"Zero Dark Thirty" fails at Oscars amid political fallout

Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:35am EST
 

By Tim Reid and Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Zero Dark Thirty," about the decade-long U.S. hunt for Osama bin Laden, has received more attention in the U.S. Congress than it did at the Oscars on Sunday, amid political fallout over its depiction of torture and alleged intelligence leaks to the movie's makers.

The film, which has sparked outrage among both Democrats and Republicans in Washington over its depiction of torture, and allegations that the Obama administration leaked classified intelligence to help the making of the film, won no major Oscars on Sunday and only one award overall.

Just three months ago, the thriller, which culminates in Osama bin Laden's killing by U.S. Navy Seals, was a strong contender to pick up the biggest prize of Best Picture, as well as the Best Actress and Original Screenplay awards.

By the end of Sunday night, however, it had picked up just one award - a shared Oscar for Sound Editing, which was a tie.

In recent weeks, the movie has seen a fierce backlash over its implied message that torture helped crack the bin Laden case.

Early signs of trouble came in mid-December when leading U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin, both Democrats, and John McCain, the Republicans' 2008 presidential candidate, sent a letter to movie studio Sony Pictures, castigating the film.

They called the film "grossly inaccurate and misleading" for suggesting torture helped the U.S. track the al Qaeda leader to a Pakistani compound, where he was killed in 2011.

Three weeks later, the film's director, Kathryn Bigelow, was omitted from the Oscar's Best Director shortlist, chosen by about 5,800 movie industry professionals who make up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.   Continued...

 
Jessica Chastain, actress in a leading role nominee for the film "Zero Dark Thirty" arrives at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson