I eliminated The Post first. To me, it was the most boring movie. I remember that era, and that Kay Graham flew in to LBJ’s parties every weekend down on his ranch — that I would have liked to have seen! I give it nine yawns out of ten. Then Three Billboards — there were a lot of things about it that bothered me. I heard the writer-director [Martin McDonagh] talk, and he seems like a very nice guy, but his film offered an awful take on what middle America is like. It was pretentious and false. If it was meant to be a farce, I didn’t find it funny — I don’t find bigotry funny, I don’t find a grownup hitting children funny, I don’t find someone blowing up a police station funny. These people were just caricatures.
Then I eliminated Get Out. It’s a good B-movie and I enjoyed it, but what bothered me afterwards was that instead of focusing on the fact that this was an entertaining little horror movie that made quite a bit of money, they started trying to suggest it had deeper meaning than it does, and, as far as I’m concerned, they played the race card, and that really turned me off. In fact, at one of the luncheons, the lead actor [Daniel Kaluuya], who is not from the United States [he’s British], was giving us a lecture on racism in America and how black lives matter, and I thought, “What does this have to do with Get Out? They’re trying to make me think that if I don’t vote for this movie, I’m a racist.” I was really offended. That sealed it for me.
[In Call Me by Your Name,] one guy [Armie Hammer] comes off as a 35-year-old hitting on a 17-year-old [22-year-old Timothee Chalamet], and that just bothered me — although I loved the cinematography and that house in Italy, which I understand is up for sale now. Then came Dunkirk. It was impressively made, but there was no heart or humanity in it, and I learned more about Dunkirk from five minutes of Darkest Hour than I did from the whole movie Dunkirk. Next out was Phantom Thread, which was beautifully made, but there was no one to like in the film. Lady Bird I liked quite a lot, but not enough to vote for it at number one.
That left it down to Darkest Hour and The Shape of Water. Darkest Hour was pretty much a perfect movie to me — well, maybe not the subway scene, but it was really well done overall, and you really understood from it the courage that it took from Churchill to save that country. I wish we had more politicians today who were as courageous. While I thought it was the best movie of the year, I didn’t think it would have a chance of winning, so I put The Shape of Water, which I also liked a lot, at number one. It’s a beautiful film with a good story well told — horror meets love — and I’ll be very happy if it wins.
My Vote: The Shape of Water