Directed by Steven Spielberg, "The Post" stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and tells the story of the paper's handling of the Pentagon Papers. (20th Century Fox)

The first trailer has arrived for “The Post,” the star-studded Steven Spielberg-directed drama about The Washington Post’s decision to publish stories based on the classified Pentagon Papers in 1971. (And yes, we know the New York Times did it first.) Leading the cast is Meryl Streep, playing publisher Katharine Graham, and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee. The movie, with a screenplay by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, focuses on the period leading up to publication, when Graham and Bradlee had to weigh whether going public with top secret documents against the government’s wishes was worth the risk.

“If the government wins, The Washington Post will cease to exist,” warns one character during the trailer.

The trailer debuted during “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Tuesday night, as the host called it “a Marvel trailer if Meryl Streep was playing Thor.”

The movie gets a limited release on Dec. 22 — just in time for Oscars voting — which is no small feat, considering the film was only just announced this past March. That’s an uncommonly fast turnaround. The timing couldn’t be better for news organizations that have weathered accusations of “fake news” for the past year. Like 2016’s best picture winner, “Spotlight,” “The Post” is about journalists willing to hold powerful institutions accountable.

This won’t be the first time a story about The Washington Post vies for awards glory. “All the President’s Men” won four Oscars in 1977, though the movie lost the best picture prize to “Rocky.” However, Jason Robards, who played Bradlee, won for best supporting actor.

“The Post” opens wide Jan. 12.

Read more

Tom Hanks discusses Trump, Harvey Weinstein and his new Spielberg film at the National Archives

What it’s like to watch a Harvey Weinstein movie now

Oscars academy votes to expel Harvey Weinstein over allegations of harassment