Lincoln Logs

A Richmond-residing government guy named Michael Phillips took this snap of Daniel Day Lewis at the Arcadia restaurant, and posted it earlier today. On 11.28 Variety‘s Jeff Sneider tweeted a report that he “hasn’t broken his Lincoln accent since March” and his “real name doesn’t even appear on the call sheet.” (First glimpse via Movieline.)

Lewis will take the 2012 Best Actor Oscar, Meryl Streep (who might well lose out this year Michelle Williams or Viola Davis) will take Best Actress for August: Osage County, but Steven Spielberg will probably over-lather Lincoln in some way, shape or form, and therefore jeopardize its Best Picture chances. Unless he manages to find within himself another surge of Schinder’s List-type discipline and austerity. Yeah, that could happen.

  • Zach

    Insert inevitable ‘more-Spielberg-bashing!’ comment here.

  • Flash Gordon

    “hasn’t broken his Lincoln accent since March”

    “real name doesn’t even appear on the call sheet”

    What a pretentious psycho.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Boy, if I realllly wanted an acting Oscar, I think I’d do everything in my power to make damn sure the film I was in was released a different year than this JUGGERNAUT of an actor.

    What asshole beat the almighty DDL for GONY again? That was highway robbery.

  • cyanic

    Sally Field goes 3-0! Maybe in Supporting?

  • Rod32303

    I might be a putz, but I thought Mr. Wells was being serious when he stated above that it could happen.

    Cause it could. And probably will.

  • Edward Havens

    Adrien Brody was the asshole who beat DDL that year.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “What a pretentious psycho.”

    Yeah, I fuckin’ hate people who are totally dedicated to their job and as a result, achieve rare excellence. Assholes.

  • 115thDreamer

    Right – if you’re hating on DDL, you are on the wrong site, I think. You know he’s going to OWN this. And hey, he stayed in character and nearly froze to death while shooting “Gangs…” because he would only wear period clothes (even off camera), and gee…..that turned out OK.

    “Whoopsie Daisy!!!”………….

  • Ray


    Seriously, what the fuck, you’re already hating him for a movie HE HASN’T EVEN MADE YET.

    A movie, you might recall, you’ve written about FOR YEARS begging him to make.

    Just stop. It’s BEYOND embarrassing now. It’s the kind of thing grandpas rant about when they piss themselves in their easy chairs. EVERYONE IGNORES PISSING, RANTING CORNER GRANDPA.

    Other than that….. kudos to DDL, he’s awesome in every way!

  • Gabriel

    “What a pretentious psycho.”

    Newsflash, Flash – most major film stars are listed under an alias on the call sheet.

  • Flash Gordon

    Forgive me for being more impressed with actors who are joking around and being themselves until just before the cameras roll and then turn it on and be brilliant after they hear “Action! I’m sure Jodie Foster insisted on being called Clarice while shooting Silence of the Lambs.

  • Flash Gordon

    I assume he’s going to want real bullets fired during the assassination scene.

  • Ray DeRousse

    I actually cringe when I come here and see Spielberg’s name. And it never seems to end when the stimulation is there.

    Jeff, are you autistic?

  • Buk94


    Most of those actors you speak of are not capable of doing what DDL consistently does.

    Jodie Foster was terrific, better than terrific, in Lambs. But DDL in There Will Be Blood is on a level maybe a half dozen living actors can reach.

  • Flash Gordon

    BTW, DDL is a GREAT actor, no question. But I bet many actors, even other brilliant ones, would say that staying in character for 18 months is overboard.

    And Adrien Brody is not an asshole for winning an award that he had no control over. He’s an asshole for fondling Halle Berry.

  • great scott

    We should hold off on giving Day-Lewis next year’s Best Actor Oscar until after we’ve seen Adam Sandler in Donny’s Boy.

  • the sordid sentinel

    I believe DDL could get into whatever character, walk up to his Mother and she wouldn’t know who the Hell he is. So chameleon like it’s frightening.

  • lazarus

    It wasn’t Adrien Brody’s fault. but he was the weakest of the five contenders, easily.

    Nicholas Cage in Adaptation? Michael Caine’s arguable career-best work in The Quiet American?

    I guess you could make a case for Nicholson in About Schmidt being overrated, but the bottom line is that this award belonged to Daniel Day-Lewis. One of the all-time great movie characters, and not only was DDL over-the-top in all the right ways, but when he reigns it in for that monologue where he’s draped in the American flag, he gets to the heart of what should be a reprehensible villain.

    DDL wasn’t the only one robbed that night; Ferretti’s sets at CInecitta were without peer that year. Sandy Powell’s costumes showed a creative spark and imagination lacking in Colleen Atwood’s typical 1920’s designs. And Marty directed his film with a lot more personality than Polanksi, who was WAY too restrained with The Pianist. If I didn’t know how personal the story was to him, I never would have guessed it from seeing the movie.

    2002 was a Weinstein backlash year, primarily because of that Robert Wise endorsement scandal. But for whatever faults Gangs has a film, it did not deserve to be shut out in every category.

  • LexG

    This guy is the GREATEST ACTOR IN THE WORLD. I don’t care how he gets where he gets, it obviously works for him and everyone should just BOW and walk on home, boy. Yes, refusing to go by your real name or staying in character are a kind of a douche move if you can’t back it up like DDL does, and, yes, I personally dig the Kurt Russell/Tom Cruise/Dennis Quaid school of know your lines, hit your marks, do your job then go be a regular guy. But if DDL feels the need to down cherry trees, get wooden teeth and kill people with muskets to get into character for this, just stay out of his way and let him do his thing.

  • iamjoe

    Adrien Brody was AWESOME for planting one on Halle Berry. He was an everyman up there, and many stood up and cheered for his doing the only sane thing one should do in that situation up at the podium: kissing one of the hottest actresses ever.

  • LexG

    Brody and Pianist were great, though… The Pianist probably WAS the strongest movie of that year, even if at the time I preferred About Schmidt and even if in the time since, 25th Hour has proved to be more rewatchable than any of the heavy hitters, though I imagine Adaptation holds up for a lot of showbiz types like us… 2002 was a STRONG year across that board, and that was one hell of a lineup– Caine, Cage, Jack all were perfect too, so how do you judge something like that even? DDL decimated every frame of that movie like a GOD, though. It’s sort of weird how now thanks to GONY really having the best rep, Bill the Butcher is seen retroactively as a warmup for PLAINVIEW, but that shouldn’t take away from how indelible it was.

  • lazarus

    I think DDL was slightly more impressive in GONY than TWBB. and while I don’t agree with the detractors who found Plainview to be a bit too hammy and mannered, I think he was playing with a larger palette in the Scorsese film.

    As I said above, Gangs might be a flawed film, but its best scenes top anything else that came out in 2002. It should have won Best Picture and Director for that enlistment–>coffins coming off the boat crane shot alone.

    That…was the minority vote.

  • Robert Cashill

    “I personally dig the Kurt Russell/Tom Cruise/Dennis Quaid school of know your lines, hit your marks, do your job then go be a regular guy.”

    Tom Hanks, maybe, but not Tom Cruise…

  • kid PA

    DDL in Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix in PTA’s Master will be the two 2012 best actor frontrunners. You can bet the farm on it. With DDL the obvious favorite (how could anyone expect otherwise).

    And for the record… there is nothing out of the ordinary in omitting a major actor’s real name from the callsheet. This is routine practice today. It’s more or less a silly faux-security thing in an age of IMDB and TMZ etc. Probably nothing to do with DDL’s own personal wishes.

  • Eloi Wrath

    GONY rules. First of four Scorsese/DiCaprio masterpieces, whatever you old-timers say. And DDL is legendary in it.

    “I don’t give a tuppenny fuck about your moral conundrum, you meat-headed shitsack.”

  • Geoff

    I just hope this is the Spielberg who directed Schindler’s List. If it’s the Spielberg who directed Amistad, then we may have a problem.

  • bluefugue


    Pretty sure Jeff is just trying to pad out the number of comments per post, now.

    >I just hope this is the Spielberg who directed Schindler’s List. If it’s the Spielberg who directed Amistad, then we may have a problem.

    Both films were very well directed; one happened to be better written.

  • TimDG

    Cage when he cares.

  • Geoff

    Amistad was overly directed.

  • actionlover

    Yeah okay, berg… we’ll get right on that.

    Now…tell us what awful people Jefferson and Washington were.

  • Colin

    Yeah, those Confederates were fighting with flowers when those Union boys came through.

  • Noiresque

    Tommy Lee Jones.

    Far better than Viggo and Cassel. He’s one of those intergeneration people – 15 years younger than Duvall, 6 years older than Neeson, but throughout the various peaks of his career always seemed at least 10 years older. Looking at IMDb, I was really surprised to notice this past decade has been the best phase of his career since the CMD to JFK era. He’s given 5 superlative performances since 2003. He seems, thematically, to be in a mystic phase. I don’t know if his run will continue. He’s in Lincoln, but otherwise just has a MiB sequel and a David Frankel comedy upcoming.

  • Kit Sung

    DDL is certainly NOT al lock for Best Actor next year for the simple reason that he already won twice! A third trophy would be unprecedented so he would have to be not only amazing, but also in a film that is remarkable.

    Why do you think Merryl Streep hasnt won in nearly 30 years? Because she already has two acting awards and is constantly regarded as brillant. DDL is regarded so highly, that his usual brillance is perceived as normal.

    Joaquin Phonix probably has a better chance to win next year, as he hesn’t won before and if hes brillant in PTAs film its going to be reagarded as a great comeback for Phoenix after his hiatus.

  • Mr. F.

    No matter what you think about Spielberg… you have to give him credit for the LINCOLN casting. In addition to DDL, we’ve got:

    Tommy Lee Jones

    Jackie Earle Haley

    John Hawkes

    Hal Holbrook

    Tim Blake Nelson

    James Spader

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt

    Bruce McGill

    Jared Harris

    Pretty amazing cast right there.

  • hiviper

    I’ll give an example of a fearless young actor who can approach DDL genius, and that’s Tom Hardy. He steals his movies.

    and that is some lineup there Mr. F

  • jery

    He may still be a bit twitchy. But I think Ben Foster is the real thing. Rampart and Contraband.

  • berg

    “Now…tell us what awful people Jefferson and Washington were.”

    Jefferson, a righteous dude was also a motherfucker, John Adams aside …. and Washington was wanted by the French for killing a bunch of French soldiers during what is known as the French Indian War, who cares, presidents are thuggish

  • Alexander

    In the spirit of Mr. F’s post…

    Displays who’s playing who.

    Sally Field, Walton Goggins, Lee Pace, Gulliver McGrath (from Hugo), Gloria Reuben and some other notables are also in Lincoln.

    “Both films were very well directed; one happened to be better written.”

    This is certainly true, though I would say one matter with regards to Schindler’s List is that the screenplay itself is only very good. Spielberg took it on himself to stitch the film together with many long setpieces and sequences that are either not in the screenplay at all or are given minimal treatment. One quick example is the entire Krakow ghetto, which I believe isn’t even given a full page in the screenplay, but Spielberg makes it a sprawling nightmarish vision that almost feels endless due to how it’s constructed, how actions are tied together, etc.

    Spielberg is a director who seems to wring everything out of the screenplay as possible, then adds more to it to make the film better, and in some cases take things out to make the film better.

    He seems to be a lot like late Hitchcock, as he always has a major hand in the writing process of the screenplays for his films with the writer. I thought it was telling when he said the War Horse screenplay went through approximately 25 revisions during a four-month period.

    Anyway, one point to consider in all of the speculation over Lincoln is that Tony Kushner spent roughly the better part of half a decade on it. He banged his head, wrote it, rewrote it, revised it, changed the structure, went over it time and time again, apparently, with Spielberg himself. Who knows, maybe this film will somehow disappoint but I have to say, it’s fair to have reasonably high expectations considering the director-writer-star/cast triumvirate dream team.

  • Luke Y. Thompson

    So Day-Lewis has no doubt painstakingly researched what sort of accent Lincoln would have had back in the day, and will distort his mouth a hundredfold to duplicate it. Meanwhile, NOBODY ELSE IN THE CAST will do likewise, making DDL sound like a total buffoon by comparison.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Best-case scenario (at least for me) would have had GONY and Pianist splitting the big awards that year — give Scorsese and DDL props for the former, and Harwood (who did win, deservedly so) and Polanski (as producer of BEST PICTURE) their due for the latter.

    I agree with Lex — I do think Pianist was probably the “best” 2002 offering (watching it was frankly a bit of a transcendental experience for me), it’s just that Gangs had that undeniable verve & energy.

    “Cage when he cares.”

    Yeah, but how often is that, really — like every 5 years?

    Tough to come up with a solid #2, though — Clooney, Oldman, and Bardem seem all too content to dial it the star wattage for tiny character roles. Cruise and Denzel (arguably even Will Smith), engaging presences as they almost always are, don’t quite have the chops (or maybe the patience?) to disappear completely into another character.

    Nobody pushes all of their force-of-personality chips into the center of the table each and every time out quite like Day-Lewis.

    I feel like Pitt and Del Toro are probably closest for me, but Pitt needs to accept more raging-id parts (more Tyler Durdens, less Benjamin Buttons), and if Del Toro’s going to work as infrequently as he does (only 3 significant film roles since Sin City), he’s got to make sure every single one of them is a tour-de-force.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Ah, that should read “dial down the star wattage” in the third-to-last paragraph.

    Not that anyone cares (but me).

  • LexG

    Bardem is a good pic for top of the pops…

    Wait, Benecio Del Toro was in SIN CITY???? No he wasn’t… was he??? Where? When? God, I literally do not remember that at all.

  • Rashad

    Lex he was the corrupt cop whose head talks to Owen in the car.

    Of the nominated that year, Gangs should have won. I’ll never get people who have a problem with it. The way Bill accepts the challenge after the funeral for Gleeson is one of the most perfect line deliveries ever. And with all the OWS shit going on and the resentment towards the rich, you would think that movie with its kill the rich uprising, would be brought back so to speak. Even Bill as a character, who feels he’s becoming increasingly marginalized because of immigration and the bastardization of his country, has more resonance today.

  • Rashad

    And Kushner said it the screenplay is the best thing he’s ever written

  • adorian

    I thought August: Osage County was moved to the back burner. It won’t be released in 2012, maybe not even in 2013. And it might not star Meryl and Julia.

  • Eloi Wrath

    Alexander: Great post. Some of the likenesses in that EW comparison are incredibly accurate. Look at that Jeremy Strong/John Nicolay side-by-side. It’s like one of those “time-travelling Nicolas Cage” memes.

    Is Bale not up for discussion in this “firing on all cylinders” debate? He’s the closest to DDL in terms of intensity and method of any actor in his generation, and he’s had a fairly excellent run (Terminator notwithstanding) that looks set to continue for a while.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Kushner had nothing to do with Gangs of New York, Rashad — or am I crazy? Aren’t you thinking of Zaillian, or maybe Cocks (no, not those cocks!).

    Eloi, I thought of Bale. But I think he’s missing a little something, although I can’t really put my finger on it at all. Is he too naturalistic a performer? I’m going to open up that one to the floor, because I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say here, but I’m pretty sure he’s not a STAR “star” (although he’s certainly capable of doing a fine impersonation of one with Pat Bateman, Bruce Wayne, etc.)

  • Rashad

    I was referring to the Lincoln screenplay. Guess I should have made that clearer

  • lazarus

    All these names you guys are throwing out; Bale, Pitt, Cage, Bardem, Oldman, Clooney, Washington…I think the gulf between any of them and DDL is really, really wide.

    Which just shows how rare DDL’s talent is. I’d have to go back to Brando to find someone as good at this point, because I’m thinking his best 5 perfs top De Niro’s. DDL’s only disadvantage is that he hasn’t worked enough. If you stretch that list out to 10, De Niro probably has a more impressive resume.

  • reverent and free

    Kit, Jack has already won three Oscars on the male side, and Kate Hepburn crossed the four Oscar threshold 30 years ago.

  • Kit Sung

    Nicholson has not won three Best Actor Awards. He has two, (plus one supporting). No man has won three Best Actor Awards!

  • evelyn garver

    Not only is DDL the world’s greatest actor, in recent years he has been as gracious, kind, and just plain classy in public appearances as any actor around. His tribute to Heath Ledger at the 2008 SAG Awards was a model of generosity and heart. His “methods” are his own business, and there’s an endless line of people who want to act with him.

    Also, Michael Fassbender is the heir to this legacy.

  • Chase Kahn

    I think “Gangs of New York” is a misfire, but as misfires go, it certainly has its moments. Thought DiCaprio was basically in the wrong movie.

  • Jason S.

    I’d like to have seen what Scorsese’s late 70’s GONY would look like. Seeing as how this would have been made during Marty’s coke period it would have been insane.

    I sometimes wonder what his 1984 LAST TEMPTATION would have been like had Disney not pulled the plug in 83′. Although I think his 88′ version is pretty much perfect as is.

    After looking at DDL as Lincoln there two words come to mind: “Liam who?”

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    “Thought DiCaprio was basically in the wrong movie.”

    Agreed, but doesn’t this mean Cammy Diaz was like in the wrong…medium?

    From all accounts, the director’s cut (which Jeff has actually seen) is at least marginally better, arguably even moreso. I sincerely hope it sees the light of day at some point or another (even if — at this point — the only people that would truly care about this sorta thing are film buffs/historians).

    I agree, laz. Benicio intrigues me, though — he was fucking magnetic in Che (too bad no one saw it). Given the right scenery-chewing role (a la Bardem in NCFOM), he could really be quite the sensation.

    Speaking of Bardem, he’s of course on the docket as the new Bond villain. Almost impossible to see that not working out.

    Is it completely crazy to throw Rourke’s name into this conversation as a sleeper? I can’t imagine anyone doing what he did with what’s essentially a throwaway part in Immortals (which is a compliment…I think).

  • Rashad

    Don’t get the problems with Leo. If you’re just talking about the accent, okay, but the character? He played it perfectly. He’s not the big badass looking for revenge people assume he was supposed to be. He’s an observing that gets consumed by a lifestyle and buys into (superficially) Bill’s charisma.

  • Noiresque

    I love Daniel Day Lewis. He is absolutely on of the modern greats. But to say that no one compares is patently false.

    It depends how much you buy into the star system, and also the idea that a great actor can play any kind of role in any genre. I don’t believe either. There are scads of actors the level of Daniel Day Lewis. It’s just that they are not sexy handsome stars and don’t have his mystique and hype. There are an endless amount of second string leading men, B-Listers, men who are just past it or never quite made it or in general are just a little further down the wish list of the Hollywood cognoscenti whose performances equal his.

    Geoffrey Rush, Daniel Auteuil, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Billy Bob Thornton, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Guy Pearce, Philip Seymour Hoffman and so on are in no way ‘less’ than DDL.

    He has a fussy intensity in his style; that he is obviously ‘acting’ whilst betraying a great enormous emotional resonance is why he is attractive on screen. The artifice of costume, voice and research combined with life experience and an engaging rawness is why in his most successful roles, he is always playing someone he obviously isn’t and we all love him for it. It doesn’t always work. Jack and Rose, Stars and Bars and The Crucible all required a staunch simplicity he couldn’t quite convey without seeming apologetic for the human flaws of the characters. Where as in his most ferocious, passionate roles in GoNY and MBL he used multi-layered characterisation and a certain amounting of fronting to create them so beautifully.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that any of those guys (except for maybe Kevin Bacon…Kevin Bacon?!) are in any way “less” than DDL, we were just discussing (I thought) his peculiar combination of method thespianism and star intensity.

    Rashad, Leo’s fine. Dude almost always has impeccable taste in projects, it’s just that he’s almost always a little…passive when it comes to the way he portrays characters onscreen. Sometimes this works (Departed, Revolutionary Road), and sometimes this does not (Blood Diamond, Body of Lies). I wait with great anticipation to see what he does with a truly villainous role in Tarantino’s next.

    You’re going to have an uphill battle trying to convince me — or most anyone, really — that he was perfectly cast in Gangs, though.

  • lazarus

    Good call on Del Toro. Che was a towering achievement, and I also agree with Jeff on his work in Things We Lost In The Fire. I’d say he’s about the closest we’ve got. And sadly like DDL he doesn’t work enough.

    Here’s my take on Leo in Gangs. A lot of people were pissed when he was cast, because they thought he was a flash-in-the-pan pretty boy. Now that we know the collaboration with Marty has merit, and that he arguably got better with each passing film, his performance in Gangs doesn’t seem so disappointing in retrospect. And as noted above, he didn’t have the meaty role here. The writers gave DDL a Richard III part while Leo got a bargain basement Hamlet to work with. But we know he does the brooding thing well, and I thought that fight he has in the alley with Cameron Diaz has a lot of electricity.