Dinner with Oscar: Phantom Thread


Each year, I try to watch every movie nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award before the Oscars ceremony. As I do this, I will write a brief review of each movie, along with a suggestion of what to eat and/or drink to pair with the movie.

I was excited for Phantom Thread because I love movies that people describe as lush. Period dramas with extravagant costumes and set designs are my favorites, and this is a period drama about costumes and clothes.

People tend to get excited about Paul Thomas Anderson films but I haven’t seen anything from him than Fiona Apple music videos and There Will Be Blood. I’ve been told this is a deficiency I should correct. And after seeing Phantom Thread, I’m inclined to. This movie deftly redirects expectations and plays fast and loose with traditional antagonist/protagonist roles. It’s also a beautiful, highly textured film, filled with shots of beautiful fabrics, clothes, people, and food. 

No review of mine would be complete without a complaint, though. The picture is about a highly creative and talented man, Reynolds Woodcock [Daniel Day-Lewis] who behaves like a tyrant to the people in his life. Yawn. It’s also about an older man who has a young female muse du jour who he keeps and discards at his pleasure. Double fucking yawn. 

However, just because a movie has tropes doesn’t always mean it’s bad, and in this case the power dynamic shifts in unexpected and darkly delightful ways. 

In addition to Best Picture, Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated for Lead Actor, Lesley Manville [who plays Day-Lewis’s sister] is nominated for Supporting Actress, Paul Thomas Anderson got a Best Director nomination. It’s also nominated for Score and Costume Design.

I think it’s among the best of the films nominated, but it’s going up against Three Billboards which won the Golden Globe and The Post. Those two seem to be the films to beat and I don’t think Phantom Thread will do it. 

This movie has garnered extra attention because Daniel Day-Lewis has said this is his last film, and so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Academy awarded him based on that. But he’s also won three Oscars already and I think the statue is going to Gary Oldman this year. 

I don’t think Anderson will win for director this year, but I’d like to see it win for Costume Design. The costumes really are gorgeous.


What to make: The obvious choice here is a mushroom omelette, but that’s impractical for party purposes. Stuffed mushrooms would be a much more party-ready dish while still winking at a pivotal scene in the movie.

Another choice is asparagus, alluding to the scene in which Woodcock berates Alma for preparing it incorrectly. Make sure to prepare it with oil, so as not to upset any temperamental savants who might be in attendance.