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A Vast Conspiracy is a 2017 American political drama film based on the 1999 book of the same name. The film tells the story behind the the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal and takes place between 1995 and 1998. The film was directed by Ifan Barber and produced by Universal Pictures and Working Title Films. The film won 17 major awards, including 6 Oscar wins, including Best Picture, Best Lead Actress for Sarah Paulson's portrayal of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Best Supporting Actress for Lisa Kudrow's portrayal of Linda Tripp.

Plot

A Vast Conspiracy is an intriguing look at the scandal that nearly brought down a president. The film unravels the three strands of a national scandal - those leading from Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, and Kenneth Starr - that created a legal, personal, and political disaster for Bill Clinton. The fim also lays bare the complex and tangled motivations that fueled Linda Tripp and others. The film drives this provocative tale with the narrative style of a sensational legal thriller.

Cast

  • Matthew McConaughey as President Bill Clinton
  • Sarah Paulson as First Lady Hillary Clinton
  • Mae Whitman as Monica Lewinsky
  • Lisa Kudrow as Linda Tripp
  • Toby Jones as Kenneth Starr
  • Nathan Lane as Henry Hyde
  • Mandy Patinkin as William Ginsburg
  • Andre Braugher as Vernon Jordan
  • Alec Baldwin as Vice President Al Gore
  • Judy Greer as Paula Jones
  • Viola Davis as Betty Currie
  • Meryl Streep as Barbara Walters (Cameo)

Release

A Vast Conspiracy premiered in New York on January 13th 2018, a week before its US cinematic debut. The release was timed specifically for awards season. It premiered in the UK over a week later, being released in British cinemas on February 1st 2018.

Reception

Critical Response

A Vast Conspiracy received critical acclaim, with Paulson's performance receiving universal praise. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 92% based on 218 reviews, with a weighted average score of 7.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A Vast Conspiracy is weighty and eloquent; a cross between a political thriller and a turbulent and damaging romance with Oscar worthy performances." Metacritic gives the film an average score of 80 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."

The New York Times gave the film four stars, commenting that Paulson and Kudrow particularly "do not attempt to mimic their characters, but to embody them." Rolling Stonegave the film 3½ stars, saying that Ifan Barber "turned Jeffrey Toobin's published success into a grabber of a movie laced with tension, stinging wit and potent human drama." Variety praised Paulson's performance in particular, stating, "By the final scenes, Paulson has all but disappeared so as to deliver Clinton herself."

Box Office

Opening wide at theaters on January 20 2018, the film grossed $4,022,250 at the box office in the United States and Canada, ranking number 12. The film's gross for Friday, January 30 was estimated the next day at $520,000. A Vast Conspiracy grossed an estimated $20,622,031 in the United States and Canada and $10,804,304 in other territories for a total of $31,426,335 worldwide.

Awards and Nominations

Award Show Nomination Result
Golden Globes Best Picture - Drama Nominated
Best Actress (Sarah Paulson) WON
Best Supporting Actress (Lisa Kudrow) WON
Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep) Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture WON
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Sarah Paulson) WON
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Matthew McConaughey) Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Lisa Kudrow) WON
Academy Awards Best Picture WON
Best Actress (Sarah Paulson) WON
Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey) Nominated
Best Supporting Actress (Lisa Kudrow) WON
Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis) Nominated
Best Supporting Actor (Alec Baldwin) WON
Best Supporting Actor (Andre Braugher) Nominated
Best Director WON
Best Costume Design Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay WON
Best Original Score Nominated
BAFTA Awards Best Picture WON
Best Actress (Sarah Paulson) WON
Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey) Nominated
Best Supporting Actress (Lisa Kudrow) WON
Best Supporting Actor (Alec Baldwin) WON
Best Director WON
Best Adapted Screenplay WON
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