Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we get our first 2018 Oscar predictions up and running the announcement of the Pentagon Papers collaboration between Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep goes from announcement to fast-track for a 2017 release in just a matter of days.
It’s no small feat, either. All three Oscar winners cleared their schedules or moved greenlit projects off to make this happen. Spielberg was prepping The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara for a 2017 release (and was heavily predicted by the Gold Rush Gang in those first predictions) and is in post- production on Ready Player One (set for March 2018). His hunt for the perfect child actor for Mortara is one of the factors that led to that film getting pushed to a 2018 start. That opens up the schedules of Mark Rylance and Oscar Isaac, both set to star in Mortara (but also opens up their Oscar chances in other 2017 films). Hanks was ready to start the WWII thriller Greyhound but now that’s pushed back. This marks Hanks’s fifth collaboration with Spielberg. Streep is currently filming Mary Poppins Returns in London but will be long finished by the time The Post begins. While she has worked with Spielberg before, doing the voice of The Blue Fairy in A.I., this will be her first live-action film with the acclaimed director. This trio has won eight Oscars and has an astonishing 41 nominations between them.
The Post details one of the most volatile and well-known newspaper stories of all time, when The Washington Post fought to expose The Pentagon Papers – the leaked government documents amidst accusations of treason by the White House at the time. The Pentagon Papers was a classified study by the Defense Departement that revealed the Johnson and Nixon administrations had perpetuated the Vietnam War despite a clear inability to win it and lying to the American people about everything from its success to the escalation of troops and secret bombings. Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst at the time and the source of the leaks, initially gave photocopied reports to the New York Times who began publishing the documents but stopped. The Washington Post then picked up where they left off. Despite taking place in 1971, the story is mirroring what is happening right now with the current White House and WikiLeaks, making what’s old new again. Interestingly enough, it’s The Washington Post who is again at the forefront of combatting the current administration in the face of heavy scrutiny by the White House.
In the film, Hanks will play Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and Streep will play the newspaper’s first female publisher, Katharine Graham. In an Oscar full circle, this is the second film to feature Bradlee. 1976’s All the President’s Men, which dealt with Nixon’s Watergate scandal (which was the aftermath of the reveal of the Pentagon Papers), won four Oscars – including Best Supporting Actor for Jason Robards, playing Bradlee. Bradlee’s son (Ben Bradlee Jr.) was a part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team from The Boston Globe that exposed rampant pedophilia among Boston Catholic priests and its cover-up by the church. Bradlee Jr. was played by John Slattery and the film based on the story, Spotlight, was last year’s Best Picture winner.
The Post will be released in the US by 20th Century Fox with Spielberg, Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger producing from a script by Liz Hannah. No date announced yet.
Watch for updated predictions from The Gold Rush Gang this weekend.