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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Oscars, Lincoln, and Disney

The Academy Award nominations came out yesterday and leading the pack was Steven Spielberg's epic biopic Lincoln with 12 nominations including all the major categories outside of Best Actress. Great honor for a worthy effort as Spielberg brought the words of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to life in a memorable movie. 

Yesterday morning a lady I work with, who was watching some of the nomination activity on the TV before coming to work, mentioned that someone had said something about Lincoln being a Disney movie and she asked me if I knew that was true because "it sure didn't seem like a Disney movie". So I gave the explanation again. Lincoln was made by Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Pictures along with other financiers (including 20th Century Fox). DreamWorks makes movies but has a long term deal in place for Disney, through Disney's Touchstone Pictures subsidiary, to distribute all DreamWorks live action pictures (not the animated ones like Shrek or Kung-Fu Panda which are separate). Disney has absolutely no say so in the movies that DreamWorks makes. Disney only distributes the movies as they did with Lincoln (and only in the United States, international film distribution is also separate).

So when Steven Spielberg gets up to accept an Oscar or two for Lincoln, which he is favored to do, he will most likely say thanks to Disney execs for their help in delivering his masterpiece to the theaters and the large audience who have seen the movie but the movie is his and not Disney's.

Which brings me back to my soap box and Disneyland's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. I hope with all the attention being brought to the great president, more people are stopping by Disneyland's Opera House to see Lincoln, perhaps the the most advanced animatronic on earth. It's a wonderful show that began with Walt Disney himself as the creator of the first animatronic Lincoln for the New York's World's Fair in 1963. Disney imagineers have continued to change and advance the show through the years and it's all done as a labor of love because no one goes to Disneyland to see Lincoln and there is no Lincoln souvenir shop. 

It saddens me to see scores of people walk (or run) through the entrance tunnels of Disneyland and never once look to the right where the magnificent Opera House stands with open arms. People are too focused on what is down at the end of Main Street - a world of rides and mountains. Hopefully now with more attention being paid toward Lincoln, the Opera House has more than a handful of people to see the short but great Lincoln presentation put on by Disneyland. It is time well spent, just like the movie.

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