You’ve seen their lists of best and worst movies of the year — now take a look at EW critics Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum’s picks for best and worst scenes of the year.
Best scene — Owen’s pick
A president strategizes in Lincoln
At a cabinet meeting, Abraham Lincoln makes a startling confession: He has no idea if his Emancipation Proclamation is even legal. He just…did it. In fact, he’s been winging the legality of his actions through most of the Civil War. But then he floats a head-spinning case for why his push against slavery is legal—and why the courts, with no 13th amendment, may still overrule him. This spellbinder of a monologue seizes us with the intricacy of Lincoln’s mind, even as Daniel Day-Lewis’ acting shows us his secret renegade spirit. And Steven Spielberg uses a very slow zoom to mythically echo the scene in The Godfather when Michael Corleone ”joins” his family. That’s great filmmaking.