It's not unusual, during the run-up to the Academy Awards, for the films up for the top honors to come under fire for all sorts of reasons. In 2009, for example, Danny Boyle -- the director of "Slumdog Millionaire," which went on to win eight awards including Best Picture -- was the subject of a late-stage whispering campaign in which he was accused of underpaying some of the impoverished child stars of his picture (the studio would later deny the charges and point out that trust funds had been established for the actors in question). More recently, "The Hurt Locker" was criticized by U.S. military veterans for a slew of perceived inaccuracies.
Everyone's a critic, the saying goes, and it turns out that this year's honorees are not immune from eleventh-hour criticism. One of the targets is Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," which has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards (you can track its chances of winning on the Huffington Post's Oscar Dashboard). "Lincoln," as you may have heard, dramatizes the parliamentary wonkery surrounding the ratification of the 13th Amendment, so it's no surprise that its latest critic is equally wonky -- U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat who represents Connecticut's 2nd District.
As Politico reports, Courtney had checked his local listings and headed out to the movie theater to take in a screening of Lincoln, and was very much excited about the action packed roll-call vote on the amendment. That's when things took a turn for the disappointing:
Describing his experience watching the movie, Courtney wrote: "As a Member of Congress from Connecticut, I was on the edge of my seat during the roll call vote on the ratification of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. But when two of three members of the Nutmeg State’s House delegation voted to uphold slavery, I could not believe my own eyes and ears.”
TURNS OUT THEY WERE DEAD THE WHOLE TIME! No, just kidding. Spoilers ahead, I guess, for people who have never attended elementary school. In the film, not all members of Connecticut's house delegation vote for the amendment. Thus, the movie is cloaked in immense lies, as far as Connecticutians are concerned.
“How could Congressmen from Connecticut—a state that supported President Lincoln and lost thousands of her sons fighting against slavery on the Union side of the Civil War—have been on the wrong side of history?" he asked.
Indeed, they were not. Subsequent research by Courtney revealed that Connecticut's entire House delegation voted in favor of the amendment. Now, because he is angry that his state has ended up on "the wrong side of history" in Spielberg's flick, Courtney is asking Spielberg to correct the movie -- somehow! -- before it is released on DVD.
How did it come to pass that the Connecticut lawmakers were depicted in this fashion? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe screenwriter Tony Kushner really hates Connecticut? At any rate, perhaps Courtney can take solace in the fact that interplanetary horror-metal band GWAR didn't care for the movie either. "It's boring and stupid," says Oderus Urungus.
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