'The Post' and 'Lady Bird' make early leaps in awards race as 'Get Out' gets more love

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in ‘The Post’ (Fox)

Stop the presses: The Post has officially announced itself as a bona fide Oscar contender.

Sight unseen, pundits have been predicting for months that The Post would be the film to beat this year, especially after no clear frontrunner emerged from the fall festivals. After all, The Post is a highly topical drama about The President vs. The Press. The film also has a peerless pedigree, featuring the first-ever teaming of screen titans Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks under the direction of Steven Spielberg.

And now that The Post has finally been screened for press, the film about how the Nixon White House battled the Washington Post over the release of the Pentagon Papers, turns out to be actually excellent.

A day after the first reactions to the film hit Twitter, The Post made headlines Tuesday for an early awards triumph, named Best Film of 2017 by the National Board of Review, while Streep and Hanks won accolades for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively.

While the NBR’s impact on the Oscars remains debatable, the awards race does often come down to trends, and the early birds at 108-year-old organization could establish some favorites. Other big winners included the much-lauded Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) in the supporting acting categories, while there was a shocker — as shocking as the NBR winners get, anyway — in Best Director as the honor went to first-time (solo) filmmaker Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird.

The NBR also releases its Top 10 films of the year (a list that inexplicably does not include the group’s Best Film pick, but we’ll ride with it), filled with a mix of expected choices (Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, The Florida Project, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread) and some surprises (Baby Driver, The Disaster Artist, Downsizing, Logan). Among the egregiously snubbed were Best Picture contenders like Mudbound, The Big Sick, and Blade Runner 2049, along with a pair of Fox Searchlight titles — The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri —that were big winners on the festival circuit but whose awards chances took a hit when they were both left off the Independent Spirit Awards ballot.

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in ‘Lady Bird’ (A24)

Let’s talk about Lady Bird, though, which is having one helluva week. On Sunday, the exceptional, charming, an exceptionally charming coming-of-age film written and directed by Gerwig was declared the best-reviewed movie OF ALL TIME on Rotten Tomatoes.

On Monday night, its stunning lead actress, Saoirse Ronan, who plays a high school senior yearning to ditch Sacramento, won Best Actress at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. Then came the NBR wins… and, well, it’s only Tuesday. Suddenly the buzzed-about indie, which also nabbed four Spirit Award noms, is looking like a sure thing come Oscar time.

Gotham saved the most accolades for two other films, however.  Call Me by Your Name, another beloved coming-of-ager, won Best Feature, while Jordan Peele’s brilliant social thriller (comedy?) Get Out, scored the Breakthrough Director Award and Best Screenplay for Peele (but not Best Documentary). Despite the challenges for a genre movie, Get Out continues to look like the real deal as the awards race takes shape.

“What if Best Director is Jordan Peele vs. Greta Gerwig?,” one Twitterer posited today. Yes, please; however, Mr. Spielberg might have something to say about it.

Watch Jordan Peele reveal how he directed Get Out scenes while doing impressions:

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