The 85th Annual Academy Awards of Motion Pictures airs tonight. The Awards are to honor and advertise Hollywood’s latest wares of the past year: movies of 2012, which are, by in large, to make money. There is much hype in the glitter of Hollywood. Many of those movies will fade with time. But there are some movies that transcend their time, place, and culture.
And movies give us the ability to be with thought thru new regions.
We will be surprised, but not shocked, if Lincoln does not get the Oscar for Best Picture.
We will be surprised, but not shocked, if Daniel Day-Lewis does not get the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Day-Lewis is probably the best actor of his generation, and is very choosy in the roles he takes. He takes his art very serious, he is natural Composer Artisan. Just like another actor of different generation: Marlin Brando.
Daniel Day-Lewis is a method actor, known for his constant devotion to and research of his roles. Often, he will remain completely in character for the duration of the shooting schedule of his films, even to the point of adversely affecting his health. He is known as one of the most selective actors in the film industry, having starred in only five films since 1998, with as many as five years between roles.
Steve Spielberg, a Composer Artisan, one of our best American film directors had done his homework. He recruited Daniel. And Day-Lewis’ method acting didn’t change for his latest role: Lincoln. Day-Lewis spent a year in preparation for the role, a time he requested from Spielberg. Day-Lewis read over 100 books on Lincoln, and long worked with the film’s makeup artist to achieve a physical likeness to Lincoln. He also made his voice speak at a higher pitch. He got the outside essence of the man.
But we think he also got the inner essence of the man, even though Lincoln was a very complex character: an Inventor Rational. A Clever Man. The film is about Lincoln’s Leadership and is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.
Goodwin, Spielberg and Day-Lewis give us a compelling look at the man, his time, his place and our new thought thru new regions.
A glimpse of Presidential Temperament, from a different time and a different culture.
Of all the men ever to be President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was perhaps the greatest, not just as President, but as a human being. As one studies the Presidents one cannot read about Lincoln without being struck with a sense of wonder: wonder at his grace and kindness, at his suffering and unyielding resolve, at his personal grandeur and finally at the simple humanity of this remarkable man. Lincoln was a towering figure. He stood six feet four inches tall and weighed a spare 180 pounds, and looked even taller and thinner when his lanky figure was topped with his famous stovepipe hat. It is fitting that Lincoln would be so imposing physically, for he is clearly one of the most towering of figures in our nation’s history.
It is easy to be caught up in the quiet grandeur of the man, however, and we must avoid doing so here. Too much of him, including his temperament, is obscured if we gaze too raptly upon his greatness. Abraham Lincoln was a flesh-and-blood human being, and one must recognize his humanity in order finally to appreciate his greatness.
Like Thomas Jefferson, his Engineer Rational predecessor, Abraham Lincoln is a study in contrasts. He was slow to initiate conversation but always easy to be around. He guarded his private world with a profound reticence, yet people found his informal ways warm and open. He was unostentatious, unaffected, in manner, yet almost everyone who knew him called him “Mr. Lincoln.” Even his wife addressed him, albeit affectionately, this way. He was a very serious and very earnest man. Yet he leavened his approach to matters both light and weighty with a wonderful sense of humor. He was beloved of many but there were few who could claim to be part of his inner circle and perhaps no one who was his confidant. He was a brilliant man whose speech was deceptively simple and earthy. He was a mild-mannered backwoods politician who had one of the shrewdest minds ever to grace American politics.
Some were fooled by his easygoing, earthy graciousness. They thought he was a rather simple creature whose plain and simple speech betrayed a plain and simple mind. They were greatly mistaken: Abraham Lincoln was always a canny, calculating Rational, cool and complex by nature. He was thoughtful about the most mundane issues, and earnestly and exhaustively studious about the important ones. Lincoln always took his time arriving at decisions. He was an Engineer Rational, after all, and premature judgment was abhorrent to him. [Presidential Temperament]