Tony Kushner responds.

The votes are in and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln has been nominated for no less than twelve Academy awards. I have never thought too much about such things–don’t get me started on the less than useless Grammies, which are too irrelevant to get worked up about anyway. Still, to the extent that these things matter it seems right that Lincoln should sweep the nominations. One of the nominees is Tony Kushner, for Best Adapted Screenplay. Kushner is deserving; whatever else one might say about him, he is a fine playwright and screenwriter. Those following closely know that the book Kushner is credited with adapting into film is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. I never understood this because the film focuses upon the tiniest fraction of Goodwin’s 800+ page monograph. I say this not as criticism. She certainly advised Kushner here-and-there along the way as he prepared the manuscript. The film is better for this. It just seemed that the relationship between the film and book was tenuous. The New Republic’s Timothy Noah informs us that the book most directly responsible for Spielberg & Kushner’s Lincoln is in all likelihood Michael Vorenberg’s Final Freedom: The Civil War, The Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment. Noah’s article is a reminder that politics, including passage of the 13th Amendment, is a messier process than even can ever be depicted  on celluloid. And yes, if you have not seen Lincoln you should do so before it leaves the big screen.