‘Phantom Thread’ dominates annual Village Voice poll of cineastes

The Village Voice’s annual film poll published today looks more like the Academy Award nominations than we have come to expect from its elitist panel of mostly academic voters.

Six of the poll’s top 10 films are Best Picture Oscar nominees, including the first four:  “Phantom Thread,” “Lady Bird,” “Get Out” and “Call Me By Your Name.” No. 6 is “Dunkirk” and “The Shape of Water” is at No. 10.

Conspicuously missing from the top 10, indeed from the top six, is “Three Billboards Out of Ebbing, Missouri.” The poll participants did find room for Oscar front-runners Frances McDormand on its lead performance list, though a distant eighth, and for Sam Rockwell as supporting performance, also at No. 8.

SEE 2018 Oscar nominations: Full list of Academy Awards nominees in all 24 categories

There are three movies on the list that received no Oscar nominations: “Nocturama,” a French drama about a terrorist plot in Paris; “Personal Shopper,” a strange spiritual/horror film featuring a very brave performance by Kristen Stewart; and “A Quiet Passion,” a labored study of poet Emily Dickinson by cineaste favorite Terence Davies.

The most notable thing about the poll is Paul Thomas-Anderson’s favored filmmaker status among the Voice’s elite. Previous Thomas-Anderson films “The Master” and “There Will Be Blood” topped the poll and even his subpar 2014 “Inherent Vice” managed to come in eighth.

Besides being first with “Phantom Thread,” Thomas-Anderson was also No. 1 on the best director list and third among screenwriters. His co-stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps showed up fourth and seventh for lead performances while Lesley Manville came in fourth for supporting performances.

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The Voice’s poll is considerably different from Metaritic.com’s aggregate of 2017 Ten Best lists of working critics at publications across the country. On that list, “Phantom Thread” shows up seventh, behind “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Florida Project,” “Dunkirk” and “The Shape of Water.”

The participants of the Voice poll are both the least influenced and least influential bloc of year-end film collectives. They wear their cineaste credentials proudly and with the knowledge that they’ll play no role in the Academy Awards. In the last 20 years, only two No. 1 films in the poll won the Oscar : the 2008 “The Hurt Locker” and last year’s “Moonlight.” Coincidences.

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