According to comments from Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson during the latest “Screen Talk” podcast, the Academy steak-eaters (i.e., older straight dudes with spreading midsections) have shared some eye-rolling opinions, at least in Thompson’s view.

One guy, she says, told her he “didn’t like seeing Sally Hawkins naked” in The Shape of Water, “and I was like ‘oh my God!'” And a lot of men, Thompson says, don’t identify with the young girl protagonist in Angelina Jolie‘s First They Killed My Father.

And one thing that especially concerns Thompson, she says, is that “some of the [Academy] men are not necessarily fond of the feminist message” in Steven Spielberg‘s The Post (Sony, 12.22), and the fact that “it’s not really about journalists chasing down the story and doing the reporting,” as in Spotlight or All The President’s Men.

Group photo used for recent Hollywood Reporter cover story: (l. to r.) The Post producer Amy Pascal, producer Kristie Macosko Krieger, Meryl Streep, director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Liz Hannah.

The Post is essentially a story about Post publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), and about whether or not she’ll find the conviction to risk the Post‘s financial solvency and political security by supporting a fervent desire on the part of Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) to publish excerpts from the Pentagon Papers and thereby go up against the Nixon administration.

But it’s also, says Thompson, “about how women were treated at that time. And what worries me is that [Sony award-season strategists] are making a campaign about a woman.”

Thompson is referring to that recent Hollywood Reporter cover showing Spielberg surrounded by all of his female Post colleagues — Streep, Post producer Amy Pascal, screenwriter Liz Hannah (but not Josh Singer), and longtime Spielberg-affiliated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger.

“And I keep forgetting that in the Academy there are a lot of older guys and a lot of men who are really threatened and freaked out by this sexual harassment stuff…they are really scared of it…it affects the order that they’re accustomed to.”

Everyone recognizes (or will soon recognize) that The Post is a very good film, but, Thompson warns, this doesn’t mean these older, freaked-out guys “are necessarily going to vote for women in the Academy Awards.”

Here’s Indiewire‘s link to the Screen Talk podcast. Here’s an HE download of same.

Eric Kohn, Thompson’s Screen Talk partner, asks what Best Picture candidate might get the support of older freaked-out males? Dunkirk, it is speculated. Darkest Hour perhaps, but maybe not so much. Possibly Lady Bird because Greta Gerwig has proved an excellent social-circuit campaigner. Possibly not Call Me By Your Name because the steak-eaters are too homophobic. Possibly not The Shape of Water but who knows?

Thompson says she recently re-watched All The President’s Men and now believes it’s “a really sexist movie…[many of] the sources are girlfriends” — or secretaries of really powerful guys — “and Katharine Graham is completely ignored.”

Well, there is that scene when an unseen Mitchell barks at Dustin Hoffman‘s Carl Bernstein about how “Katie Graham is gonna get her tit caught in a big wringer” if the Post publishes a story about Mitchell controlling the CREEP slush fund. A couple of minutes later Jason Robard‘s Ben Bradlee asks Bernstein if Mitchell “really said that about Mrs. Graham?”

Postscript: I was one of those who didn’t particularly relate to Jolie’s First they Killed My Father. Here’s how I explained my reservations during last September’s Telluride Film Festival:

“Yes, totalitarian brutality is very bad,” I wrote. “But it’s also kinda bad when all you do is bludgeon your audience with depictions of same, over and over and over and over. I know about the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia (’75 thru ’79) . I know about the killing fields and I’ve seen Roland Joffe‘s excellent, same-titled 1984 film. Is it okay to depict the same horrors in a 2017 film? Sure. Is it good to expose younger audiences to this horrific genocide? Certainly.

“But I had a very bad time with it, basically because of the lack of a decent story, which I define as one that plants seeds and builds and pivots and is about more than just stuff happening. ‘A family and their youngest daughter in particular went through absolute hell’ is not a story.

“I actually found Jolie’s film deeply boring. I wanted to escape but, like those captured and forced into hard labor by the Khmer Rouge, I couldn’t.

“Jolie has a thing about brutality visited upon innocents. In The Land of Blood & Honey — Serbs brutalizing Bosnian Muslims. Unbroken — Japanese soldiers brutalizing American POWS. And now First They Killed My Father — the fanatical Khmer Rouge brutalizing and murdering two million Cambodians in agrarian work camps.

“Willful, systemic brutality and cruelty, in and of themselves, are not engaging or stirring or even interesting. Savagery abounds in this sad world, but mere depiction isn’t enough.”