Sunday, 3 March 2013

Lincoln and Daniel Day-Lewis

Having covered the best film Argo, and the film with the best performance of an actor in a female role, Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, the remaining major award was to the actor in a leading male role plus that of film Director.
British interest was first in the best original song where Adele gave the first public performance of the latest Bond film theme Skyfall, the best of the Bonds to date. Also celebrating Bond, Dame Shirley Bassey received a rapturous standing ovation for her performance of Diamonds is forever.  Adele’s award was the first for a Bond film theme and there was also an award in a separate category but not for best film which was deserved.
The performance on the night, which in terms of performances should have got the award, was the cast of Les Miserables in Suddenly. Barbara Streisand also sang The Way we were but I cannot remember the context possibly in relation to the obituaries, and early on the star of the Harry Potter films Daniel Radcliffe did a dance number with the host for the night whose humour was at time offensive to some but funny.
Ang Lee won Best Director of Life of Pi a film which gained three other awards Cinema Photography, Visual Effects and Original Score, the film with four awards on the night, Les Mis provided the best actor in a female supporting role with Anne Hathaway and also gained Sound mixing, and make Up and Hair styling. Christopher Waltz for supporting actor male role in Django Unchained, a film I have not seen and will now wait until it comes to Sky or another film channel. The film also got the award original screen play.
I have previously mentioned the awards to Argo and Silver Linings playbook and that Zero Dark Thirty also won of the minor awards.
Sugar man is the name for the singer from Detroit who made an album in the 60 which bombed and he was never heard of again until an album played this decade played on the radio in South Africa where it became as big as the Beatles first album. Two South Africans set out to find what happened to the singer and the result was not only the Academy award winning documentary but finding the man who is now performing to sell out concerts through South Africa. I was put off from seeing Anna Karennia because of reviews but it won an award for best costume.
I now turn my attention to Lincoln and the performance of Daniel Day Lewis in the title role and who won the award for actor in a leading male role. I have tried hard to understand why I did not take to the film and never became fully engaged although I thought the performance of Tommy Lee Jones outstanding as the leader of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The film was of interest because the process of gaining an amendment to the constitution of the United States in a parliament where the Presidential Executive did not have the required majorities in the both House has been a feature of the Presidency of Barrack Obama and other Democrat leaders in the past. In this instance the president would have had the majority required if he waited until the newly elected House of Representative met, but by then it was likely that a peace settlement with the South would have been agreed in which instance the readmitted southern states to the union would have led to less than the require number of individual state ratifications before the new amendment could be put into effect.
What the President has to do was bribe a sufficient number of the existing Republican members of the House of Representatives who would be out of a job when the session was brought to an end, by offering them government positions and other inducements including having the election result challenged in one instance and then the Democrat joining the Republicans after a period of time so not to be challenged as a fix. Tommy Lee was also being baited by those wanting to keep slavery on the grounds that he favoured extending the vote to all citizens including the non white and to women. He lived with a black woman and was forced to sit on his beliefs that human being are equal to adjusting to all human being are equal before the law and  which then allowed for restricted franchise and in fact the segregation which existed by state laws  until the latter part of he last century.
The other pressure was to delay the surrender of the South on terms acceptable to both sides. To achieve this he kept the negotiations secret and out of Washington state and was forced to make a terminological inexactitude when challenged on the issue before the vital vote was taken.
The film also covers the pressure at home where the eldest of his two surviving sons was determined to join up before war ended while his wife exerted greater pressure on her husband to stop him. The film ends with the amendment securing sufficient votes, followed by the surrender of the South and the assassination of the President. Sally Field played Mrs Lincoln.
Daniel Day Lewis is regarded as the greatest cinema actor of the present generation comes from an extraordinary artistic family. His father was the Poet Laureate infamous because he left his wife and his mistress to set up home with Jill Balcon, 25 years his junior, an actress who was the daughter of the famous film, man Sir Michael Balcon who is reported to have severed links with his daughter because of her relationship and marriage.
Daniel has only accepted five film roles in the past 15 years, devoting himself to other activities with the same intensity as his acting. He is known for undertaking meticulous research and then remaining in character for the whole time of film on and off screen and which led him to admit that his wife had lived with some strange men during their years of marriage. He is now married to the daughter of the playwright Arthur Miller, Rebecca and they have two sons. He was previously in a relationship for a number of years with a French actress and who bore him a daughter after they had separated.
He commenced as a traditional Shakespearean and theatre actor with the National Youth Theatre and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School leading to playing Romeo and his first attention bringing role in that excellent film set partly in Italy, A Room with a View.
In1989 he won his first Academy Best Acting Award for My Left Foot spending all the days filming in a wheel chair. This was followed by Hamlet at the National Theatre. For the last of Mohicans he learned to live off the land, camping, hunting and fishing. He was also nominated for his performance In the Name of Father.
This was followed in 1993 as an aristocrat in the Martin Scorsese film The Age of Innocence. In 1996 the Arthur Miller plays, the Crucible, followed by the Boxer a professional fighter and IRA member which led to training with Barry McGuigan.  Away from films he worked in wood having wanted to have been a wood craftsman in his youth and as an apprentice shoemaker. After an absence of five years in which he refused to discus his experiences away from acting he appeared in the Gangs of New York 2002 another film directed by Scorsese which I have seen but did not like and where he played Bill the Butcher although the role brought him a BAFTA and his third academy best actor nomination.

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