‘Lincoln’ Trailer: Steven Spielberg’s Next Oscar-Contending Historical Drama

Published 3 years ago by

The official trailer for Lincoln is here, and it brings with it all the majestic shots of Daniel Day-Lewis as the famous U.S. president, imagery of Union soldiers on the battle field, and dramatic pieces of dialogue that you might expect from a trailer for Steve Spielberg’s biopic (no vampires, though).

A Lincoln trailer preview dropped earlier this week, prompting discussion as to whether we were hearing Lewis recite a segment from the Gettysburg Address – or if it was a Union soldier speaking, as portrayed by David Oyelowo (Red Tails). We can now confirm that it was not, in fact, Lewis speaking. However, as you might’ve imagined, the two-time Oscar-winner’s “Lincoln accent” not only befits a more humanizing portrayal of the President, it’s also a far cry from any of Lewis’ more famously affected accents (Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood).

Furthermore, Lincoln appears to be as visually arresting as any historical drama produced by Spielberg to date (which is really saying something). Surprisingly, the director previously described the film as less “visual” than his other cinematic forays into the past, since much of the story unfolds within the confines of darkly-lit Congressional halls and rooms around the White House where Lincoln worked tirelessly to formally end the Civil War (while passing the 13th amendment to the Constitution to abolish slavery).

Several of the important political players working either with or against Mr. Lincoln make a brief appearance in the trailer, including Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, David Strathairn as William Seward, Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens, and Lee Pace as Fernando Wood, along with Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Joseph-Gordon Levitt as their son, Robert. In case you weren’t aware, Spielberg’s film is practically boiling over with award-winning talent.

lincoln movie trailer Lincoln Trailer: Steven Spielbergs Next Oscar Contending Historical Drama

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln

On the more critical side: there is very much an “Oscar Bait” feel to the manner in which the Lincoln trailer is structured, with excerpts from grand speeches, the glorious dramatic atmosphere, and weightiness of the proceedings glimpsed. That said, it feels appropriate, given the significance of the events unfolding onscreen. Furthermore, the brief moments of acting on display feel less like awards-hopeful posturing and more like samples from genuine and grounded performances from all involved (not exactly a shock, when you consider the cast).

The trailer also features fewer of the hammy moments or corny beats that made the previews for Spielberg’s last film, War Horse, somewhat divisive; if that is reflective of the final film, then Lincoln could very well prove to be the respectful, yet refreshingly non-romanticized historical piece we’ve been hoping for.

Lincoln begins a limited U.S. theatrical release on November 9th, 2012, before it goes wide on the 16th.

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  1. Shoo in for 2013’s for sure… Even as a Brit not knowing a whole lot about Lincohn I can see that. Day Lewis neve fails to deliver, have you seen There Will Be Blood this seems on a par with that in terms of acting chops.

  2. Looks great. I can’t wait to see it.

  3. Yep..still not interested

  4. That is the thing about any historical character from the pre-sound recording era. No one really knows what anyone sounded like. The only thing you can go by is contemporary accounts and what they say the person sounded like to get an idea. I guess we just always assume that Lincoln had a deep, authoritative voice, but much of that is due to mythologizing him. I do hope this movie also accomplishes another goal of presenting Lincoln as a day-to-day President trying to do his job the best he can, and the politics that occurred then, without the influence of historical hindsight. It’s almost impossible to do.

    • I hope that historical insight is limited as well Maopheus, but i have yet to see a film about the past that doesn’t have it. A classic example is having the characters always say “History will not judge you kindly”. or “Future generations will look at this and smile.” or “When the history books are written”.. For the most part people in the present don’t think about the future ramifications of certain actions taken by them. Some do, many don’t.

  5. Despite WarHorse beig a bit underwhelming, Spileberg is still the master director,. Always has been and always will been and I will be watching this for sure.

  6. You know, I don’t think that trailer faded in and out enough.

    • Thank gods I’m not the only LRC reader enduring all this worship of mythological figures.

  7. There’s oscar all over written on that trailer… and some oscar baits too :) but nevertheless… Spielberg doesnt make many mistakes and daniel day lewis… never 😉

    • Nine? That being said day Lewis is my favorite actor of all time & Steven is in my top ten for best directors.

      I’m just worried this will be Daniel Days last film. He’s always talking about retirement. I think he’s waiting to make one more great film then he will jUST vanish.

  8. Ever since Gangs of New York I’ve been waiting/hoping to get to see DDL play Lincoln (anyone else with me on that one?). Finally here, November can’t come soon enough!!!

  9. The film itself looks to be a must see film of this year but for gods sake after two years studying American Civil Rights i can’t stand to see Americans trying to Cover up their past with an idealized version of history to present themselves in the best light, Lincoln did not emancipate the slaves for any moral reason despite what this trailer shows, Lincoln Abolished slavery in order to deny the south the economic advantage that they gained through the use of slaves due to the fact the the majority of slaves in the US at the time worked in southern cotton fields rather than the northern Cities. Also Lincoln was not in favor of granting equal rights, citizenship, the vote or any other basic right the caucasian Americans enjoyed at the time and avoided the issue of equality as often as he could. Rant over (pun intended)

  10. Dear history lovers for the past half hour or so I have diligently, albeit wearily, listened to you, or rather I have listened to the voice in my head that internalizes your, often untutored, words into sound. It is a baritone voice, deep and commanding, much like my own and perhaps one much like that of Lincoln himself?. But Alas we shall never know, for are we not but errant tadpoles furiously wiggling our way through the muddied waters of history, gulping at pockets of truth that just may well as be lies. Yet it is through words that we might yet find the answer still. For clarity yet us turn to Lincoln’s ‘I have dream’ speech and those now immortal words ‘Oh….why oh why can’t all just learn to get along!’. Need I say more.

  11. I see a master piece already

  12. I see a little silhouetto of a man
    Scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fandango,
    Thunderbolt of lighting-very very frightening me
    Gallileo, Gallileo,
    Gallileo, Gallileo,
    Gallilieo Figaro-magnifico!!!!!!!!!!

    Bishmillah, We will not let you go-let him go
    Bishmillah, We will not let you go-let me go-oooooooooooooo

  13. Good, bad–for heaven’s sake, leave us alone. The criticism/expectation machine should be turned off immediately and forever. Watch the film first–then offer an assessment. Anything before–“a priori”–is just an attempt to market the film and the exploitation by Hollywood of those who write the critiques and those who digest them. Marx got this part of the “manifesto” right–“All that is solid melts into air.” The individual, just constituted, is amputate from the neck up when he is propagandized and falls for it. His opportunity to solidly judge objectively based upon objective and subjective criteria is lost–vanished into air.

    We should, rightly, despise Spielberg and whichever studio has turned on the monem-making machine. Nothing wrong with money–but exploitation for ANY purposse –power, privilege, place–is simply degrading.

    Finally, we do not not another take on Mr. Lincoln. At this stage, without some meaningful new findings, a film about him is simply a dramatic effect. There is no crime here, but there is little else beyond the drama. The ideal, if only Mr. Spielberg and the rest of the Hollywood gliterati, is entertainment combined with education. This film may rise to meet the former, but it stoops to meet the latter. Anyone who has yet to uncover for himself the essence of Lincoln’s final years, will find a significantly more complete set of facts and conclusions in books and scholarly monographs than will ever be glossed over in a two-hour film.

  14. “Emphatically the Black Man’s President”
    In Chicago, in July 1858, Abraham Lincoln pleaded with his audience, “let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man; this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position; discarding our standard that we have left us. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal…I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.”   
    A study of Lincoln’s life reveals him to have never easily fit the mores and customs of his times. Thus, the growth depicted between a pre-presidential and presidential Lincoln is unnecessary. Harry Jaffa’s “Crisis of the House Divided”, on the Lincoln-Douglas Debates; Richard Striner’s “Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle Against Slavery”; Lawanda Cox’s “Lincoln and Black Freedom: A Study in Presidential Leadership”; James Oakes’ “The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics”; Allen Guelzo’s “Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America”; and Michael Burlingame’s “Abraham Lincoln: A Life”; all show Lincoln, at each stage of his life and career, to be a personally committed man with a progressive political career.
    Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as a war measure and applied it only to areas still in rebellion against the national authority, because such was the only way to present it as constitutional. The loyal slave-holding Border states also were crucial to the Union cause and couldn’t be alienated. As Union forces advanced and conquered the rebellious areas more and more African-Americans became free. Nonetheless, Lincoln was so concerned that the Proclamation would be ruled unconstitutional that he insisted the 13th Amendment be a part of the 1864 Republican Platform; made sure an unprecedented enforcement clause was added; used all his powers of persuasion and patronage to get it through Congress; and signed the Amendment though his signature was not needed. Frederick Douglass was “impressed with his entire freedom from popular prejudice against the colored race” after meeting with Lincoln three times in the White House, and in 1865 called him “emphatically the black man’s president.”
    Colonization was to be voluntary; Lincoln felt white prejudice so intractable that he urged black leaders to consider it. Colonization was abandoned as ventures failed, and African-Americans rejected it. Lincoln said blacks and whites had to “live out of the old relation and into the new.” As president, Lincoln supported bills abolishing segregation on omnibuses in D.C.; for allowing black witnesses in federal courts; for equalizing penalties for the same crime; for equal pay for black soldiers. He welcomed, for the first time, an ambassador from Haiti; African-Americans picnicked on the White House grounds. He supported the activities of the Freedmen’s Bureau. When he visited occupied Richmond, he took off his hat and returned the bow of an elderly black man–an act of equality noted by sullen white onlookers and the press alike. In what was his last public address, Lincoln called for public schooling for blacks, and for the vote for black soldiers and the well educated. John Wilkes Booth, in the crowd, seethed “that means n– citizenship”, and vowed the speech was Lincoln’s last.
    Runaway slaves, black and white abolitionists, all played a crucial role in slavery’s demise. However, President Lincoln was key to the abolition of slavery. A friend of black freedom, Lincoln worked assiduously for “a new birth of freedom” in the United States where all had the opportunity to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    • Dear Hist-borian!! Dear hist-borian I have diligently, albeit wearily, listened to you, or rather I have listened to the voice inside my head that internalizes your, often untutored, words into sound. It is a baritone voice, deep and commanding, much like my own and one perhaps very much like that of Lincoln himself? But Alas we shall never know, for are we not but errant tadpoles furiously wriggling our way through the muddied waters of history, gulping at pockets of truth that may just as well be lies? Yet it is through words that we might yet find the answer still. For clarity yet us turn to Lincoln’s ‘I have dream’ speech and those now immortal words ‘Be black, brown, yellow or the normal colour. Can’t we all just learn to get along!!’. Need I say more?

  15. What offal for the mind!!

  16. Hist-borian’s words not mine!!!!

  17. Has anyone ever heard of the Looking For Lincoln Heritage Coalition? If you haven’t, let me know. I can tell you all about them.

  18. Is Frederick Douglass mentioned in the film?

  19. s.s.sux

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