Remember last week when Tony Kushner, screenwriter of Steven Spielberg’s long-simmering biopic Lincoln, said that the decision on making the film would take place this week? Well, it has, and the word is no. According to Kim Masters at Slate, Paramount has passed.

Masters published a piece yesterday that suggested that the financial woes of Dreamworks, combined with the company’s acrimonious split with Paramount, could have a bad impact on Lincoln. Today the piece was updated to note that Paramount had passed, which leaves Spielberg with…what? Liam Neeson, a script and a handful of nothing, or so it seems.

What happened is this: when Dreamworks and Paramount split, Spielberg put up money to buy a bunch of film rights from Paramount. Lincoln was in another batch of movies the company planned to buy back, but the money wasn’t there. So the green light was Paramount’s to give. With that pass, another company can step up — including Disney, currently partnered with Dreamworks — but that’s more machinery to turn, and the 2009 window of opportunity is going to close on this one really soon.