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Hamptons’ Hollywood Royalty Steven Spielberg’s "Lincoln" Nominated For 12 Oscars

Originally Posted: January 11, 2013

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

East Hampton resident Steven Spielberg has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards for his film "Lincoln." (Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com)

Hollywood Oscar winners in the Hamptons? Frankly, in measuring the association of the Hamptons to the Hollywood royalty that have won Academy Awards over the years, one would have to go back to the 1940s to start the count. However, there is none more prolific than Georgica Pond, East Hampton homeowner Steven Spielberg, who's "Lincoln" was nominated this morning for 12 Oscars at the announcement in Los Angles of the 2013 Academy Award nominees.

I saw "Lincoln" two weeks ago and I must say it is one of the most powerful and engaging films based on American History that I have ever seen. Two minutes into the film we are not watching Daniel Day-Lewis portraying Abraham Lincoln, it is as if we are with Abraham Lincoln. Not in a theater, but as if we were with Lincoln himself in a room in the White House. This is not only a testament to the brilliance of Day-Lewis as an actor, but also to Spielberg as a director. At the film's conclusion, I experienced something I have not experienced in a movie theater in years…not a word was spoken, no one moved to the exits and everyone sat in their seats to read the credits.

In my youth, that was always the respect one afforded a filmmaker, but during that era the credits lasted about two minutes with less than 50 credited professionals associated with the creation of a film, including all the actors. Now, it seems to take hundreds of people to create any film, from a masterpiece like "Lincoln" to nonsense like "The Hangover" Part Two. What a testament to "Lincoln," this extraordinary film our fellow Hamptonian has created, bravo Mr. Spielberg!

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's seminal American film. (Photo: thelincolnmovie.com)

Yes, the Hollywood-to-the-Hamptons connection is indelible and has existed for over six decades, if not longer. I could start with Gary Cooper (two Oscars), who is actually buried in Southampton (exhumed from his Los Angles' grave and re-buried in the Hamptons by his wife, who both were Bowden Square, now the Southampton Public House, regulars), but to name every Hollywood star associated with the Hamptons would turn this article into a Russian novel, filled with more characters than one could possibly keep track of in a single reading.

If I took the time to do the research, I am sure I would find that the likes of the founders of United Artists (1919) Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith had paid a visit to the Hamptons. They probably visited Blue-Blood, NY Social Registry Ground-Zero at the time, Southampton. Of course we all know, at least we Hamptonians and others firmly believe, that Rudolph Valentino's 1921 "The Sheik" was filmed on the dunes of the Napeague Stretch between Amagansett and Montauk.

The early history of the American film industry finds its roots, understandably in the East, as Thomas Edison's company was making films at the turn of the century. That said, the Hamptons are and have always been the destination for Hollywood directors, producers and stars between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, not to mention the money guys and gals that live here year-round and, if you'll pardon the pun, back the films behind the scenes. On any given weekend you could be within earshot at East Hampton's Nick & Toni's of Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Hugh Jackman, Leonardo DiCaprio and, of course, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw themselves, to name but a very, very few.

As of today, Steven Spielberg must be recognized as the ultimate Hollywood royalty who calls the Hamptons' home (sorry Alec), at least in season. If not obvious before, it should now be obvious to all as "Lincoln" has been, according to the Academy with 12 nominations, recognized as one of the greatest American films in recent history and, perhaps, a classic that will share that honor with the likes of "Citizen Kane" (9 nominations), "Casablanca" (8 nominations) and "Gone With the Wind" (8 nominations).

True, "Titanic" and "All About Eve" received 14 nominations each. However, sorry Bette Davis and Mr. Cameron, I believe they are not in the same ballpark as the films I just mentioned. I do believe "Lincoln" will join the rarified air of the ultimate Hollywood classics…made even sweeter for us in Hollywood East, as we in the Hamptons call Steven Spielberg one of our own.

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Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline

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