UPDATED: Lincoln director Steven Spielberg was the one who ultimately arranged for Bill Clinton to appear tonight at the Golden Globes. Sources tell Deadline that the former President’s introduction tonight of Spielberg’s film about Abraham Lincoln was an almost state secret. “We had this on lockdown,” said DreamWorks co-chair/CEO Stacey Snider, one of the people who helped organize the appearance for the DreamWorks-Fox-Disney film. Only about a handful of people at the Globes knew the 42nd President was coming. In fact, to keep things under wraps, Hollywood Foreign Press Association members who did know about the surprise were told to lie – and say that the special presenter was Prince Albert of Monaco. Some of the HFPA hierarchy heard there would be a special guest in the first hour but didn’t know who it was. Certainly Golden Globes attendees dropping off their cars before the ceremony noticed that security was tighter than usual with assault rifles visible on authorities.
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Clinton received the first standing ovation of the night when he came onstage. Snider told Deadline that “her heart was pounding” during his intro of a clip. Clinton called Lincoln a “brilliant film” in his remarks, and he also joked about some of the harsh realities of politics that Lincoln reveals in the Civil War era President’s desire to see slavery outlawed. “Winning it required the President to make a lot of unsavory deals that had nothing to do with the big issue — I wouldn’t know anything about that,” he said to big laughs.
Lincoln has had its fair share of real-life contemporary political connections already. The film played at the White House for a special screening November 15 and for the U.S. Senate on December 19. Though up for several big nominations tonight at the Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director – Drama, Lincoln’s only win was Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor In A Motion Picture – Drama.