You’ve seen our Top Ten of 2012 list, but now let’s take a look back at the movies that just missed the cut. These are our Honorable Mentions of 2012.
Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” didn’t exactly have the deck stacked in its favor when it came to box office success. The running time clocks in at nearly two and a half hours. It does away with the traditional biopic formula and only focuses on a small portion of the sixteenth president’s life, the struggle to pass the 13th Amendment. Plus, we all know how that turned out.
But looking at Spielberg’s loving portrait of one of our great national heroes ignores so much of what makes “Lincoln” a fascinating and enthralling movie from start to finish.
The most obvious and relevant place to begin is Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance. Sight unseen, one would like imagine that the Academy Award winner would repackage Daniel Plainview, but nicer this time. Instead, Day-Lewis went in the opposite direction, opting for a historically accurate vocal register and a kind demeanor, much different from the stoic man we see on the back of a five dollar bill. The performance is an utter inspiration, not only from an acting standpoint, but how it complements the story and our collective history.
Though less apparent than the Method habits of the leading man, Tony Kushner’s soberingly intelligent and witty screenplay deserves an equal amount of recognition. Taking on a procedural format, the audience experiences 19th century Washington and the frustrations running through the period.
What Spielberg managed to achieve here was to ignore the cynical expectations of internet commenters that were largely based on one poorly cut trailer. Coming off of “War Horse,” it was easy to expect Spielberg would take a maudlin swing at one of the most beloved figures in American history without adding at teeth to his defining moment. Instead, he assembled his best effort in a decade in a manner that both stated true to his sensibilities while never undermining the complex nature of the politics.
What were your honorable mentions of 2012? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!