New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd on Sunday added her voice to those calling for Steven Spielberg to re-film or re-dub a scene from “Lincoln” to properly represent the vote of two Connecticut House members on the 13th Amendment.
Joe Courtney, a Democratic congressman from Connecticut, started the controversy earlier this month when he wrote to Spielberg to complain that DreamWorks' “Lincoln” falsely showed two of Connecticut’s House members voting “Nay” against the amendment for the abolition of slavery. He called on the film's director to publicly acknowledge the mistake before the Feb. 24 Oscar telecast, and correct it before the film goes to home video.
In her piece, headlined “The Oscar for Best Fabrication,” Dowd also pointed to scenes from another Best Picture Oscar contender, Ben Affleck's “Argo,” as historically inaccurate before making the case that “Lincoln” should be revised to reflect the proper vote.
The issue has taken on greater import, Dowd wrote, because Spielberg recently agreed to provide a DVD of the Best Picture Oscar nominee to every middle and high school that requests it.
"I think Spielberg should refilm the scene or dub in 'Illinois' for 'Connecticut' before he sends out his DVDs and leaves students everywhere thinking the Nutmeg State is nutty," she wrote.
“Lincoln” screenwriter Tony Kushner (photo above with Spielberg), in an open letter to the Wall Street Journal, said that he disagreed with the idea of making changes, and said that a work of historical fiction need not adhere to all the facts.
"These alterations were made to clarify to the audience the historical reality that the Thirteenth Amendment passed by a very narrow margin that wasn’t determined until the end of the vote," he wrote. "The closeness of that vote and the means by which it came about was the story we wanted to tell."