Cancel the Oscars. There’s no need for further speculation; the awards for best actor and actress are already in the bag.
That’s my take after seeing Steven Spielberg’s most recent film Lincoln this week. What a great movie, and what a tour-de-force is Mr. Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the gentle giant who took the fledgling American nation out of the shackles of slavery. Lincoln portrays the final months of the 16th President’s life. He is exhausted from the protracted civil war, fighting the battle of his life in the House of Representatives and a war of attrition at home with his desperately sad wife, Mary. How can one man carry such a load, we ask? But he does. Spielberg was wise to resist the urge to make a big-screen spectacular focused on the civil war, the great speeches and the man as icon. Instead he tells a smaller, more intimate, story of a man who has a vision of a freer, fairer society. This vision extracts an awful cost to his family; in particular his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, played to perfection by Sally Field. We see Lincoln wheeling and dealing to get every last vote to secure the 13th Amendment which will emancipate slaves in the south. We also see him lying on the floor with his youngest son, Tad, his arm around him as he sleeps in front of the hearth. In the end we are left with a portrait of a complex political person, but a sincere, loving family man. Accolades to Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field for the performances of their careers. They deserve to win in their nominated categories. And don’t forget to watch out for Tommy Lee-Jones as the irascible Thaddeus Stevens.