While 2011 was not short on good films, it has proven to be a year with few awards darlings. Drive is a bit too edgy for conservative voters, films like The Tree of Life and The Help came out way before the winter period (usually considered necessary in order to sustain momentum and secure votes), and even a film like War Horse, which would usually be considered a shoe-in for nominations, is having problems maintaining buzz. Most of the accolades seem to be heading the way of a French black-and-white silent movie called The Artist, a film without much appreciation or even awareness by the general public. And while that’s a shame (as it is an excellent film), without many blockbuster sensations or a popular hit picking up nominations and awards it’s not hard to see why 2011 could easily become a forgotten year in the history of film. 2012 won’t have the same problem.
As I’m writing this we’re less than a week into the new year, yet I feel comfortable predicting that when awards season rolls around next year Lincoln is going to be the only film on everyone’s lips. It has so many things going in its favour. First is the subject matter – the film will focus on the end of Abraham Lincoln’s life, the American Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, some of the biggest patriotic touchstones existing in American history. There’s also the timing of the film; it will be coming out at the end of the year to coincide with the American election, and with talk of presidents fresh in their minds audiences will flock to it in droves. Finally, there are the people involved in its production. Double Academy Award winning director and box office master Steven Spielberg is heading the project with some long-term collaborators, such as the acclaimed cinematographer Janusz Kamiński. In the titular role is Daniel Day Lewis, a man considered by many to be one of the greatest actors of all time, and supporting him is an exciting cast made up of acting heavyweights and future stars. All told the cast boast 5 Academy Awards (2 each for Day Lewis and Sally Fields, with one for Tommy Lee Jones).
While 2011 may slink quietly away, 2012 will be remembered cinematically for many reasons. The Batman trilogy will end. The Avengers will finally be assembled. Ridley Scott will have returned to science fiction. Peter Jackson will be back in Middle-Earth. But when the dust has settled, Lincoln will be what it’s remembered for.