Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Oct. 20 2016 3:31 PM

Bob Dylan Finally Acknowledges His Nobel Prize Win, but Just Barely

It’s been a week since the Swedish Academy decided to award Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for Literature, sparking conversations about whether it was deserved and the changing nature of the prize. But seemingly the only person not to weigh in on the matter was the recipient himself: Earlier this week, the Swedish Academy basically gave up on trying to get in touch with Dylan after he didn't return their calls, and the musician had yet to even publicly acknowledge that he knew he’d won. Until today.

Some keen-eyed individuals spotted the award listed on Dylan’s website, on a page promoting his book of lyrics, aptly title The Lyrics: 1961-2012. “WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE,” touts the page in all caps.


Given how subtly the award is listed (it doesn’t make the homepage or even the news section of the site), this seems like the barest of acknowledgements, but it’s more than we had to go by previously. We still don’t know, however, whether the folk icon will attend the ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.*

*Correction, October 20, 2016: This post originally misstated that the Nobel Prize Award ceremony will take place on Nov. 10. The ceremony will take place Dec. 10.

Oct. 20 2016 12:31 PM

The Gotham Independent Film Nominations Kick Off Awards Season, and Manchester by the Sea Dominates

With the announcement of the Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations, it’s safe to say we are now wholeheartedly in the midst of awards season. Sundance favoriteManchester by the Sea, in which Casey Affleck plays a man who becomes the legal guardian of his nephew after his brother’s unexpected death, continues to carry that enthusiasm into the fall, leading the pack with four nominations. Right behind it with three nods each are Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, the latter of which has gained a lot of Oscar buzz as it’s made the festival rounds.

Other films and performances that have seem to confirm their strong awards season potential—the documentary O.J. Made in America, Annette Bening in 20th Century Women, Natalie Portman in Jackie, and Ruth Negga for Loving. The Gotham Awards, however, don’t have a particularly high record for indicating that long shots have a real chance at the Oscars. Last year, for instance, the critically appreciated but mostly overlooked Diary of a Teenage Girl dominated the nominations here, but didn’t go much further as the season went on; Everybody Wants Some!! and Craig Robinson in Morris From America, both highly praised this year, seem likely to experience the same fate.

Check out all of the nominees below.

Oct. 20 2016 12:10 PM

The Trailer for Hugh Jackman’s Final Wolverine Film Promises a Different Kind of Superhero Movie

Superhero movie trailers tend to follow a pretty set formula: They start with an ominous thud, they build to the threat of apocalypse and the destruction of a famous skyline, and then the obligatory giant 3-D letters soar into view. The new trailer for Logan, however, is something different. The “money shot” it all builds up to is just an old man and a young girl, looking surprisingly vulnerable, and holding hands. The title screen is as simple as it gets: 2-D letters, white on black.

In fact, Logan, which Hugh Jackman says will be his 10th and final film as Wolverine, looks less like a superhero movie than a sort of post-superhero movie. “Mutants. They’re gone now,” Jackman’s title character, going by his more common name rather than his superhero moniker, says early on. Patrick Stewart, too, returns as Charles Xavier, but there’s nothing to signal that he’s Professor X, or really anything other than a weakening old man. Everyone seems less superhuman than human.

Oct. 20 2016 10:43 AM

Here’s the First Teaser for the Obama-in-His-College Years Movie, Barry

As if to capitalize on the intense nostalgia many folks are no doubt experiencing right now in the midst of this ridiculous election season, 2016 has bequeathed us not one, but twofeature films about Barack Obama, pre-presidency. The first one released earlier this year, Southside With You, was a Before Sunrise-esque romantic drama that followed young summer associate Barack and attorney Michelle on their first date around Chicago. The second, Netflix’s upcoming original movie Barry, takes us even further back into Obama’s past: His college years.

The first teaser doesn’t tell us much beyond a mood—there’s no dialogue, only the soulful groove of “Nobody Knows” by Pastor T.L. Garrett, and Australian actor Devon Terrell as the man himself, wandering through different spaces and times (various hallways, Columbia University’s campus; a dance party).

Oct. 20 2016 10:32 AM

Stephen Colbert Was About as Angry as Colbert Gets at Trump’s “I’ll Keep You in Suspense” Comment  

Donald Trump refused to say whether he would accept the results of the election during last night’s debate. “I’ll tell you at the time,” he said. “I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?” Hillary Clinton called Trump’s apparent reluctance to concede “horrifying,” and in a live Late Show monologue shortly afterward, Stephen Colbert agreed. “Oh, suspense! Democracy’s going to end in a cliffhanger,” said Colbert. “I guess we’re all going to have to wait until Nov. 9 to find out if we still have a country, if Donald Trump is in the mood for a peaceful transfer of power, or if he’s going to wipe his fat ass with the Constitution.” It was a satisfying moment that felt like a glimpse of pure, Colbert-ian rage.

Colbert also mocked other highlights of the debate, questioning how anyone could dispute Clinton’s argument that toddlers killing people is bad and Trump’s assertion that no one respects women more than he does.* Colbert also flaunted his Emmys, making fun of the fact that Trump is still bitter over not winning one for The Apprentice. “Trump lost to the Amazing Race? This year, it could go to the amazing racist.”


*Correction, October 20, 2016: This post originally misstated that Trump mocked highlights of the debate. Colbert was the one who mocked highlights of the debate, of course.

Oct. 20 2016 8:32 AM

Billy Bush’s Biggest Mistake in the Trump-Tape Aftermath

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Even though it wasn’t official until Monday afternoon, Billy Bush’s nascent career as the Today show’s 9 a.m. co-anchor was probably over the moment the Washington Post published audio of his now-infamous conversation with Donald Trump, in which he could be heard in a leakedAccess Hollywood tape from 2005 giggling and egging on the now-presidential candidate as he bragged about sexually assaulting women. Senior NBC management may not have immediately realized it, but most folks outside the 30 Rock bubble immediately saw how having someone who said the things Bush said continue to host a fluffy, feature-packed hour meant to appeal to middle-aged female viewers was … ridiculous. And yet, as awful and damning as the audio tape was for Bush, it’s his behavior since that has made me question what sort of future he has in mainstream TV. Specifically, it’s what Bush has failed to do, even 11 days after the fact: Offer a specific and sincere apology to both Nancy O’Dell and Arianne Zucker, the women whom he and Trump verbally degraded on tape.

Oct. 20 2016 8:02 AM

The Couple Behind Being Mary Jane on What It’s Like as Muslims to Watch the Rise of Trump

Writer and showrunner Mara Brock Akil and director Salim Akil are one of the most powerful couples in television right now, having put forth beloved shows like Girlfriends, The Game, and Being Mary Jane, and having just signed a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. TV to develop a new series with the studio. At the American Black Film Festival last summer, I spoke with them about their creative process, what it was like to leave Being Mary Jane for new ventures, and how politics influences their work.

And as is pretty much always the case in 2016, the conversation eventually turned to Donald Trump. The couple, who are Muslim, gave their perspectives on the presidential candidate and how the potential of a Trump win made them feel. Said Salim: “It’s less about Trump, and more about the people … If the American people are willing to elect someone like that president, then that’s more of a problem.”

Oct. 20 2016 5:39 AM

The Teaser for Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness Promises an Upbeat Look at Physical Fitness

As the grueling election season drags on, it’s more important than ever to have things to look forward to in the coming months. On Wednesday, just in time to lift the nation’s mood before the debate, Gore Verbinski released the delightful teaser trailer for his upcoming film A Cure For Wellness, which he directed from a screenplay by Justin Haythe. From the bright, sunny lighting to the jaunty bass line of the music—an arrangement of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” that somehow manages to be even more energetic than the original—everything about this film says fun, fun, fun!

In the tradition of other great non-political works of art like Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia, A Cure For Wellness looks to be, above all, a celebration of the human form. Dane DeHaan plays a young business executive who is sent on a restorative trip to a Swiss health spa. Surrounded by natural beauty and stunning architecture, DeHaan’s merry voyage through the spa looks like just the thing to clear the cobwebs of the election. Calisthenics, swimming, dance: Verbinski’s camera captures the body transformed and perfected through the cleansing power of physical activity (and restorative treatments overseen by kindly spa director Jason Isaacs). It turns out DeHaan’s diagnosis is a bad case of hilarity, and the only cure is a romance with fellow patient Mia Goth (and also, eels). Though the trailer doesn’t make it clear exactly what sort of shenanigans DeHaan and Goth will get up to, this joyous romp looks like it will be a family thrill ride to rival Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean films. On February 17, audiences will have the chance to fill their prescriptions for the very best medicine there is: laughter! Thank you, Doctor Verbinksi!

Oct. 20 2016 2:12 AM

Fact Check: What Was Donald Trump Doing During the Bin Laden Raid?

At Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, Hillary Clinton drew a strong contrast between her history of public service and Donald Trump’s history of discrimination lawsuits and beauty pageant feuds. But one of her comparisons was very precise: “On the day when I was in the situation room monitoring the raid that brought Osama Bin Laden to justice, he was hosting The Celebrity Apprentice.”

It was a strong moment for the Democratic nominee: All Americans have indelible memories of the day the United States finally defeated Bin Laden, to say nothing of our memories of the fourth season of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which country singer John Rich finally defeated actress Marlee Matlin. But does Clinton’s timeline add up? Thanks to the incredible reporting of Vulture’s Tom Scharpling and James Oliphant of the Los Angeles Times, we’ve managed to reconstruct the precise sequence of events that fateful day in May when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made history:

Oct. 19 2016 4:28 PM

Michael Moore’s Surprise Trump Documentary Isn’t What You’d Expect a Michael Moore Trump Documentary to Be

A new film about the election by left-wing provocateur Michael Moore was screened in New York on Tuesday night, and according to Moore, should be making its way online soon. To call it a “documentary,” as some outlets have done, is not quite right: the 73-minute film is actually just a recording of Moore’s one-man stage show about Hillary Clinton, which he performed in front of a live audience—and a camera crew—in Wilmington, Ohio in early October. As Moore told fans on Tuesday, editing and post-production on the movie—which has more in common with a stand-up special than Moore’s previous films—were completed just a few hours before the premiere.