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Lincoln Historical Error? Connecticut Politician Questions Steven Spielberg Film's Facts

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln DreamWorks

Lincoln may be a strong contender at this year's Oscars, but the presidential epic doesn't quite get one politician's vote.

A Connecticut congressman is questioning the veracity of the film's claims that representatives from his state voted against the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery.

(Of course, it wouldn't be Oscar season without some kind of controversy befalling a Best Picture nominee—see: Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained.)

Per published reports, Rep. Joe Courtney has taken issue with a scene in Steven Spielberg's film depicting two Connecticut congressmen casting their vote against the amendment in January 1865. After seeing Lincoln, Courtney then contacted the Congressional Research Service to dig up some facts. 

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The agency's research subsequently revealed that all four of the state's representatives supported the 13th Amendment.

Courtney, a four-term Democratic congressman, is now asking Spielberg to make changes to Lincoln before the movie is released on home video.

In a letter to the Oscar-winning director, Courtney reportedly wrote: "How could congressmen from Connecticut—a state that supported President Lincoln and lost thousands of her sons fighting against slavery on the Union side of the Civil War—have been on the wrong side of history?"

The politician insists that he remains a fan of the movie, lauding its performances and technical merits.

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"The portrayal of Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens is brilliant," he told the Hartford Courant, but added that "the state's good name, I personally feel, was tarnished a bit."

Of course, eleventh-hour controversies involving Oscar frontrunners are nothing new—over the last few years, a slew of hopefuls were pelted with nasty accusations as their respective races headed into the home stretch. In 2002, A Beautiful Mind came under fire after reports claimed that its subject, John Forbes Nash, was anti-Semitic. More recently, Slumdog Millionaire was hit with allegations that it exploited its child actors.

Lincoln leads this year's Oscar nominees with 12 nods. But in a surprising surge, Argo—whose director, Ben Affleck, was snubbed for a nomination—now seems to be gaining on the one-time frontrunner after racking up key wins with the Producers Guild and Directors Guild, and at last month's Golden Globes and SAG Awards. 

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