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article imageDaniel Day-Lewis gives Abe his actual voice back

By Tim O'Brien     Nov 11, 2012 in Entertainment
When Daniel Day-Lewis decides to be a part of a movie, he dives in and transforms himself into the character he portrays. From "My Left Foot" to "There Will be Blood" and all performances in between, he lives his roles.
That surely seems true to "Lincoln" as well. This time, though, some are raising their voices over the way he chose to voice the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
Now, a disclaimer here, as one who resides from the Land of Lincoln, this voice portrayal is not a problem, nor is it that far-fetched. It seems that those who reside in Illinois and are history buffs, knew that Honest Abe's voice was not a deep, resounding one, that would make the ground shake. It was more of a high-pitched variety, which certainly belies his stature. One could look at Walter Payton (former member of the Chicago Bears) perhaps, as his voice, too, made those not familiar with him, wince. So, more like Payton and less like Gregory Peck. But, nonetheless, it was not like it has been portrayed in film over the years.
In an NPR interview, the two-time Oscar winner discussed the matter. "Luckily with something of this kind, no one can categorically say that I didn't [get it right] because there are no recordings, so there's a great freedom there. But you take all the clues that you can. We have a number of contemporary accounts about the pitch of his voice, referring to the fact that he had a high-pitched voice or spoke in a fairly high register."
The Smithsonian, meanwhile, says Steven Spielberg nailed it. Smithsonian‘s Megan Gambino interviewed Harold Holzer to find out. “Lincoln’s voice, as far as period descriptions go, was a little shriller, a little higher,” he said. For more on the voice of Lincoln, head here.
No matter what, it will be up for many Oscars when nominations are announced in January. Now, if Day-Lewis wins or loses, that will be up for debate. Taking out the emotion, Day-Lewis has two Oscars and getting in that coveted three-time category doesn't come easy. There are many more factors that come into play than just a voice, high or low.
The good thing about this is it does put focus on the person many consider to be the greatest president. And it just may make some take up to reading more history, and that is a good thing.
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