As Zero Dark Thirty continues to be attacked for allegedly celebrating torture — with recent salvos coming from actors Martin Sheen and Ed Asner, who have urged Oscar voters to boycott the film — director Kathryn Bigelow has written an essay for The Los Angeles Times describing her personal views on torture, and explains that an artist who depicts "inhumane practices" isn't necessarily endorsing them:
Will this finally put the argument to rest? At the very least, Bigelow's eloquent defense of her film shows that it's ridiculous to paint Zero Dark Thirty as "reactionary modern-day propaganda, as if Bigelow were Leni Riefentshal and Zero is Triumph of the Will," says Jon Weisman at Variety. And Bigelow's essay "comes at a critical time for the movie," from both a financial and an awards-show perspective, says Anthony Breznican at Entertainment Weekly. Zero Dark Thirty opened nationally last Friday, earning $24 million at the box office, and it's still a legitimate contender for several Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay (writer Mark Boal), Best Actress (star Jessica Chastain, who won the Best Actress Golden Globe for Zero Dark Thirty on Sunday), and even Best Picture. (Even though the Oscar nominees have been announced, balloting continues until just a few days before the Feb. 24 show.) To keep that momentum alive, Zero Dark Thirty needs to overcome its attackers once and for all. "Will this satisfy Academy voters who may be troubled by the criticism?" Time will tell.
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