We all know what they looked like: one a macabre silhouette with a round body and even rounder vowels, the other a tall stovepipe-hat-sporting icon whose face we’ve handed to innumerable cashiers. But this year we got a taste of what Alfred Hitchcock and Abraham Lincoln were actually like. In Hitchcock Anthony Hopkins played the Master of Suspense with the aid of prosthetic jowls only a couple of months after Toby Jones played him in HBO’s The Girl. Meanwhile, the 16th president got his own double feature in 2012 with the painstakingly accurate Lincoln and the heart-stakingly inaccurate Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Up until now, Honest Abe mainly stayed out of the movies, other than performances by Henry Fonda, Raymond Massey, and, uh, whoever played him in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. So two portrayals in one year is pretty impressive. And in the same way that Hitchcock was depicted in his twin biopics as either a charming but troubled genius or a monstrous sexual obsessive, we saw two sides of the same penny for Lincoln, as the leader of the Union took on both his enemies in Congress and the enemies of the night.