The Academy Awards, in defense of small talk, The Mermaid, and more culture news from the week of Feb. 22.

Everything You Need to Know About the Week of Feb. 22 in Culture

Everything You Need to Know About the Week of Feb. 22 in Culture

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Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 26 2016 4:32 PM

The Week in Culture, “Step Brothers Rules, The Revenant Drools” Edition

Academy Awards.
Preparations continue in the red carpet arrivals area for the Academy Awards, Feb. 25, 2016, in Hollywood, California.

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

For culture lovers, the Oscars are our Super Bowl, and the wait is over: Oscar weekend is here. Just in time, Slate wrapped up its Best Case for Best Picture video series, eight videos that make the case for why each nominee, from Spotlight to The Martian, should be the one to take home the big award. Watch them all, and let them help you decide who to pick in your Oscars fantasy draft, which Darian Alexander recommends you do instead of a pool if you actually want to have fun this year. Dana Stevens wrote up her hopes and dreams for the ceremony, all Jack Hamilton cares about is that you know The Revenant sucks (and Step Brothers rules), Bryan Lowder ranked the movie score nominees, Aisha Harris looked at which winners could make history this year, and there’s lots more Oscar coverage where that came from on Slate.

One more reason to appreciate the Oscars? They make perfect fodder for small talk. Also this week, Ruth Graham defends chit-chat, small talk, and idle conversation from anyone who would call it tedious. It’s a valuable social lubricant, people!

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In case you’re looking for more fun facts to bring up during small talk, maybe it will interest you to know that a zany new movie is breaking box-office records in China? David Ehrlich calls The Mermaid demented but great. As far as last week’s big movie that people are still talking about, Slate writers continued to puzzle over The Witch: Why did critics like it so much more than moviegoers? And why are goats so evil? The film’s director answered some of our questions.

Even more material to chit-chat about:

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