt Ryan, had no problem advancing to a showdown with the Titans.

(3) St. Louis Rams over (6) Philadelphia Eagles, 23 to 20 (OT)

The best game of the weekend saw the Eagles and rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III jump out to a 20-6 lead at the end of the third quarter, only for the Rams to storm back thanks to some clutch passing plays and a timely fumble recovery. The Rams would get the ball to start the overtime period and would march down for an easy field goal. This would be the game that would ultimately result in the NFL's OTL overtime rule that a team can't win overtime on the first possession with a field goal being implemented ITTL. Quarterback Tim Couch would retire after this season, handing over the reins to RG3 permanently. He'd shown promise in this game, and would only get better as time went on.

(5) Dallas Cowboys over (4) New Orleans Saints, 21 to 7

The Saints struggled this year behind a rough campaign from Peyton Manning, who was also starting to feel the ravages of time. Meanwhile, Tim Tebow, though inconsistent, was a highlight machine, and he was no different in this game, scoring two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown while the Dallas defense kept Peyton stymied. This game would raise some serious questions about Peyton Manning's future, and he hoped to make a comeback the following year.

Divisional Round-

(1) Tennessee Titans over (4) Cincinnati Bengals, 38 to 35 (2OT)

The Titans and Bengals, considered to be two of the three best teams in the league (along with the Bears), didn't disappoint, and this was an instant classic that many people considered the best NFL playoff game in a very long time. It was a back and forth shootout with neither team ever going behind by more than a possession, and in the end, overtime really was the only way these two teams could settle it. However, the teams were gassed in the extra period, and neither one was able to score, though the Bengals did consider attempting a 59 yard field goal before deciding to punt late in the first overtime. It would go to a second overtime, and eleven minutes would pass before Tennessee finally got close enough to be confident about a field goal, a 41 yarder for the win to advance to the AFC Championship.

(2) New York Jets over (3) San Diego Chargers, 30 to 0

In a game that was expected to be a defensive struggle, the only team that struggled was the Chargers, who couldn't put up a single point against the mighty Jets defense. Meanwhile, Jamaal Charles gashed his way to a 190 yard, two touchdown day, and the Jets completely ran over the hapless Chargers, who'd stopped McNabb but couldn't stop the run. The Jets suddenly looked quite good going into the conference championship, and hoped to take advantage of a gassed Titans team.

(1) Chicago Bears over (5) Dallas Cowboys, 27 to 10

Another year, another Bears-Cowboys meeting in the playoffs. This had emerged as perhaps the biggest rivalry in the league over the past decade, even moreso than the Steelers and Patriots, and once again, the Bears got the better of the Cowboys, making Tim Tebow look positively pedestrian as he threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles. The rabid Bears crowd cheered their team to victory, with Big Ben securing a huge win for his team and taking them once more to the conference finals.

(3) St. Louis Rams over (2) New York Giants, 10 to 9

In a defensive dogfight between two surprise teams, the Rams emerged victorious, holding the Giants to only field goals despite several promising drives. The game was frustrating for both teams, with a crucial turnover by each team, the Rams in the first half and the Giants in the second half both losing the ball in the red zone. At one point, it seemed like neither team wanted to win, but in the end, the Rams wanted it just a little bit more, and advanced to face the Bears as heavy underdogs.

Conference Championships-

(1) Tennessee Titans over (2) New York Jets, 17 to 10

The Jets certainly came to play, holding the Titans scoreless for almost the entire first half, while they put the game's first touchdown on the board. The Titans were able to string together a long touchdown drive toward the end of the first half to tie up the score, then came back with a quick score in the third to make it 14-7. The Jets eventually got a field goal to end the quarter, then had the ball with a chance to put the go ahead touchdown on the board with just over six minutes to go. They ended up turning the ball over on downs, and the Titans were able to get a field goal with just over three minutes left. The Jets had time to tie the game, but weren't able to score, and the Titans won a hard fought battle to advance to the Super Bowl.

(1) Chicago Bears over (3) St. Louis Rams, 34 to 14

Once again, “Da Bears” came up big when it counted, taking home their second conference championship in three years. They ran all over the Rams, scoring in the air and on the ground, while the Rams weren't able to string together much on offense. They put together a couple of decent touchdown drives, one in the second quarter and one early in the fourth that made it 27-14, but that was about as close as they got in the second half, as the Bears put together one last long touchdown drive to seal the deal. The Bears had become the best team in the NFC, even moreso than the Saints, and they'd have a chance to bring home yet another Lombardi Trophy.

Super Bowl XLVII:

Tennessee Titans over Chicago Bears, 24 to 21

Super Bowl XLVII took place in Miami, and saw the league's two best teams facing off in a highly anticipated game. The Bears were looking to take home yet another Super Bowl, while the Titans were hoping to win their second Super Bowl ever. The two teams would play a fairly close game throughout, trading touchdowns early on and heading into halftime with the Titans ahead, 10 to 7. The halftime show was headlined by Pitbull, who brought numerous guests onto the stage to perform with him in a halftime show that was considered fairly mediocre and not as good as Elton John's the previous year. The real fireworks began in the second half, when the Bears went ahead with a quick score, 14-10, and nearly went ahead even more after picking off an errant Philip Rivers pass. A near disaster was averted when Rivers himself managed a shoestring tackle to prevent a pick-6, and then the Titans managed to make a three and out stop. They would retake the lead early in the fourth, only for the Bears to immediately score, putting themselves up 21-17 with a bit more than eight minutes to go. The Titans would be forced to punt, and once again, the Bears looked poised to go up by two possessions, but another crucial defensive stop, followed by a missed 50 yard field goal, put the Titans in prime position to score, and they would do so with 48 seconds remaining. The Bears couldn't get back into field goal range for a tying opportunity, and the Titans ended up winning a nailbiter, with Rivers taking home the MVP award.

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2013 NFL Draft-

The 2013 NFL Draft was a fairly ho-hum affair that saw a glut of talent at the offensive line position. The San Francisco 49ers were looking for a lineman to protect Andrew Luck, but most of the top talent went far above their 16th pick. However, the Niners did manage to acquire Kyle Long at guard, where he would help protect Luck and also establish the Niners' ground game. The Detroit Lions had the first pick, and they took Eric Fisher, considered to be the draft's best player. The Seattle Seahawks selected Manti Te'o with the second pick. Also of note were the Cleveland Browns, who had a first round pick for the first time since the Michael Vick scandal. They were quietly building a decent team around quarterback Russell Wilson, and after finishing 6-10, had the ninth pick. They ended up trading down, where they collected a pair of wide receivers early in the second round: DeAndre Hopkins and Justin Hunter, then used their own second round pick to select Le'Veon Bell.
 
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