Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Feb. 27 2017 12:02 AM

The Oscars Did a Special Edition of Mean Tweets, and the Miles Teller Burn Was Perfect

Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t about to host the Oscars without including a special awards-themed edition of his famed Mean Tweets, with A-listers bemusedly reading insults targeted squarely at them, before an audience of millions. Below, a sampling:

“Oh, look at me … I’m Ryan Gosling. I have perfect bone structure and fine eyes. Go **** yourself Ryan Gosling.”

“Are we all just ignoring the fact that Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne have the same face?”

“Lin-Manuel Miranda looks like he’s getting a 1996 NBC sitcom with his haircut.” (Miranda, good sport that he is, did not appear to disagree with this.)

“Emma Stone looks like she plays a crack whore in every role she plays.”

“Miles Teller has the face of a guy who would request Gangnam Style at a wedding where he doesn’t know either the bride or groom.”

Kudos to @Josh for really nailing Miles Teller.

Feb. 26 2017 11:04 PM

Watch Justin Timberlake Open the Oscars With His Powerful Protest Song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

Given the contentious political environment, it was inevitable that Hollywood would use the Oscars as a forward operating base for their ongoing attacks on President Trump. But no one expected them to go as far as Justin Timberlake, who opened the ceremony with a blistering musical attack, performing his celebrated protest song “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” No, Timberlake told the crowd, you “can’t stop the feeling” that the Trump administration is flailing from one unconstitutional fiasco to another. Fortunately, Timberlake has “sunshine in his pocket,” presumably a reference to the judiciary branch and our system of checks and balances.

The Hollywood luminaries assembled at the ceremony joined Timberlake in a show of amazing solidarity, clapping and dancing while Timberlake excoriated the Republican party for its xenophobia and racism. You can’t put the country on lock with immigration bans, the whole crowd seemed to say, because Timberlake already has the room on lock with the way he rocks it. Wow! With this kind of ferocity, it’ll be years before Trump has a “lovely day” again. It was truly a powerful moment that exemplifies the way our brave celebrities will lead us safely through the horrors of the next four years.

Feb. 26 2017 10:53 PM

Moana Star Auli’i Cravalho’s Oscar Performance Proved She Should Be in Live-Action Movies, Too

Can you remember when you were first charmed by 16-year-old Auli’i Cravalho, the voice of the titular heroine in Moana? Was it her adorable reaction to finding out she’d been cast as the next Disney Princess during what she thought was just another audition?

Or perhaps it was her starstruck bonding with Moana’s cast and crew, who were all delighted to find she looked just like her character?

What about her friendship with costar Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson?

Or when she made this charming pronunciation guide to her name (“Ow-Lee-Ee”)?

Or maybe she only caught your attention this very evening, when she flawlessly performed Best Song nominee “How Far I’ll Go,” at the 89th Academy Awards, with a special rapped intro by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Not only did Cravalho sing her heart out, she even kept her cool when a rogue flag-twirler got a little too close:

We loved Cravalho as the voice of Moana. But it turns out, she also has a face and torso! She can sing, she can dance, she can act—and has a smile that could melt the cold heart of Te Ka. Let’s get her in a live-action role ASAP, Hollywood.

Feb. 26 2017 10:34 PM

Watch Oscar-Winning Director Asghar Farhadi’s Powerful Protest Speech, Delivered in Absentia

It took an hour and a half for Oscar night's first explicitly political acceptance speech, and it took a director who chose to boycott the Oscars to deliver it—albeit in absentia. Iran's Asghar Farhadi, who won his second Best Foreign Language Film award for his drama The Salesman, chose not to attend the Oscars in response to President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven countries (including his own). Instead, he asked two Iranian Americans—engineer Anousheh Ansari and former director of solar systems exploration at NASA Firouz Naderi—to attend in his stead. They read a moving and fierce speech from Farhadi, who declared that his absence "was out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhuman law that bans entry of immigrants to the US."

Watch the speech, and also watch The Salesman, and also while you're at it watch Farhadi's remarkable previous Oscar-winning film A Separation.

Feb. 26 2017 10:24 PM

Mahershala Ali Just Became the First Muslim Actor to Ever Win an Oscar

Mahershala Ali’s win for Best Supporting Actor is also a timely piece of history-making: He’s the first Muslim actor to ever win an Academy Award. (The late Omar Sharif was nominated for Lawrence of Arabia but didn’t win.) The Moonlight co-star previously detailed his conversion to Islam in a powerful speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, turning a story about his close relationship with his Christian preacher mother into a statement about tolerance, and he has not shied away from politics in other instances on his path to the Dolby Theatre.

On Sunday night, however, the newly minted Oscar winner kept his speech short and sweet, a humble and deeply thankful acceptance of an award that wasn’t just wholly deserved but also quietly groundbreaking.

Feb. 26 2017 9:52 PM

A Short List of Great Actors and Directors Who Now Have Fewer Oscars Than Suicide Squad

“Oscar winner Suicide Squad.” Let that phrase roll around in your mouth a little. Savor it as is you would a fine wine or the touch of winter’s first snowflake on your tongue.

With its win for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, this rotting garbage pile of a movie now has a permanent place in Oscar history. In fact, it has one more Oscar than many of the actors and directors whose contributions have enlivened the art of motion pictures throughout its century-plus history but were never recognized with an award for an individual film. (Lifetime achievement awards are nice and all, but they’re basically the academy’s way of making up for an egregious oversight, usually after the artist in question has stopped producing new work.)

Here’s a short list of those poor, benighted souls who may have created brilliant art but, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, are at least one Oscar less good than Suicide Squad.

  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Stanley Kubrick
  • Orson Welles
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Buster Keaton
  • Fred Astaire
  • Cary Grant
  • Barbara Stanwyck
  • Kirk Douglas
  • Greta Garbo
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Wes Anderson
  • David Lynch
  • David Fincher
  • James Dean
  • Harrison Ford
  • Mia Farrow
  • Angela Bassett
  • Will Smith
  • Annette Bening
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Amy Adams
  • Danny Glover
  • Robert Altman
  • Howard Hawks
  • Spike Lee
  • Sigourney Weaver

Feb. 26 2017 9:30 PM

Jimmy Kimmel Paid Tribute to Lackluster, Overrated Meryl Streep in His Oscars Opening Monologue

“Black people saved NASA, and white people saved jazz,” Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel quipped in his opening monologue. “That’s what I call progress.”

Amid the political turmoil, Kimmel opted to keep his (predictable) digs at President Trump spare but pointed—”Remember last year when people thought the Oscars were racist?”—and instead turned to the films and artists being recognized. It didn’t take long for him to get to an inevitable bit about fake archnemesis Matt Damon started, knocking him for passing the principal role in Manchester by the Sea over with little to show for it. (Except maybe his worst performance ever.) And he made not one, not two, but three jokes about academy members not bothering to watch the nominated movies—citing Elle, Moonlight, and Captain Fantastic.

Kimmel dedicated the bulk of his showcase, however, to adding fuel to the fire of Trump's Meryl Streep hatred. “From her mediocre early work in The Deer Hunter and Out of Africa to her underwhelming performances in Kramer Versus Kramer and Sophie’s Choice,” Kimmel began, “Meryl Streep has phoned it in for over 50 years in her lackluster career.” He then asked for the audience in the Dolby Theatre to give the “highly overrated” Streep an “undeserved” standing ovation—to which it did, quite enthusiastically.

Feb. 26 2017 8:35 PM

The Oscars Telecast Lasted Less Than 10 Minutes Before Its First “Hidden Fences” Slip-Up

Let the record show that we didn’t make it even 10 minutes into the Oscars telecast before someone slipped up and mentioned the year’s most famous nonexistent movie: Hidden Fences. The honor of being the first to name-check the imaginary title at the Academy Awards goes to People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle on the Oscars red carpet, while discussing the diversity of this year’s nominees (oof):

Hidden Fences, a conflation of two of this year’s Oscar nominees, Hidden Figures and Fences, was born at the Golden Globes when first Jenna Bush, then Michael Keaton flubbed the name of Hidden Figures, accidentally (and painfully) mixing it up with the other major black movie that came out in 2016. The title soon took on a life of its own, spawning countless memes, fake movie trailers, and even a stage play.

At this point, the Hidden Fences problem is self-perpetuating. (It does roll off the tongue.) To his credit, Cagle realized his mistake almost immediately and corrected himself, but the damage to all of our psyches is done. In 10 years we’re all going to swear that we not only clearly remember a movie called Hidden Fences, but that it won Best Picture. Hey, it’s happened before.

Feb. 26 2017 7:12 PM

Watch the Hamilton Cast Move Oscar Nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda to Tears With a Surprise Moana Mashup

The Academy Awards haven’t even started yet, and Best Song nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda is already crying. While walking the red carpet with mother Luz Towns-Miranda, the Hamilton creator got a surprise from the show’s Broadway cast: a video of the Schuyler sisters (Lexi Lawson, Mandy Gonzalez, Alysha Deslorieux) and John Laurens (Jordan Fisher) singing a Moana-Hamilton mashup including lyrics from “You’re Welcome,” “The Schuyler Sisters,” and the Oscar-nominated “How Far I’ll Go.”

Miranda will perform that song with Moana’s Auli'i Cravalho later tonight, but the real question is just how far Miranda will go—he’s one Oscar win away from achieving EGOT status.

Feb. 26 2017 7:05 PM

Moonlight Shocks Oscars, Winning Best Picture After Envelope Mix-Up Mistakenly Gave It to La La Land

The 2017 Academy Awards aired on ABC Sunday night, with La La Land leading the pack with a record-tying 14 nominations. But incredibly, just as La La Land was announced as the night's Best Picture winner (as most had predicted), the victory speeches were cut short by La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz rushing out to announce that, shockingly, there had been a mistake with the envelopes and that Moonlight had actually taken the top honor.

Read more in Slate about this year’s Oscars.