By all accounts, 2017 has been a fantastic year for movies... and we're not even finished yet. There are still blockbusters (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), dramas (Molly's Game), comedies (Father Figures) and awards contenders (The Post, Downsizing, Phantom Thread) all ready to reach theaters. But around this time of year, major critics organizations begin to organize the Best in cinema, with multiple groups serving as bellwethers for the developing Oscar season.
The National Board of Review is one such group, and today they named Steven Spielberg's The Post as the Best Movie of 2017. The riveting drama discusses the responsibility to publish documents that implicated our government in a cover-up during the Vietnam War. It's Spielberg at his finest, leading an incredible ensemble that includes Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. In addition to The Post, the NBR named these movies as the 11 Best of 2017 (in alphabetical order):
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
The Florida Project
And for the first time in years, I don't think I have a single issue with any of the movies that have been included in NBR's list. Even Downsizing, which many critics disliked, was a wild ride from the mind of Alexander Payne that was wholly unpredictable and, potentially, heavy handed but fascinating in its commentaries. That pick, though is going to drive a number of Oscar Armchair Quarterbacks insane.
Breaking down the individual races, The National Board of Review gave Best Actor to Tom Hanks and Best Actress to Meryl Streep, both of The Post. Best Director went to Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird, while Get Out claimed Best Ensemble. I'm really hoping that Jordan Peele's smash hit can continue to build momentum... something that's usually difficult for films that came out earlier in the year.
The selections of Logan and Baby Driver point to the success of the mainstream films this year, cracking into the Oscar conversation when, in years past, superhero dramas and popcorn summer flicks like Baby would be left out in the cold. There has been discussion already online about Wonder Woman not getting in over Logan (though Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot did receive special recognition from NBR for their achievement). But it shows that this year's Oscar race may open the door to more crowdpleasers like James Mangold's Logan... and the popular Dunkirk, as well.