Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: The Post (dir by Steven Spielberg)


So, I finally sat down and watched the 2017 film, The Post.

The Post is something of an odd film.  Imagine if someone made a film about the production of a movie.  And imagine if, instead of focusing on the actors or the members of the crew or even the director, the film was instead about the studio executives sitting back in Hollywood and debating whether or not they should agree to give the director another million dollars to complete the film.  Imagine dramatic scenes of the execs meeting with their accountants to determine whether they can spare an extra million dollars.  Imagine triumphant music swelling in the background as one of the execs announces that they’ll raise the budget but only in return for getting to pick the title of the director’s next film.  The Post is kind of like that.  It’s a film about journalism that’s more concerned with publishers and editors than with actual journalists.

To be honest, The Post‘s deification of the bosses shouldn’t really be that much of a shock.  This is a Steven Spielberg film and a part of Spielberg’s legend has always been that, of all the young, maverick directors who emerged in the 70s, he was always the one who was the most comfortable dealing with the studio execs.  As opposed to directors like Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, and Francis Ford Coppola, Spielberg got along with the bosses and they loved him.  While his contemporaries were talking about burning Hollywood down and transforming the culture, Spielberg was happily joining the establishment and reshaping American cinema.  No one can deny that Spielberg is a talented filmmaker.  It’s just that, if anyone was going to make a movie celebrating management, you just know it would be Steven Spielberg.

Taking place in the early 70s, The Post deals with the decision to publish The Pentagon Papers, which were thirty years worth of classified documents dealing with America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.  Since the Pentagon Papers revealed that the government spent several decades lying to the American people about the situation in Vietnam, there’s naturally a lot of pushback from the government.  It all leads to one of those monumental supreme court decisions, the type that usually ends a movie like this.  And while the film does acknowledge that there were journalists involved in breaking the story, it devotes most of its attention to editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep).

Gasp as Ben and Katharine debate whether to publish the story!

Shudder as Katharine tries to figure out how to keep the Post from going bankrupt.

Watch as Ben Bradlee talks to the legal department!

Thrill as Katharine Graham learns that her family friends, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, weren’t always honest with her!

And listen, I get it.  The Post isn’t as much about Nixon and the Vietnam War as it’s about Trump and the modern-day war on the media.  And yes, we get plenty of scenes of Tom Hanks explaining why freedom of the press is important and the movie ends in typical Spielberg fashion, with triumphant music and all the rest.  But watching The Post, it’s hard not to think about other films that celebrated journalism, films like All The President’s Men and Spotlight.  Both of those films featured scenes of editors supporting their reporters.  In fact, All The President’s Men featured Jason Robards playing the same editor that Tom Hanks plays in The Post.  But Spotlight and All The President’s Men focused on the journalists and the hard work that goes into breaking an important story.  Robards and Spotlight‘s Michael Keaton played editors who were willing to stand up and defend their reporters but, at the same time, those films emphasized that it was the underpaid and underappreciated reporters who were often putting their careers (and sometimes, their lives) on the line to break a story.  Whereas Spotlight and All The President’s Men showed us why journalism is important, The Post is content to merely tell us.

The Post was a famously rushed production.  Shooting started in May of 2017 and was completed in November, all so it could be released in December and receive Oscar consideration.  Production was rushed because Spielberg, Streep, and Hanks all felt that it was important to make a statement about Trump’s treatment of the press.  While I can see their point and I don’t deny that they had noble intentions, a rushed production is still going to lead to a rushed film.  The Post is a sloppy film, full of way too much on-the-nose dialogue and scenes that just seem to be missing Spielberg’s usual visual spark.  It feels less like a feature film and more like a well-made HBO production.  Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep give performances that are all surface.  Streep’s performance is all mannered technique while Hanks occasionally puts his feet up on his desk and furrows his brow.

It gets frustrating because, watching the film, you get the feeling that there’s a great movie to be made about the Pentagon Papers and the struggle to publish them.  I’d love to know what the actual reporters went through to get their hands on the papers.  But The Post is more interested in management than the workers.

All through 2017, The Post was touted as being a sure Oscar front-runner.  When it was released, it received respectful but hardly enthusiastic reviews.  In the end, it only received two nominations — one for best picture and one for Streep.  In a year dominated by Lady Bird, Shape of Water, Get Out, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Post turned to be a nonfactor.  For all the hype and expectations, it’s the film that you usually forget whenever you’re trying to remember everything that was nominated last year.

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For December!


With awards season now in full swing, I’m a lot more confident when it comes to making my Oscar predictions.  While I don’t know if it’s possible to guess with one hundred per cent accuracy, I would say that I’m 99.9% sure that these predictions are going to line up with January’s nominations.

If I’m wrong … well, keep it to yourself.

Be sure to check out my earlier predictions for November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, and January.

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Dunkirk

The Florida Project

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Best Director

Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape Of Water

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Jordan Peele for Get Out

Steven Spielberg for The Post

Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Best Actress

Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird

Meryl Streep in The Post

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Christopher Plummer in All The Money In The World

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige in Mudbound

Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Allison Janney in I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

In case you’re wondering which sites I use to keep informed about the developments in the Oscar race, my two favorites are Awards Circuit and Awards Watch.  Both of them are more than worth a visit and are run by people who have a much better track record than I do, as far as predicting these things is concerned!

 

 

Here Are The 2017 Nominations From The Chicago Independent Film Critics!


The Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle should not be mistaken for the Chicago Film Critics Association.  However, since they’re both in Chicago, that does give me an excuse to once again use this picture of Al Capone.

Here are the nominees!

THE 10 BEST INDEPENDENT FILMS (in alphabetical order):

The Big Sick, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project, Get Out, A Ghost Story, Lady Bird, Lucky, Mudbound, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

THE 10 BEST STUDIO FILMS (in alphabetical order):

Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Logan, The Lost City of Z, mother!, Phantom Thread, The Post, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman


The complete list of nominees for the 2017 CIFCC Awards:

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

BEST STUDIO FILM

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • Raw
  • The Square
  • Thelma

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Faces Places
  • Jane
  • Whose Streets?

BEST ANIMATED FILM

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • The Big Sick– Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
  • Get Out- Jordan Peele
  • Lady Bird- Greta Gerwig

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Call Me By Your Name- James Ivory
  • The Disaster Artist- Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
  • Mudbound– Dee Rees and Virgil Williams

BEST ACTOR

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

  • Get Out
  • Mudbound
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Blade Runner 2049– Roger Deakins
  • Dunkirk- Hoyte van Hoytema
  • The Shape of Water– Dan Laustsen

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Blade Runner 2049– Dennis Gassner
  • mother!- Philip Messina
  • The Shape of Water- Paul D. Austerberry

BEST EDITING

BEST COSTUME DESIGN AND MAKEUP

  • Darkest Hour– Jacqueline Durran (costumes), Kazuhiro Tsuji, Lucy Sibbick and David Malinowski (makeup)
  • Phantom Thread– Mark Bridges (costumes), Paul Engelen (makeup)
  • The Shape of Water– Luis Sequeria (costumes), Jordan Samuel and Paula Fleet (makeup)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS


TRAILBLAZER AWARD

  • Sean Baker, The Florida Project
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Dee Rees, Mudbound

IMPACT AWARD

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

Here Are The 2017 Nominations of The Florida Film Critics!


Oddly, the Florida Film Critics showed very little love to The Florida Project.  The acclaimed film only received one nomination, for Willem DaFoe.

BEST PICTURE

  • “Call Me By Your Name”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Shape Of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Christopher Nolan – “Dunkirk”
  • Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird”
  • Guillermo del Toro – “The Shape of Water”
  • Jordan Peele – “Get Out”
  • Martin McDonagh – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR

  • Daniel Kaluuya – “Get Out”
  • Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”
  • James Franco – “The Disaster Artist”
  • Robert Pattinson – “Good Time”
  • Timothée Chalamet – “Call Me By Your Name”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Cynthia Nixon – “A Quiet Passion
  • Frances McDormand – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Margot Robbie – “I, Tonya”
  • Sally Hawkins – “The Shape of Water”
  • Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Armie Hammer – “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Barry Keoghan – “The Killing of A Sacred Deer”
  • Michael Stuhlbarg – “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Sam Rockwell – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Willem Dafoe – “The Florida Project”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Allison Janney – “I, Tonya”
  • Holly Hunter – “The Big Sick”
  • Hong Chau – “Downsizing”
  • Laurie Metcalf – “Lady Bird”
  • Mary J. Blige – “Mudbound”

BEST ENSEMBLE

  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Get Out”
  • “I, Tonya”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Big Sick”
  • “The Shape Of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Big Sick”
  • “The Shape Of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • “Call Me By Your Name”
  • “Marjorie Prime”
  • “Molly’s Game”
  • “The Disaster Artist”
  • “The Lost City of Z”
  • “Wonderstruck”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Personal Shopper”
  • “The Post”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Wonderstruck”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Phantom Thread”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Wonderstruck”

BEST SCORE

  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Phantom Thread”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • “Dawson City: Frozen Time”
  • “Ex Libris: New York Public Library”
  • “Faces Places”
  • “Jane”
  • “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”
  • “Kedi”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • “BPM”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “Loveless”
  • “The Ornithologist”
  • “The Square”

BEST ANIMATED FILM

BEST FIRST FILM

BREAKOUT AWARD

  • Barry Keoghan
  • Greta Gerwig
  • Jordan Peele
  • Millicent Simmonds
  • Timothée Chalamet

The Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Honors The Shape of Water and Hugh Jackman!


The Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society has named their picks for the best of 2017!

Best Picture
“The Shape of Water”

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins – “The Shape of Water”

Best Actor
Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”

Best Supporting Actress
Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Best Supporting Actor – TIE
Patrick Stewart – “Logan ”
Michael Stuhlbarg – “Call Me by Your Name”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin – “Molly’s Game”

Best Original Screenplay
Jordan Peele – “Get Out”

Best Male Director
Guillermo del Toro – “The Shape of Water”

Best Female Director
Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird”

Best Animated Film
“Coco”

Best Foreign Film
“The Square”

Best Documentary – TIE
“Jane”
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond”

Best Visual Effects
“War for The Planet of the Apes”

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”

Best Blockbuster
“Wonder Woman”

Best Independent Film
“Lady Bird”

Best First Feature
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Best Comedy or Musical
“The Big Sick ”

Best Action/War
“Baby Driver”

Best Sci-Fi/Horror
“Get Out ”

Best Actor or Actress 23 and Under
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Best Stunt Work
“Baby Driver”

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”

Best Editing
Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, “Baby Driver”

Best Visual Effect Performance
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

Special Awards 

Trailblazer Award: Jessica Chastain

LAOFCS Achievement Award: Hugh Jackman

Here Are The Online Film Critics Society Nominations!


The winners will be announced on December 28th.

It’s interesting to note that The Post is almost totally shut out here.  One thing I’ve noticed that critics who work for newspapers love The Post.  They see it as proof of their importance.  Online critics are far less impressed with The Post.  They tend to view it as a lament for a dead medium, a somewhat stodgy celebration of the past.  Whenever I finally get a chance to see The Post, I’ll let you know who’s right.

Best Picture
Call Me By Your Name
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
A Ghost Story
Lady Bird
mother!
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Best Actor
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Robert Pattinson – Good Time

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Cynthia Nixon – A Quiet Passion
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor
Armie Hammer – Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Patrick Stewart – Logan
Michael Stuhlbarg – Call Me By Your Name

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Holly Hunter – The Big Sick
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

Best Ensemble
Get Out
Mudbound
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Breakout Star
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Dafne Keen – Logan
Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project

Best Original Screenplay
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor – The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sofia Coppola – The Beguiled
James Ivory – Call Me By Your Name
Scott Nestadter and Micheal Weber – The Disaster Artist
James Gray – Lost City of Z
Aaron Sorkin – Molly’s Game

Best Editing
Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos – Baby Driver
Lee Smith – Dunkirk
Ben Safdie and Ronald Bronstein – Good Time
Tatiana S Riegel – I, Tonya
Sidney Wolinsky – The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049
Hoyte van Hoytema – Dunkirk
Darius Khondji – Lost City of Z
Rachel Morrison – Mudbound
Dan Laustsen – The Shape of Water

Best Animated Feature
Coco
The Breadwinner
In This Corner Of The World
The LEGO Batman Movie
Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Film
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
First They Killed My Father
Nocturama
Raw
The Square
Thelma

Best Documentary
Dawson City: Frozen Time
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Faces Places
Jane
The Work

Memorial Award
Jonathan Demme
John Hurt
Bill Paxton
George A. Romero
Harry Dean Stanton

Lifetime Achievement Award
Willem Dafoe
Daniel Day-Lewis
Roger Deakins
Christopher Plummer
Agnes Varda

Rising From the Flame, The Phoenix Critics Circle Reveals Their Nominations For The Best of 2017!


 

Yesterday, the Phoenix Critics Circle revealed their nominations for the best films and performances of 2017!

Best Picture

  • “Dunkirk”
  • “The Florida Project”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Comedy Film

  • “The Big Sick”
  • “The Disaster Artist”
  • “I, Tonya”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Logan Lucky”

Best Science Fiction Film

Best Horror Film

Best Mystery or Thriller Film

  • “The Beguiled”
  • “Get Out”
  • “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
  • “mother!”
  • “Murder on the Orient Express”
  • “The Post”
  • “Split”
  • “Wind River”

Best Animated Film

Best Foreign Language Film

  • “BPM (Beats per Minute)”
  • “In the Fade”
  • Raw”
  • “The Square”
  • “Thelma”

Best Documentary

  • “City of Ghosts”
  • “Jane”
  • “Step”
  • “Whose Streets”

Best Actor

  • Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
  • James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
  • Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
  • Harry Dean Stanton, “Lucky”

Best Actress

  • Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
  • Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
  • Armie Hammer, “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, “Call Me by Your Name”

Best Supporting Actress

  • Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
  • Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
  • Allison Janney, “I Tonya”
  • Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
  • Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Best Director

Best Screenplay

  • Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
  • Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, “The Post”
  • Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
  • Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”

Best Score

  • Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”
  • Jonny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread”
  • Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer, “Blade Runner 2049”
  • Hans Zimmer, “Dunkirk”