‘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. Very much looking forward to this movie.

  2. Looks fine, same feel as warhotss

  3. it’s nice to see a trailer presented not as corny, but as appropriately majestic…this is the story of the biggest one man war for equality waged in this nation. the events in this movie will never be irrelevant…i just hope that this movie and its story will be properly appreciated as both a work of art and the grand recreation of one of our nation’s proudest moments that it mostly likely will be. Spielberg will not mess something like this up.

    • The accuracy of your take on the Civil War is not entirely correct. The Civil War was fought initially to “preserve the Union” meaning that the Northern States (led by the U.S. federal government) fought the Confederacy to keep them a part of the U.S. However, most Northerners did not see slavery as a necessity and were indifferent towards the issue simply because they were not familiar with the system. Though abolitionists did exist, they were not the majority in the U.S. The Civil War was not fought to end slavery until Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Once Lincoln declared that all slaves were to be freemen, the Northerners rallied in support, albeit not enthusiastically.

      • i’m for the most part aware of the intentions of all these political figures as well as the view points of the northerners (they were indeed racist and most likely indifferent to slavery since they feared black people anyways) but i still find this to be an important step forward, because despite the views of the people that set everything in motion, they still create a huge landmark along the path to equality,it’s probably a slightly romantic view, but oh well haha.

  4. Lovely cinematography. I thought the moments where we see Lincoln in silent contemplation or feeling the–figurative–needles of his adversaries were just as poignant as the moments when he speaks.

  5. It has a well balanced, respectful of the subject feel. If the whole is represented by the trailer, then we can anticipate and excellent movie.

  6. Oh my goodness, the accent. So I give my money to them now? I cant wait for this movie. Looks amazing.

  7. It was the 13th Ammendment, not 14th.

    This looks to become my all-time favorite of Spielberg films, and this performance, in my opinion, will be the absolute conerstone of Day-Lewis’ career.

    • My apologies, I’ve corrected that.

  8. This just has Academy Award nominations written all over it..
    Steven Spielberg has done it again. This looks AWESOME!

  9. does anyone know who will be playing Lee or Booth in the film?

    • They will be minimal characters in the film. In Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, the book which the film is based on, she focuses primarily on Lincoln’s administration and the hardships posed to Lincoln by dissent within his cabinet. William Seward, for instance, hated Lincoln because he was defeated for the Republican nomination by Lincoln, who at the time of nomination was seen as an outsider hick basically. Booth had zero involvement with Lincoln until the assassination and Lee had very minimal contact with Lincoln, possibly none since I really can’t recall any type of contact they had besides Lee turning down the commanding position of the Union Army offered to him by Lincoln.


  11. They totally forgot about the vampires. Idiots.

  12. But in all seriousness, this movie looks like it’s going to be absolutely incredible. With one of the greatest directors of all time, and one of the greatest actors of all time, it would be very difficult to mess this up. Add in the excellent supporting cast, captivating visuals, and what looks to be an interesting and original take on our greatest president, and you have a winner here. I would not be surprised if DDL wins his 3rd oscar, nor would I would be surprised if this is nominated for best picture. (A win might be difficult, as it’d have to fight off The Master, among others, but none of these movies have even come out yet, so moving on.)

    Admittedly, the whole “Great Director + Great Actor + Historical Drama/Period Piece = Great movie” is actually what I thought when I heard about last year’s J. Edgar (Eastwood, Leo), and while I have yet to see, it’s reviews seemed to say it was underwhelming, to say the least.

    Let’s go Lincoln!

  13. Looking forward to this. Spielberg is my favorite director. Hopefully this can rank up there with the best Spielberg films.

  14. That’s one of the baitiest Oscar bait trailers I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe because I love DDL and Spielberg so much that I had my own expectations, but something felt off about it. It’s got that overly melodramatic War Horse thing going on with that overly polished cinematography that Spielberg’s been using lately. And John Williams, man he needs to tone it down already. He’s been using the same slow dramatic trumpet style since Saving Private Ryan, learn how to use a piano or something. I hope I’m not raining on everyone’s parade, this is just what happens when you’re too excited for a movie and when your favorite creatives’ styles change so much with age.

  15. Lewis looks to author for my liking I want more charisma

  16. Lewis looks to subtle for my liking I want more charisma

  17. Looks great, Daniel Day-Lewis definetly seems to add some emotional depth to Lincoln that you rarely see in any depiction of him. Through one thing I’ll say is his voice and prescense in the scenes they’ve shown seem a bit…small & underwhelming for Lincoln.

    Lincoln was a large man for his time, and from all that I know about him commanded a room. Can’t say I felt that from DDL’s scenes. That’s why Liam Neesan was such a perfect choice to me, he could embody that perfectly…I’m sure Day-Lewis will do well but Neesan would’ve been better in my opinion.

    • Here is why! Lincoln did possess a high voice according to multiple historical accounts. During political rallies and public speeches, people were expecting this giant of a man to belt out speeches in this low authoritative voice that captivated everyone. And when this high pitched southern drawl came out (he was from Kentucky and Southern Illinois so he wasn’t of the elite class much like William Seward was) the people actually laughed at him. On more than one occasion people were reported to be heckling the man and ridiculing him because of his odd sounding voice. However, unlike today, people looked past his voice and actually listened to the message of his speeches. His speechmaking ability and unparalleled ability to string sentences together is what captivated anyone who heard him. They didn’t listen to the voice, they listened to what he had to say and were left in complete shock at how good he was. It was this ability to deliver flawless speeches that led people to embellish on his speaking ability and ability to command an audience. People thought then and still do today that because he was such a good speaker and so tall he must have had a very deep and commanding voice. Same goes for George Washington. People don’t realize or neglect the fact that Washington and every other Founding Father was British. They spoke with a heavy British accent. So don’t put too much faith into our perceptions of American myths.

  18. Do we know if this trailer is attached to a particular film this weekend?

  19. Fun Fact: This movie was originally going to have the title “Please Give Me An Oscar, Pretty Please.”

  20. I am cautiously optimistic and secure with Daniel Day-Lewis in command.
    Not as inspirational as I was expecting but War Horse had inspirational
    trailers and the film itself was a letdown not living up to the previews.

    There looks to be a scene of what would be the second inaugural address and
    if so I hope is given its proper highlight as a most extraordinary treatise on war.

    Lincoln remarkably argues in that address that the great sufferings of the Civil War
    were Divine Justice in proportion to the grave sin of slavery of which the North too
    was culpable with its participation from the beginning and subject to that justice too.

  21. I’m a bit skeptikal about this movie. There has been far too many that are mythological. Is this going to show Linclon as the political God that everyone thinks he’s the great miracle since Christ. Or is it going to show him as the lonely man who was so obsessed with the war he ordered the generals to pilliage southern cities. Further expanding the federal government to keep up with the booming industrial revolution? If you look at the photos of him before being president, and before he was assasinated. He aged 30 plus years. It’s really sad. I’m going to wait this one out I am very… picky when it comes to historical accuracy about a historical figure.

    • Some of what you say is true but your facts are somewhat mixed up. You either are from the South or have some connection to it. Lincoln did not come up with the tactic that Gen. Sherman used throughout his famous March to the Sea. William T. Sherman’s burning of Atlanta is not something to which Lincoln ordered directly. The strategy was employed because of this rationale: the South was not an industrialized society and relied heavily on crops to sustain them. Sherman understood that the way to defeat the Confederacy was the concept of Total War. The endgame for this strategy is annihiliation of the enemy. If they could cripple the South’s means of production (i.e. burning Georgia to the ground), they would be able to end the war quickly. And as for the point about expanding the federal government, Lincoln did do that but it was not because of the industrial revolution. Ideological differences plagued the country because many swore allegiance to their states before they would swear allegiance to the country. Lincoln declared war on the Confederacy to “preserve the Union.” By stating this, he expanded the role of the federal government by implenting taxes and binding citizens to the national government through conscription. Though many were opposed to being drafted, they simply had no choice because they could not afford to pay the fee for hiring a soldier in their place. The Union Army supplied its soldiers with propaganda to state that it was their duty to preserve the Union through killing secessionists. Furthermore, Lincoln wanted to show that the national government possessed strong power in the country. He wanted to establish a national ideology of nation and state on the same level.

      • You sound as if you are older than I am. It appears that you are right. However I am actually a Northerner. Confederate or not, they were still our brothers, Americans, whom regardless of the mass public support of the British in the south, still fought with us in our Independence. Families were destroyed. But on the account of Sherman, I don’t deny that he is responsible for the total war tactic. There however is something missing, Sherman could not have had the approval on his own. He needed to get it from somewhere. Moving troops back then is a whole heck of a lot different than today. He needed to get the supplies, the food, and the munitions from somewhere. Let alone someone way up there, and I accuse Lincoln because he is equally responsible for what his cabinet does. I hate the idea of Americans killing Americans. Doesn’t matter what side they are on. Let alone the hellish nightmare that happened at Andersonville. The Civil war is still a wound that we all are still trying to heal to this very day.

  22. Looks absolutely beautiful and amazing, one of the most gorgeously done trailers I’ve ever seen the music gripped me outstanding cant wait.

  23. Personally, I imagine Lincoln with a more gruff, slightly deeper voice than what Day-Lewis has chosen for his Lincoln. But hey, maybe Lincoln actually sounded like that.

    • There is obviously no audio of Lincoln so Hollywood has taken certain creative liberty in depicting the voice of the 16th president. My fear when learning of this film was that the baritone commonly attributed to Lincoln would again be used to cringe-inducing lengths (think Bill&Ted’s). Though I would expect such ignorance and/or blatant disregard for historical accuracy from Mr. Bay, I would think Spielberg, in naming the film simply “Lincoln”, would be inclined to portray the titular character in the most accurate manner possible.

      Like dbrasco75 mentioned, contrary to what popular media would have us believe, Lincoln’s voice was not deep; rather it was high, to the point of being described as “shrill”. Coupled with his Kentucky accent, it made for a particularly amusing sight when the 6’4 Lincoln rose and began to speak. The respective speaking styles of Edward Everett, the former President of Harvard who spoke for two hours prior to Lincoln’s two-minute address at Gettysburg, served to mark the contrast. Everett was a renowned orator and his voice was expertly modulated; Lincoln was an experienced speaker as well but his voice was high and, as he got further into his speeches, became “sing-songy”. Though some might prefer the deep, manly Lincoln, I am glad that someone is at least trying to represent the voice accurately.

  24. Seemed like a lot of people were talking about how his voice wont be right but I think they have done a fine job with that. I was sorta struck by his voice in fact cuz i was so used to Lincoln having a deep voice. This is definitely Oscar bait.

  25. This looks amazing, I have never seen DDL do something bad, thus this will be GREAT!

  26. If this one proves to be good, how about films of my two favorite presidents next: Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan? I would definitely watch a good rendition of those. In the meantime, Lincoln will have to do.

  27. i like the trailer…i imagine lincoln speaking i bit different

  28. Oh man, that voice. What’s going on here? …You know i read an Abe Lincoln Bio last year before this movie was announced. And i looked forward to this movie as a result. Because reading about our 16th president, really made me appreciate the battle he had to fight, in order to keep this country together as a whole. And it was his speaking style and command of a room that drew me to his power as a person of leadership. But that voice in this trailer really throws you off. Not what i expected… I hope Day-Lewis really lets it fly when the reels get rolling. Because the Abe Lincoln I read about. Was a Great Public speaker. Not only in debate, but to his audience as well. One of the best of alltime. The Gettysberg Address!

    • Yes, Lincoln was a great speaker, but it is said that his speaking voice was a bit high with a twang to it, so I think that Lewis has nailed it as best as he could.