Lincoln Controversy

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Uri
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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby Uri » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:56 am

Okri wrote:Yeah, so basically, despite believing we shouldn't marginalize Latino characters on screen, he ended up.... doing exactly that because he wanted to play the role. Okey-dokey.


He didn't marginalize a Latino character (which kept its very obviously Latino name).At worst he marginalized some unspecific Latino actor, who would have never been a selling point for a film the way a Ben Affleck seemingly is, who might have been cast instead of a probably narcissistic actor director who took the lead role in his own film. And naturally we all, yours truly included, marginalize the inaccuracies in the films we like and can’t live with those made on films we don’t. Strange.

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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby Okri » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:32 pm

Yeah, so basically, despite believing we shouldn't marginalize Latino characters on screen, he ended up.... doing exactly that because he wanted to play the role. Okey-dokey.

Anyway, the Lincoln controversy strikes me as being superficially similar to the Wonder Boys controversy, and they ended up editing that out of the film (I don't know if it hurt with the oscars, but I thought both Douglas and the screenplay were strong possibilities).

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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby OscarGuy » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:57 pm

There's a link below to an article on it.
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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby Okri » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:12 am

OscarGuy wrote:Whether or not Ben Affleck's defense was strong, he didn't really come off as an asshat in his defense. I read Kushner's defense and he was something of a jerk about it. Of course, Affleck is an actor and a political activist, so I'm sure he knows something about avoiding the appearance of being an asshat, but for a writer, Kushner could have mounted a more eloquent defense.

Regardless, neither controversy changes my opinion about the respective films, but for a film that has been lifted up as some kind of brilliant research piece by its supporters, this doesn't play well, especially as voting begins. I agree with artistic license and think dramatic changes can work for a film (It's how I felt about the LOTR trilogy and its many changes in spite of what some fans of the novels thought). Yet, I did feel a bit frustrated when I heard that they changed an entire state's voting patterns. Artistic license is one thing, but why were votes from other states who voted against the amendment not used? Dramatic tension is one thing, but the same tension could have been had were the votes from other states, even less familiar ones. I can understand the reasoning behind the changes to Argo, the Lincoln ones don't make as much sense.


What's the reasoning with regards to the whitewashing of the lead in Argo?

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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:47 am

Having grown up in Connecticut, I take this personally. Maybe Kushner should next make a film about Neville Chamberlain's staunch resistance against the Nazis.

Rolo, I'm responding more to this than to Argo's changes because a), I expect much less from Affleck and b), Lincoln has far greater pretensions to 'authenticity'.

I still think Lincoln is a substantially stronger movie than Argo.


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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:49 pm

Honestly, though I didn't know the facts while I was watching Lincoln, my reaction at hearing Connecticut had two "no" votes was, That's odd; I'd have thought that was abolitionist country (it certainly was Yankee Republican for a century or more after). Kushner's response makes, forgive me, no sense whatever. At that point in the film we weren't hinging on any particular state; where the clerk said "Connecticut", they could have substituted "Michigan", and it wouldn't have the slightest impact on audience response. It just seems it would have been the easiest thing in the world to check the Congressional Record and put in accurate states/names.

I still think Lincoln is a substantially stronger movie than Argo.

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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby OscarGuy » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:43 am

Whether or not Ben Affleck's defense was strong, he didn't really come off as an asshat in his defense. I read Kushner's defense and he was something of a jerk about it. Of course, Affleck is an actor and a political activist, so I'm sure he knows something about avoiding the appearance of being an asshat, but for a writer, Kushner could have mounted a more eloquent defense.

Regardless, neither controversy changes my opinion about the respective films, but for a film that has been lifted up as some kind of brilliant research piece by its supporters, this doesn't play well, especially as voting begins. I agree with artistic license and think dramatic changes can work for a film (It's how I felt about the LOTR trilogy and its many changes in spite of what some fans of the novels thought). Yet, I did feel a bit frustrated when I heard that they changed an entire state's voting patterns. Artistic license is one thing, but why were votes from other states who voted against the amendment not used? Dramatic tension is one thing, but the same tension could have been had were the votes from other states, even less familiar ones. I can understand the reasoning behind the changes to Argo, the Lincoln ones don't make as much sense.
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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:18 am

It's called artistic license.

I'm not bothered by the dramatic inventions in Argo, a little known story that would not have seen the light of day had Affleck not made it. Nor am I bothered by Affleck playing a Latin American. He can make up for the perceived slight by casting three Latin American actors in major roles in his next film.

I am bothered by the changing of the vote in Lincoln, not enough to change my opinion of the overall film, but which state for what is a matter of public record, an easily verified historical fact that should not be tampered with. It casts doubt on all of the other incidents in the film which have been touted as meticulously researched facts.
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Re: Lincoln Controversy

Postby rolotomasi99 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:16 am

I am really surprised no one has gone after Affleck for the brazen changes he made to history in ARGO.

The one that annoyed me the most was him taking the role of Tony Mendez. There are so few leading roles for people of color, and to have Affleck eliminate a real life Latino hero seem pretty bad. I would think Harvey Weinstein would be milking this for all its worth. Then again, the whitewashing of the real life Latina Alicia Nash did not derail its Oscar success (nor did the straightening of the main character).

Affleck gave a pretty dumb statement on why he changed the character's ethnicity:
http://nbclatino.com/2012/12/13/opinion ... z-in-argo/

Also, the entire airport chase sequence was completely fabricated. Once the group was on the plane, they did not face any other obstacles. The chase sequence was ridiculous and unnecessary. However, as we can clearly see, folks prefer these type of moments. I have had people say to me ZERO DARK THIRTY was well done but it did not sustain suspense like ARGO did.

These types of controversies should not factor into a film's Oscar chances, but apparently sometimes they do. It just seems odd for LINCOLN and ZERO DARK THIRTY to supposedly be hurt by things they changed for dramatic purposes, while ARGO has not received much attention for the things it compleyely made-up. Maybe Harvey is going for an all-positive Oscar campaign this year. :lol:
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Lincoln Controversy

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:28 am

From today's Wall Street Journal:

On Tuesday, Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut wrote in an open letter that the film “Lincoln” was wrong to suggest that two congressmen from his state voted against the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery (in fact, all four of the state’s representatives voted for it in 1865) and asked director Steven Spielberg to correct the DVD version. Now “Lincoln” screenwriter Tony Kushner has responded to Courtney’s criticisms with his own letter.

In his note, Kushner concedes that the film changed the historical record. “Rep. Courtney is correct that the four members of the Connecticut delegation voted for the amendment. We changed two of the delegation’s votes, and we made up new names for the men casting those votes, so as not to ascribe any actions to actual persons who didn’t perform them,” Kushner writes.

The actual Connecticut representatives at the time braved political attacks and personal hardships to support the 13th Amendment. One of them, Augustus Brandegee of New London, was a fierce abolitionist, and according to an obituary in the Connecticut State Library database “He zealously supported the anti-slavery movement when its supporters met contumely and contempt.” Another, James English of New Haven, considered slavery “a monstrous injustice” and left his sick wife to vote for the 13th Amendment.

Kushner argues that that facts were changed to serve the larger story: “These alterations were made to clarify to the audience the historical reality that the Thirteenth Amendment passed by a very narrow margin that wasn’t determined until the end of the vote. The closeness of that vote and the means by which it came about was the story we wanted to tell. In making changes to the voting sequence, we adhered to time-honored and completely legitimate standards for the creation of historical drama, which is what Lincoln is.”
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