The Trial of the Chicago 7
Directed by Aaron Sorkin; Six Nominations, No Wins
Though he would be loath to admit it, Aaron Sorkin is the Hollywood Left’s Steve Bannon—a figure demonized by the opposition, maligned by many on his side, melding his working-class roots with upper-crust associations, and refining his iconic contributions to his trade as his career evolves. Sorkin has remained a writer of tense courtroom dramas featuring characters in very specific lines of work from A Few Good Men and The Social Network to his directorial debut, Molly’s Game. Though unapologetically liberal, Sorkin holds drama above all other causes, one of the primary reasons his works have endured for so many decades. While The Trial of the Chicago 7 conforms to the typical Sorkin conventions, it also marks the first time in his career that he has dealt with such polarizing figures as Yippie founder Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and SDS leader Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne). What makes Chicago 7 such a riveting and appealing film is Sorkin’s insistence on his characters’ contradictions whether through shots of their apprehension in the face of police as they storm a barricade or in Hayden’s accusation that the last thing Hoffman wants is for the war—and thus his celebrity— to end. Sorkin turns hippie nostalgia into an ensemble drama with enough fleshed-out personalities to do the work of real art: asking more questions than it answers.