One benefit of making a film such as Lincoln is that the movie turns into more than just a story — as a portrait of American history Lincoln is something that has interest beyond the multiplex. And so we now have multiple TV news magazine pieces about the film and the process of creating it. The long-running show 60 Minutes profiled director Steven Spielberg and his creative process last year, and last night the show featured a new segment on Lincoln.

Is this high-stakes awards campaigning meant to combat the awards ascendancy of Argo? Or is this piece a genuine recap of the late life of Abraham Lincoln and an investigation into the film’s authenticity? It’s a bit of both, as you might expect, but thanks to interviews with Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Lincoln biographer Doris Kearns-Goodwin (where’s screenwriter Tony Kushner?) the segment is a fine account of the film. Read More »

At this point, the only thing standing between Ben Affleck and a Best Director Oscar would seem to be the pesky fact that he wasn’t nominated for the award. Nevertheless, Affleck and his film Argo have turned into an awards juggernaut, starting with the Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Director awards at the Golden Globes, and rolling through various critics groups before taking the ensemble cast award from the Screen Actors Guild, and the top awards from the Directors and Producers guilds.

And now, Argo has won Best Editing, Best Director, and Best Film at the BAFTAs. The list of winners, via the organziation’s press release, is below. Read More »

Most of you probably know some of the story of Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln: the director has wanted to make the film for years, but needed to secure the proper script, the proper actor, and timely financing. Things finally came together in 2011, and the result is Spielberg’s best film in several years, and a particularly timely movie that perfectly captures not only much of the essence of Abraham Lincoln and the time in which he lived, but also reflects our own culture and politics.

The new 20-minute “making of” special Lincoln: An American Journey is a fairly comprehensive account of the development of the film, complete with many detailed interviews and some great early pictures and footage. It’s a must-see for anyone who was moved by the film. Read More »

Later this week, Daniel Day-Lewis will almost certainly be handed his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work in Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln. Knowing that, the film’s history seems almost unreal.

Lincoln was more years than usual in the making as Spielberg struggled not only to lock down the right story to tell about the 16th President of the United States, but to find the right actor to play him. Spielberg’s first choice was Day-Lewis, who turned down the role on multiple occasions. The actor later recommended his friend Liam Neeson for the role, and he was attached for years before having to move on. Then, armed with a brand new script by Tony Kushner, Spielberg was finally able to land his original man, and the resulting performance speaks for itself.

The first time the actor turned down the lead role in Lincoln, the actor wrote the most powerful director in Hollywood a letter explaining his decision. You can now read that after the jump.

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There’s a lot to be said for timing when it comes to film awards, and in that respect things couldn’t have worked out better for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty. While most audiences won’t even have a chance to see the film until early next year, the first screenings of the movie have drawn rave reviews. And now it has picked up what will likely be the first of many awards.

Today the New York Film Critics Circle voted on awards for 2012, and Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln were the big winners, with nothing scored by The Master, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, or other potential awards faves. Kathryn Bigelow took Best Director and her movie won Best Film, which is the same dual wins the filmmaker enjoyed in 2009 before The Hurt Locker went on to Oscar success. Get the full list of recipients below. Read More »

You’ve seen the trailer and the debate TV spot, and you’ve had a chance to read early reviews based on the “work in progress” print shown at the New York Film Festival. (Which, in all likelihood was very close to a final cut, save for a few nips and tucks.) Now you can watch director Steven Spielberg and star Daniel Day Lewis field questions about the film, thanks to the miracle of technology.

Lincoln looks at the last few months 16th President’s life, and as Angie described, follows “Lincoln’s attempt to push the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolishes slavery, through the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, at home, Lincoln’s marriage to Mary Todd (Sally Field) is strained by the death of their son Willie three years prior, and their eldest son Robert Todd (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is furious at his parents’ refusal to let him go to war.”

The Q&A touches on the reasons for focusing on some of those elements, and on the process employed to bring this version of Abraham Lincoln to the screen. Read More »

Continuing a tradition that started with last year’s surprise unveiling of the then-unfinished Hugo, the New York Film Festival this week revealed a first look at a work-in-progress cut of Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln.

Though we’ve seen little of the film so far, aside from a couple of trailers, the subject matter and the talent involved have marked it from early on as a potential Oscar contender. Based on the version I saw Monday night, that buzz is well-earned — it’s tough to imagine this film coming out the other end of awards season without at least a couple of little gold men. On the other hand, Spielberg falters by letting the Sixteenth President remain more myth than man, and the resulting film is a polished period piece that only occasionally feels truly vital.

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These days, Abraham Lincoln is regarded almost unanimously as U.S. as one of the greatest American presidents in history. But in his time, the sixteenth president wasn’t so universally beloved. While modern-day politicians and pundits like to toss around the word “war” to describe pretty much any government policy or cultural trend they don’t care for, Lincoln served during the actual Civil War. Which was sparked, in part, by his election. Suddenly, all that “2012 is the most important election ever” rhetoric seems rather overblown.

All of which makes it a pretty brilliant move on Disney’s part to unveil a fiery new TV spot for Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln during Wednesday night’s first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As the two candidates duked it out in Colorado, the energetic Lincoln trailer reminded us that for all the hand-wringing about partisanship, we’ve seen much worse before — and emerged stronger as a unified nation. And oh yeah, there’s plenty of new footage. Watch it after the jump.

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The first trailer for Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis as the 16th President of the United States, has just been released. It opens November 9 in select cites and expands November 16 everywhere. Co-starring Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln dramatizes the final months of Abraham Lincoln’s life before he was tragically assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

When you’ve got a near-perfect recreation of a figure like Abraham Lincoln as the centerpiece of a film, the only way to promote that film is by showing it off. And so here’s the first poster for Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the sixteenth US President, caught towards the end of his life. This shot carries forward the tone suggested by the first official production still, and cements what we’ve known about the film: that it pictures the President as he is in the midst of a combative political climate, facing grave challenges.

See the full image below.  Read More »