Exactly 149 years after Abraham Lincoln made a speech that he believed “the world will little note, nor long remember,” Steven Spielberg was keynote speaker at an event that annually proves him wrong.
Just days after Spielberg’s historical drama Lincoln opened in theaters nationally, the Oscar-winning filmmaker paid tribute Monday to the 16th president’s Gettysburg Address at a windswept ceremony commemorating both that iconic speech and the 1863 transformation of a bloody battlefield into the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.
“The murder of Abraham Lincoln, the loss of Lincoln, is heartbreaking,” Spielberg told the crowd. “And I admit that one of the reasons I wanted to make this film, I wanted — impossibly — to bring Lincoln back from his sleep of one-and-a-half centuries even if only for two-and-a-half hours, and even if only in a cinematic dream.”
Throughout award season, potential nominees are judged – as with any campaign – on the speeches they make, but in this case there was no trophy being presented, and few other thank-you remarks carry this much emotion or gravity.