Last Wednesday the Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada adjourned the Senate at 5pm for an unusual reason: Steven Spielberg’s latest film, “Lincoln” was going to be shown at the Capitol Visitor’s Center. Director Spielberg, writer Tony Kushner, and the actor who portrayed Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis, were all in attendance for a post-filming discussion of the themes of the film.
This event underscores the reaction in Washington to this film which has been lauded by its creators as an important guide for modern politicians on the important lessons of bipartisan politics. And the politicians seem to be in agreement, having come together in praise of the film, including the White House, which also invited Spielberg for a special screening.
“Lincoln” is an epic film which deals with many of the big issues of Lincoln’s life and times, including some of the personal issues which arose, bringing insight and understanding into what influenced Lincoln and how he conducted his personal affairs. Portrayed are some lesser known of Lincoln’s relationships, including his relationships with his sons, wife, and friends.
After receiving seven Golden Globe nominations last week, Walt Disney Studios decided to use a quote from a Washington-based journalist in its promotional ads for “Lincoln.” Quoting Ruth Marcus of “The Washington Post,” Disney said in a blurb, “He should do it again–and again–and again.” Marcus had been referring to Obama’s special screening of the film.
The reaction of politicians to the film has helped establish it as the “one to beat” for the Oscar nomination among other politically-based Hollywood offerings, such as “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” Yet, despite all the media hype and a feeling of importance that the film garnered from its reception in Washington, it is likely that Washington’s love affair with “Lincoln” might not have much of an impact on actual Oscar voting. Of the 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, only 21 are D.C. denizens.