Friday, January 29, 2010

Lincoln's Award-Winning Weekend

The year of Abraham Lincoln's bicentennial is at an end, but the former president's influence on popular culture remains. This weekend, as Mike over at The Abraham Lincoln Observer writes (I knew I should have burned the midnight oil to post this), a full CD recording of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, is nominated for a Grammy in the Best Spoken Word Album category. The 14-CD set, released by BBC audio, features David Strathairn (Oscar-nominated actor for Good Night and Good Luck) as Abraham Lincoln and Richard Dreyfuss (Oscar-winning actor for The Goodbye Girl) as Stephen Douglas. The other nominees include another president -- Jimmy Carter reading his book We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land -- a reading of The Maltese Falcon, two autobiographies by famous people -- Michael J. Fox (the sentimental choice) and Carrie Fisher, and Jonathan Winters.

Even if Lincoln comes up short at the Grammys on Sunday, he's already won this weekend. At a 2010 Sundance Film Festival ceremony Saturday, "Drunk History: Douglass and Lincoln," a six-minute live-action short film directed by Jeremy Konner, will receive the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking. The movie, which follows the fractured narrative given by a drunk historian, features Will Ferrell as Abraham Lincoln and Don Cheadle as Frederick Douglass. I have been unable to find the complete film online (there are others in the "Drunk History" series on YouTube), but there is a clip here.

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