The embargo has finally lifted, ladies and gentlemen! We can at long last discuss The Post, the new Steven Spielberg film, starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. Yes, this super fast tracked project is not only complete, but has been screening pretty consistently for critics, guild members, and the Academy itself. The National Board of Review fell in love with it, and plenty of other voters are about to. We’re a month or so away from release still, but the buzz is building in a big way. Once again, Spielberg has delivered the goods. No one in the industry makes it look as easy as he does. He truly is a master at work.
To begin, this is what IMDb regales us with, in terms of plot: “A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Inspired by true events.” Essentially, this is the story of the fight to publish the Pentagon Papers that went on between the Nixon Administration and newspapers like the Washington Post. Publisher Kay Graham (Streep) and Editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) must risk more than just a paper in order to get the truth out to the American people. The importance of journalistic integrity and the allusions to current political times won’t be lost on anyone. Spielberg directs a script by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, while the A-list ensemble cast includes Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Pat Healy, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Matthew Rhys, Stark Sands, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford, and Zach Woods. Another excellent score comes to us from John Williams, while cinematography is once again by Janusz Kaminski. Everyone does exactly the work you’d expect from them, and I mean that as a compliment.
Spielberg gets to tweak Donald Trump and do his own version of Spotlight here. Think that film mixed with the Bridge of Spies aesthetic and you more or less have The Post. It’s not a home run, but it’s rock solid and entertaining in a way that the master seems to do effortlessly. It also marks great roles for Hanks and Streep, with the former having a blast clearly and the latter getting to really showcase her ample talents by the end. A slightly sluggish beginning hurts things, but it wraps up like gangbusters. That’s just one reason it’s going to play quite well to the Academy and its membership, and already has started.
Since everyone here is basically Hollywood royalty, it’s easy to assume that The Post should dominate the Oscars. There’s an across the board campaign already launched, hoping to compete in Best Picture, Best Director (for Spielberg), Best Actor (for Hanks), Best Actress (for Streep), Best Supporting Actor (for Greenwood, Letts, Odenkirk, Rhys, and Whitford), Best Supporting Actress (for Coon and Paulson), Best Original Screenplay (for Hannah and Singer), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. Picture itself, along with Hanks, Spielberg, and Streep, all seem like they could happen. It’s just too baity to be ignored, in all likelihood.
On December 22nd, The Post will open in limited release for Academy Award consideration, before opening wider in early January. As mentioned above, it’s already screening in earnest for voters of all stripes, so it won’t be for lack of an effort if it misses anywhere notable during the precursor season. I remain skeptical about any wins, but Streep might go on a run in Actress, as she’s done in the past. Still, this is as safe a bet for Oscar attention in some way as any contender. It’s just everything a traditional voter wants. Now, we just wait and see what happens…
Stay tuned for more on The Post as the month progresses on!