Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years A Slave was made for “a price,” and yet it includes a brief process shot of Washington, D.C. in 1841 — the year that Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was kidnapped and sold into slavery. It isn’t much but at least it’s an attempt to convey what the cityscape looked like back then. A generic establishing shot. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s any kind of similar shot of the nation’s capital in Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln. That always bothered me. I really wanted to see a nice, expensive CG panorama shot of Abraham Lincoln‘s Washington — muddy Pennyslvania Avenue, the Treasury building, the White House without the east or west wings, horses and carriages, men in top hats and women in hoop skirts, plumes of smoke from a thousand chimneys…the whole shebang. But Spielberg refused. I don’t even recall seeing a basic establishing shot of the White House and the grounds. Closeups of the north portico but no glimpses of the entire structure.