Zero Dark Thirty had a bad night at The Oscars, but why?
If there’s anything worse that winning just one Oscar after your film was nominated for five, it's winning Best Sound Editing, and if there’s anything more embarrassing that that, it’s winning Best Sound Editing in a rare tied award with Skyfall.
Zero Dark Thirty’s failure at the 85th Academy Awards can be attributed, at least in part, to a trio of US senators, who, on December 19 last year, complained that the film was “grossly inaccurate” for implying torture played a part in tracking down the al-Qa’ida leader. The controversy surrounding the political implications of her film, led director Kathryn Bigelow to write a piece in the Los Angeles Times. “Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time.”
Continue reading: Zero Dark Thirty Wins Only One Oscar Through Rare Tied Award
Zero Dark Thirty won just one award at the 2013 Oscars, despite previously being considered a favourite for Best Picture
The negative press surrounding Zero Dark Thirty, has slowly dragged the movie from being an Oscars favourite, to one of the evening’s biggest disappointments. Kathryn Bigelow’s political drama was nominated in the all-important Best Picture category (and was considered a forerunner before all the negative stories took attention away from the quality of the movie), as well as Best Actress for Jessica Chastain (again, she was considered a close favourite with the night’s winner, Jennifer Lawrence), Film Editing, Sound Editing (Paul NJ Ottosson was successful in this category, at least, sharing the award with Skyfall) and Writing – Original Screenplay.
Taking home just one award, from five nominations will have been a blow for the makers of Zero Dark Thirty. The reported “distortion” of the facts surrounding Osama Bin Laden’s capture, and the torture techniques portrayed in the movie cast a dark political shadow over Zero Dark Thirty and what had previously been enjoyed as a powerful political drama was now called into question, for its accuracy. Reports that the CIA had played a part in shaping the movie’s narrative did not go down well, either, as reports from political writers began to take precedence over the reviews of the film critics.
Despite the movie making it into the Best Picture category, Kathryn Bigelow was shunned from the Best Director award nominations and Chastain lost out on that Best Actress Oscar. It’s unclear exactly where everything went wrong for Zero Dark Thirty but the political debate surrounding the movie became too overbearing for its artistry to shine through and rather than the triumph we first expected, what we have seen instead is one of the sharpest about-turns in industry opinion in recent years.
In The Oscars build-up the bulk of the attention has been on Ben Affleck and Argo, with the director and actor confounding the Academy’s decision to omit him from the best director shortlist by cleaning house at pretty much every awards event since. Affleck’s tale is a heartening one, given many feel he’s been wronged, but there was another director too who also had reason to feel aggrieved at her omission from the best director list – Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow.
Zero Dark Thirty and Argo were handed the top two film awards at the Writers Guild Awards last night – the last awards before this Sunday’s Oscar Ceremony.
Kathryn Bigelow’s taut thriller, which centers of the operation to capture Osama Bin Laden won Best Original Screenplay, with writer Mark Boal picking up the award, while Ben Affleck’s Argo – an escape story set in revolutionary Iran penned by Chris Terrio – picked up best adapted screenplay.
This was the last set of guild awards before ‘the big one’, so now both Affleck and Bigelow will both turn their attention to Sunday, where they’re nominated for a host of awards including Best Film, which, after a flurry of awards, Argo is the strong favorite to win.
Continue reading: Zero Dark Thirty And Argo Triumph In Writers Guild Awards
Film awards outcomes are difficult to predict. Year on year the judging panel changes and the tastes of both the public and the film critique elite evolve. Sometimes winners will be a curve ball, and sometimes movies that seem to be a dead cert get completely ignored from nominations.
This year, The Master had been tipped to be a firm favourite among critics, but has been largely ignored by many awards. In contrast, the underdog movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, starring two completely novice actors and the feature film directorial debut from Benh Zeitlin, has snapped up three nods from the Oscars. The BAFTAS doesn't quite have the same notoriety for its unpredictable nominations or winners, but for this year's Best Film Award, with 5 unusually strong contenders, the floor is still entirely open.
This year's nominations are; Ben Affleck's Argo, Tom Hooper's all star Les Miserables, Ang Lee's stunning adaptation of Life of Pi, American historical drama Lincoln from Steven Spielberg, and Kathryn Bigelow's controversial search for Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty.
As the Sundance Film Festival continues in Utah, buzz is emerging about the new Nicole Kidman movie Stoker, in which she plays the widowed mother of teen Mia Wasikowska as they deal with the arrival of the unexpectedly sexy Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). From the director of Old Boy, a new trailer depicts the film as a stylish, warped and very black comedy. It comes to cinemas on March 1st.
Here in Britain, two leading awards contenders open this week. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln stars Daniel Day-Lewis, the front-runner in the Best Actor race. This would be his unprecedented third win in the category. And Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty stars Jessica Chastain, who is currently the favourite for Best Actress, although Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook is giving her some serious competition.
But no one should write off iconic French actress Emmanuelle Riva's astonishing turn in Amour. She won the London Critics' Circle Film Award for Best Actress on Sunday. The London critics also gave Amour their Film of the Year title, and it's up for Best Picture at the Oscars as well.
Hey, UK readers, planning on seeing Zero Dark Thirty with a couple of friends this weekend? Of course, you'll be aware it's an Oscar frontrunner. Of course, you'll be aware it's from the director of Hurt Locker, and yes, of course you'll be aware it stars Jessica Chastain and is about the 10 year hunt for Obama Bin Laden. But are you aware of the storm brewing across the pond? If not, here's a guide to the intense criticism the movie has faced in recent weeks.
Political points-scoring began in mid-to-late 2012, when some critics of the Obama Administration accused director Kathryn Bigelow and Sony Pictures of releasing the film in October so that it would support the re-election of President Obama - i.e, the man who gave the command to raid the complex in which Bin Laden was eventually killed. Sony denied the whole thing, stating that the initial release date was chosen because it was the best available spot for an action-thriller. Anyway, the release date was pushed back, but there was more to come.
Next, several Republican sources charged the Obama Administration of improperly providing Oscar-winner Bigelow with classified information about the raid (can you see a pattern emerging here?) The charges became a prevalent election season talking point, with congressman Peter T. Ling requesting that the CIA and the U.S. Defense Department investigate whether or not information was inappropriately released. Both departments said they would look into it, though documents showed no evidence that classified information was leaked to the filmmakers. There was more to come.
Blistering writing, directing and acting hold us firmly in our seats as this procedural drama snakes its way to a riveting action finale. Although it's sometimes not easy to know whether director Bigelow and writer Boal are celebrating or criticising the way America has conducted itself on the world stage in its war on terrorism. Clearly the characters believe that these dodgy methods are essential tools in their job. But the film cleverly respects and challenges our own views on the issues.
The story begins with the events of 9/11, after which the CIA is determined to track down Osama bin Laden. Spearheading the search is tenacious analyst Maya (Chastain), who works with her colleague Dan (Clarke) to interrogate prisoners and mobilise their team (including Ehle and Perrineau) to action. Their bosses (Chandler and Strong), the CIA director (Gandolfini) and the national security advisor (Dillane) offer support and challenges. And eventually they get approval to illegally send a black-op team into bin Laden's suspected hide-out in Pakistan.
It's astonishing that Boal and Bigelow have managed to tell this true story without taking sides. They have been criticised for possibly using classified details or for depicting torture as an interrogation tool, but the facts can't be denied just because we don't like them. And your attitude going in will probably colour how you feel about the movie: some will find this a story of triumph while others will be troubled by the methods it depicts. Either way, it's impossible to ignore the film's urgency as it pulls us into a fascinating story.
Continue reading: Zero Dark Thirty Review
Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence battle over Best Actress, Denzel Washington and Daniel Day-Lewis meet over Best Actor And Anne Hathaway favorite for Best Supporting Actress. While Iceman (James Franco, Winona Ryder) and Mud (Matthew McConnaughey and Reese Witherspoon) Trailers Hit The Web.
It's awards season for the film industry, so it's no coincidence that most stories this week centre on actors and filmmakers who are up for a variety of statuettes. Last Sunday's Golden Globes are increasingly seen as a little more than a promotional opportunity for hopeful Oscar nominees, and since they have winners in both drama and musical/comedy categories, they can spread the love around more than other groups. Unlike most years, there is no movie poised to sweep the Oscars this year.
Although Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty is gaining on her, Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook is the front-runner for Best Actress. Facing a huge crowd of fans, she stopped to sign autographs and pose for photos on her way to David Letterman's show this week.
The big movie news this week, of course, was the announcement of this year's Oscar nominations, to which people reacted with the usual levels of surprise and anger. The biggest snub seems to be for previous winner Kathryn Bigelow, who was overlooked for a directing nomination even though her film Zero Dark Thirty earned five other nods, including Best Picture.
As awards season kicks off, today with the BAFTA nominations and tomorrow with the Golden Globe award ceremony, actors, actresses, directors and producers everywhere will be biting their nails and praying for a win from at least one of the big three coming up, the aforementioned two, of the Oscars, nominations for which will also be released tomorrow.
There are very few surprises in the BAFTA nominations as this year has some clear stand-out offerings to the trade, and as announced by Alice Eve and Jeremy Irvine, here's the low down on the biggest prizes.
Nominations for best film are the big five: Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. Despite BAFTA being a British institution, there's not a British film in sight (except Les Mis, but the majority of leads aren't from the fair isle). Luckily, however, there's a whole separate award for Brits. In that list, the contenders are Anna Karenina, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (that was 2012? it seems so long ago), Les Miserables, Seven Psychopaths and a much deserved Skyfall.
Zero Dark Thirty, the dark and supposedly realistic expose of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, used in the hunt and eventual capture of Osama Bin Laden, has prompted an unexpectedly heated response.
After the CIA panned the film for giving an unrealistic impression of the CIA’s practices, earlier this week, members of the US Senate have stepped up the pressure on the CIA over their response. Too complicated to follow? We’re right there with you. Apparently, the senators, including Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Intelligence Committee, asked the CIA to provide proof that the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were used in the hunt for Bin Laden.
The letter, which doesn’t really seem to make a distinct stance on the matter is only the latest in a wave of uproar, created by the film. The initial screenings of the Zero Dark Thirty managed to reignite the debate over the techniques, which most equate to torture, but which reportedly have been abandoned by the Bush administration and this is the second letter from senators to the CIA. From the wording it seems to be a case of “do what you have to do as long as nobody knows about it”, but then again, who are we to judge?
The CIA have entered the fiery debate surrounding Kathryn Bigelow's latest movie Zero Dark Thirty, claiming the Hollywood portrayal of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden "departs from reality" in significant ways.
In a strange letter to CIA employees - obtained by the Washington Post - director Michael Morell said that the Oscar tipped movie leads viewers to believe that a "few individuals" were behind the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader, instead of the "hundreds of officers" who were involved in the case. He also rejects the film's depiction of CIA interrogation and the implication that it helped extract key intelligence from detainees. "The film takes considerable liberties in its depiction of CIA personnel and their actions, including some who died while serving our country," Morell said. "We cannot allow a Hollywood film to cloud our memory of them". Though based on true events, Bigelow has made no secret of the fact that her latest movie is just that, a Hollywood movie, driven by the actress Jessica Chastain. However, it did little to perturb senators John McCain, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin, who noted that the film was "grossly inaccurate and misleading."
In his letter, Morell signed off by reminding colleagues that "the Bin Laden operation was a landmark achievement by our country, by our military, by our Intelligence Community, and by our Agency."
Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty follows her Oscar winning work on The Hurt Locker - a film that broached serious subjects and put them on the silver screen. Her latest effort - which is being talked up as another possible Oscar contender - arguably takes the tougher subject of torture. So have the American critics taken to the insinuation that the U.S uses the illegal practice to obtain sensitive information?
It would appear so. Critics from all over the globe, in fact, have adopted the position of 'we really love it', giving the film a hugely positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Kathryn Bigelow proves herself once again to be a master of heightened realism and narrative drive in this retelling of the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden," say the Los Angeles Times. "The knockout punch of the movie season is being delivered by Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain is a marvel, and Bigelow and Boal top their Oscar-winning work in The Hurt Locker," say Rolling Stone, while The New York Times say, in a wholly positive review, that it's "The most important American fiction movie about Sept. 11, a landmark that would be more impressive if there were more such films to choose from."
Zero Dark Thirty gets its limited release today, December 19th, and a full release on January 11th. In the U.K, it will hit cinemas on January 25th.
Ricky Sekhon has been cast as a "terrorist, drug dealer, drug addict, heavy, henchman, large man, very tall man", a list of roles that would imply he'd been type cast largely on his appearance as a 6ft4 man of Indian descent. "I think it's something to do with how I look," he said.
Sekhon is currently appearing in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty as Osama bin Laden, a role that is unsurprisingly pressured and delicate ground to tread. He spoke to the New York Post about the challenges he faced in the role.
"There were a few sleepless nights, to say the least," he said. "I don't care how much confidence you have, hearing news like that will really put the s**t into you if you're planning on taking it seriously, which I was."
The war in the Middle East is a touchy subject in general conversation, let alone on the big screen where it has the power to inspire and influence a vast audience. Kathryn Bigelow's latest movie, Zero Dark Thirty, covers the search and assassination of Osama Bin Laden, delving deep into the vicissitudes of American military operations, highlighting its achievements but noting its distinct dark size. Despite the name referencing a time (00:30), the 'Dark' of the title is apt in tone as well, as its content that includes torture scenes have come under intense debate and criticism.
Waterboarding and torture are the prime scenes of contention, but writer Mark Boal defends it to the LA Times. "It's a controversial subject, to put it lightly. But nobody denies it happened," he says, "I think it would have been worse not to include it. It's tough material, it's tough business. There are probably people who would rather this story not be told. There are Tea Party Republicans - I'd have to look up who they were - who were trying to make sure the movie didn't even get made."
Boal is probably right about there being plenty of people who'd prefer it not to have been made, but according to the CNN it has encouraged the problem of interrogation techniques to be brought back to the spotlight. Peter Bergen wrote: "These visceral scenes are, of course, far more dramatic than the scene where a CIA analyst says she has dug up some information in an old file that will prove to be a key to finding bin Laden." But as Pam Benson has noted, Senate Intelligence Committee will be voting today on the approval of an interrogation and detention program.
Continue reading: Controversy Surrounds Zero Dark Thirty Despite Golden Globes Nominations
Awards season kicked off in earnest this week with two major critical bodies - New York Critics and the National Board of Review - both naming the Osama bin Laden raid thriller Zero Dark Thirty as their film of the year. Jessica Chastain stars in the movie, which reunites director Kathryn Bigelow with The Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal. The new trailer promises another exciting, intense military action drama.
Another major awards contender is Tom Hooper's film of the epic musical Les Miserables, with a high-powered cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried. All of them attended the glitzy red carpet world premiere in London this week. The film opens in America on Christmas Day, and in Britain in early January.
Bret Easton Ellis, since forging a reputation as an excellent author, has soured that perception somewhat by launching into some rather unsavoury twitter rants that reek of bitterness.
His latest target is Kathryn Bigelow, the highly celebrated American film director, film producer, screenwriter and television director. In 2009, she won the Academy Award for Best Picture for the The Hurt Locker, which was also awarded the BAFTA Award for Best Film, and was nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Drama. This, however, isn't enough for Easton Ellis, and he thinks her gender has something to do with her success; that and her good looks. "Kathryn Bigelow would be considered a mildly interesting filmmaker if she was a man but since she's a very hot woman she's really overrated," he tweeted, not uncharacteristically. Her latest film, Zero Dark Thirty has already been named best film of 2012 both by the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle and will surely be honoured by several other bodies before the awards season ends.
Like we said, Easton Ellis has a habit of slating fellow professionals within 140 characters or sell, and in a very unprofessional manner. While prospective employers will probably see this as a sign of volatility, making him seem very unemployable, it's good entertainment for us, isn't it?
Continue reading: Bret Easton Ellis Picks On Kathryn Bigelow, Calls Her 'Overrated'
Following the tragic events of the twin towers bombing on September 11th 2001 in New York City, Islamic extremist group Al Qaeda's leader Osama Bin Laden was the most wanted man in the entire world. He had managed to evade capture and certain execution for nearly ten years when, in the year of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, he was found by the extraordinary Navy SEAL Team 6 and shot dead at his residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2nd. The event, however tarnished with conspiracy theories and speculation, marked a moment in history and was seen as a giant step in the current war on terror.
'Zero Dark Thirty' is the gritty historical drama telling the story of when Bin Laden was successfully captured and assassinated by a remarkable group of CIA operatives whose covert operations and well-kept secrets gave America their biggest victory in many years. With director Kathryn Bigelow ('Point Break', 'Strange Days') and writer Mark Boal ('In the Valley of Elah') who have previously worked alongside one another on the six time Academy Award winning war flick 'The Hurt Locker', it is set to be a seminal movie that may itself become an important part of history. It is set to be released on January 25th 2013.
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Scott Adkins, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Taylor Kinney, James Gandolfini, Mark Duplass, Harold Perrineau, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Frank Grillo, Stephen Dillane & Edgar Ramirez.
Continue: Zero Dark Thirty Trailer
He runs the crew through relentless drills, offers little encouragement, and seems to take unnecessary chances. We soon learn that Polenin -- who remains aboard the sub -- is a father figure to the sailors, while Vostrikov aims to inspire fear. These opposing command styles lead to power clashes throughout the movie, a la Crimson Tide.
Continue reading: K-19: The Widowmaker Review
Date of birth
27th November, 1951
After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...
Blistering writing, directing and acting hold us firmly in our seats as this procedural drama...
Following the tragic events of the twin towers bombing on September 11th 2001 in New...