Morning Headlines: Philly Natives Win at Oscars

Writers for "The Big Short" and "Spotlight" win; Kevin Hart grabs spotlight.

Singer, McKay, Hart | ABC

Singer, McKay, Hart | ABC

Happy Leap Day, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know this morning.

No, Sly Stallone didn’t win. But Philadelphia had a decent night at the Oscars.

Stallone’s upset loss in the Best Supporting Actor category set off a round of Twitter jokes that even fake Philly athletes can’t get the big win. (And here’s a classic Daily News cover on the topic.) But it was a pair of behind-the-scenes guys — Temple grad Adam McKay and Ambler’s Josh Singer — who took gold statues for helping pen the scripts to The Big Short and Spotlight, respectively. (The former warned against “weirdo billionaires” in his acceptance speech.) Philly’s Kevin Hart also grabbed the spotlight, taking the stage for an apparently impromptu speech pleading with Hollywood to make better diversity efforts. “I want to take a moment to applaud all of my actors and actresses of color tonight,” Hart said. “Tonight should not determine the hard work and effort you put into your craft. … These problems of today eventually become problems of the old. Let’s not let this issue of diversity beat us.”

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a Philadelphia death penalty case today.

Ronald Castille used to be Philly’s D.A. Then he was a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice. In the first role, he directed his office to pursue the death penalty for Terry Williams, accused of murder in 1986. In the second role, he voted with the court to reinstate Williams’ death sentence. The issue, AP reports: Whether one man can serve as both prosecutor and judge in a criminal case. Williams’ attorneys say Castille had a clear conflict of interest. Castille, now retired, doesn’t see it that way. “In Pennsylvania, we leave it up to the judge’s personal conscience,” he told AP. “I’ve always been confident that I can be fair and impartial.”

The Philadelphia Citizen’s effort to abolish the Philadelphia City Commissioners office is gaining steam.

The website started an online petition a week ago, asking for City Council to take the office — which oversees elections in the city — and staff it with mayoral appointees. (This, after months of reports suggesting Commissioner Anthony Clark rarely shows up to work and, in fact, rarely votes.) More than 1,000 people have signed. “Most cities run elections through a mayoral appointment without incident,” Larry Platt wrote for the Citizen. “In fact, making the Mayor accountable for free and fair elections has proven to be a good thing elsewhere.” But NewsWorks says Council President Darrell Clarke opposes the effort, pointing out that Philadelphians re-elected Clark to his position. “You have a group of special interests who understandably are concerned about the alleged conduct of one or two of the commissioners,” the Council President said, “but the simple reality is that the people spoke, and they spoke quite aggressively.”

The Phillies started spring training competition off on the right note.

Jeremy Hellickson and Aaron Nola combined for two perfect innings for the Phillies on Sunday in an 8-3 victory against the University of Tampa. The two are competing to be the Opening Day starter, reports. “It’d be a cool thing,” Nola said. “If you haven’t done it before, if you haven’t had an Opening Day start in your career, it would definitely be cool. But wherever they have me, I’m going to go out there and compete.”

Holly Harrar is the new Miss Philly.

The 22-year-old Pottstown native was crowned Saturday at Drexel University. reports Harrar is a student at Shippensburg University, majoring in broadcasting, and has already been nominated fro a Mid-Atlantic Emmy for her work. She competes for Miss Pennsylvania in June.

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