Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Feb. 7 2016 11:24 AM

Iñárritu’s DGA Award for The Revenant Is a Historic Win

Alejandro González Iñárritu won big at Saturday night’s Directors Guild of America awards ceremony: The director, who just last year took home the top prize for Birdman, became the first filmmaker in history to win back-to-back Feature Film awards when he also won for The Revenant. In the 66 year history of the Oscars, only 14 films have failed to take home Best Picture after winning the feature prize at the DGA.

Iñárritu joins a very small but notable group of filmmakers to have won the award twice, including Clint Eastwood, Ang Lee, and Frances Ford Coppola. He is, however, the first and only director to win twice successively.


If Iñárritu manages the coup of winning two consecutive Oscars—for either Best Director or Best Picture—it would be a historic victory in a year of controversy. Iñárritu is one of only two Mexican filmmakers to have won an Academy Award, and the only one to have won Best Picture. Now, come Oscar night, Iñárritu’s film about white frontiersmen may prove to be the Academy’s only hope for color.

Read the full list of DGA winners here.

Feb. 7 2016 10:50 AM

Zoolander and Hansel Stopped by Weekend Update to Critique Presidential Candidate Fashion

In advance of the 2016 election—and their 2016 return to theaters—Derek Zoolander and Hansel swung by Weekend Update to offer their expert assessment of the candidates’ fashion choices.

“Hillary’s from the ’90s, which are very hot right now,” observed Hansel. “Hillary’s style reminds me of one of my all time fashion icons: Kim Jong Un,” agreed Zoolander. The pair offered no such love for Bernie Sanders: “Bernie’s a champion of the 99 percent—apparently, the 99 percent off table at J.C. Penney,” Zoolander said.


After a Tom Cruise/Ted Cruz mix-up—and haven’t we all been there?—the duo moved onto the only candidate who can truly understand them, Donald Trump. “Donnie’s just like us, he has the classic male model looks!” Zoolander raved. For instance: “Orange Mocha Crappacino,” “Hot Mess,” and the most recent addition to his roster, “Second Place.”

Feb. 7 2016 9:39 AM

SNL Did a Perfect Curb Your Enthusiasm Parody Set on the Campaign Trail With Bernie Sanders

One of the best sketches from this Saturday Night Live was “Bern Your Enthusiasm,” which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: An episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm starring Bernie Sanders (that is: Larry-David-as-Bernie-Sanders).

The sketch has Sanders facing public fallout on the campaign trail after he refuses to shake a woman’s hand moments after she coughs into it—the old “cough and shake.” The best part might be the series of very impressive SNL cast member impersonations of Curb characters, from Bobby Moynihan’s Jeff to Cecily Strong’s Susie to Jay Pharoah’s Leon.

Feb. 7 2016 9:06 AM

Bernie Sanders Made His Cranky SNL Debut Alongside Host Larry David in This Titanic Spoof

Hillary did it. Trump did it. And last night, democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made his SNL debut, alongside host and uncanny doppelgänger, Larry David.

In the sketch, David, adopting a bold Irish-ish accent for the occasion, played the one-percenter captain of an old-time-y sinking ship (a metaphor?) who just can’t believe women and children are getting on lifeboats before him. “I hate to pull this, but my father is rich” he brogues. “Technically, my life is worth more than all of yours put together.”


Enter Bernie Sanders—or rather, Bernie Sanderswitzky (he’ll change it when he gets to America—“so it doesn’t sound quite so Jewish,” he explains), a seafaring populist with some very, um, familiar-sounding ideas. “Enough is enough!” he says, borrowing one of his campaign’s catchphrases. “We need to unite and work together if we’re all going to get through this!”  

Feb. 6 2016 6:43 PM

Beyoncé’s Surprise New Single Is Both a #BlackLivesMatter–Inspired Protest Anthem and an Absolute Jam

A stunning music video for a new Beyoncé song called “Formation” was uploaded to YouTube Saturday. Arriving on the eve of Beyoncé's performance at the Super Bowl half-time show, the new song was reportedly produced by Mike Will Made-It and co-written by Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd. It feels instantly like an anthem, with shout-along lines like “I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making” and “Earned all this money but they’ll never take the country out me” and a back half built around the phrase “I slay.”

The video, which looks like it was filmed at least in part in New Orleans, is full of imagery linked to Hurricane Katrina and Black Lives Matter: a cop car drowning in standing water, a child dancing in a hoodie in front of a line of police officers in riot gear. The video also features a shot of Beyoncé with two middle fingers up, singing the line “When he fuck me good I’ll take his ass to Red Lobster,” which seems to be the early favorite on Twitter


Beyoncé is expected to play “Formation” Sunday at the Super Bowl, which means that a year and a half after framing herself in front of the word “feminist” at the VMAs, she just set herself up for what could be an even more powerful moment on an even bigger stage.

Watch the video below, or stream it on Tidal.  

Feb. 6 2016 12:33 PM

Another Super Bowl, Another Round of Bad NFL Lip Reading

The absurdist curators of Bad Lip Reading have released their annual NFL collection, featuring players and coaches with yet more surreal declarations and koans to ponder ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.  

This year’s edition features epicurean pronouncements, some some solid body modification advice, and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell’s reluctance to sing Drake atop furniture. 

Feb. 6 2016 11:52 AM

Before Bernie Sanders’ SNL Debut Tonight, Behold His Early Roles in Vintage Rom-Coms

Bernie Sanders is set to appear on Saturday Night Live tonight, alongside host Larry David, the man born to play him. For his part, Sanders established his acting bona fides in the ’80s and ’90s, when he began his late-blooming film career in two romantic comedies. In 1999’s My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception, the then–member of the U.S. House of Representatives went method as the ranting Rabbi Manny Shevitz, who uses the titular wedding reception as a platform to condemn the 1957 transfer of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles—which was in real life a traumatic and politically formative event for the politician.

While the role of Shevitz was clearly a deeply personal one for Sanders, he was glaringly underused in 1988’s Sweet Hearts Dance, featuring Don Johnson, Susan Sarandon, and Jeff Daniels. Still, Sanders’ scene can barely conceal its radical socialist agenda, with Sanders appearing as a man engaged in a plot of distributing wealth to the needy in the form of candy to trick-or-treaters.

Feb. 5 2016 4:32 PM

The Week in Culture, “Worse Things I Could Do” Edition

Remember the O.J. Simpson case? Of course you do, it was the trial of the century. As Ryan Murphy’s miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story kicks off this week, Slate’s Willa Paskin points out in her review that it’s the trial of our current century, too: “the first of its kind of sordid spectacle, but in its reach ... also the last.” Paskin praises the show’s watchability, and elsewhere in Slate, Leon Neyfakh runs down what was fact and what was fiction in the first episode while Sheila Weller details the long, complicated history of the Simpson-Kardashian relationship.

Also on TV, Vanessa Hudgens proved her mettle as Rizzo in the actually-pretty-good Grease Live, Louis C.K. dropped a surprise new show (now just three bucks to watch!), Outsiders squanders its prestige-drama potential, the X-Files reboot continues—but not without controversy—and, as always, there’s lots of new stuff to stream this month.


A new month also means a piping-hot new batch of books pieces. Reviewing A.O. Scott’s Better Living Through Criticism, Slate’s Laura Miller, also a critic, is perfectly poised to discuss the finer points of the job. Meanwhile, Isaac Chotiner disarmed Scott in a lively interview. Katy Waldman asks why book trailers are so self-loathing—and joins Emma Watson’s feminist book club. The Belle Époque–set The Queen of the Night seems like a world away from Alexander Chee’s first novel, but Spencer Lenfield draws parallels. (Chee spent 15 years on the book, he reveals in an interview.) And there’s much more in the Slate Book Review!

Even more happenings from the week in culture:

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Feb. 5 2016 3:32 PM

Halsey Covered “Love Yourself,” Swapped “Love” for the Word Bieber Actually Meant

Don't be deceived by the seemingly sweet and affirming title of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”: the "love" has a very clear, not-so-sweet double entendre. Now Halsey, the artist who lent her vocal talents on another Purpose track, “The Feeling,” has covered the song, with a few virtuosic flourishes. Most notably, her chorus is a little more direct: She went with “Fuck yourself.”

The cover has a gentle, smoky timbre, which makes the lyric change stand out even more. Halsey's lyrics generally tend to be graphic and direct. (Sample: Her song “Strange Love” begins with a very blunt reference to sex on the bathroom sink.) And for those of us who have always thought “love yourself” sounds like a lame radio edit of what Bieber probably meant to say, this amendment was long overdue.

Feb. 5 2016 1:03 PM

In Netflix-iest Move Possible, Netflix Renews Orange Is the New Black for a Whopping Three More Seasons

Aside from Nate Parker’s enthusiastically received Nat Turner biopic The Birth of a Nation, the narrative dominating last month’s Sundance Film Festival was that of theoverzealous buying sprees of Netflix and Amazon. Each of them acquired six films—the most out of any other studio—further emphasizing their disruption of the old way of doing things in Hollywood. Just as Netflix pioneered the era of the “full-season dump,” so have Netflix and Amazon called into question the film industry’s business model for theatrical releases with recent films like Beasts of No Nation and Chi-Raq.

So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Netflix has done something practically unheard of: It’s renewed Orange Is the New Black for three more seasons, bringing the hit show’s current tally up to seven seasons. It’s very rare for a scripted show to receive such a long-term commitment in one fell swoop; Variety has deemed it “the longest commitment for any TV series in recent memory.”

For OITNB fans, the renewal probably feels at once exhilarating and daunting—plenty of room to explore some new creative directions, but also plenty of time to go off the rails with such a large episode order. For her part, at least, creator Jenji Kohan, is ready to accept the challenge, per the press release.