Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
This time of year is my annual Oscar Quest, during which I venture out to see all Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, regardless of whether I think I’ll like them or not, whether their politics and beliefs agree with mine or not, whether they’re good or bad for me, and whether or not my friends and family have ever heard of them. I’ve seen every Best Picture nominee from 1997 to the present. As of February 21st I’ve officially seen all nine of this year’s Best Picture nominees. I’m not sure I’ll be able to cover the others in full before the Oscars telecast on March 4th, but let’s see how far I can get before I burn out.
Onward to nominee #7: writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, reportedly the acting farewell of Daniel Day-Lewis, the closest that men have to an answer to Meryl Streep. I’ve only seen one other PTA film, the stunning There Will Be Blood, in which he guided Day-Lewis through brutally yet artfully steamrolling any and all other actors in his path. In their latest team-up he plays another smug period-piece professional with deplorable ideas about how to be the best there is at what he does, but this time winning the movie through sheer force of will wasn’t quite so simple.