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Inside the Best Picture Nominees: A deep dive into 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Name: Zero Dark Thirty

Release date: Limited release: Dec. 19; wide release: Jan. 11

DVD release date: N/A

Run time: 2 hours, 37 minutes

Box office: First weekend (wide): $24.4 million; total domestic (so far): $71.8 million

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93 percent

Movie Math: Real life + (Homeland x The Hurt Locker) + (National Geographic’s Seal Team Six – basic cable production values)

Tweetable description: Brilliant, determined CIA agent spends years obsessively hunting down terrorist mastermind; is not named Carrie Mathison.


Kathryn Bigelow talks 'Zero Dark Thirty' torture controversy in 'Time' interview


Time Magazine’s new cover profile of Kathryn Bigelow may not change your mind if you, like many of Zero Dark Thirty‘s detractors, think the celebrated film’s torture scenes are “grossly inaccurate and misleading.” The article doesn’t really take sides on the issue, instead allowing readers to draw their own conclusions based on quotes from both the movie’s makers and opponents like former CIA director Michael Hayden (who calls the film’s interrogation scenes “inaccurate and overwrought and just plain wrong”).

Still, Bigelow does make a compelling argument for why Zero Dark portrays torture the way it does. “Where there’s clarity in the world, there’s clarity in the film,” the director explains. “Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That’s clarity. And where there’s ambiguity in the world, there’s ambiguity in the film.” She also doesn’t hedge when describing what she sees as the movie’s message: “I think that it’s a deeply moral movie that questions the use of force. It questions what was done in the name of finding bin Laden.” And, for the record, she’s quoted as saying that torture is “reprehensible.”


Stephen Colbert questions Kathryn Bigelow about torture scenes in 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Last night, Kathryn Bigelow stopped by The Colbert Report and addressed the controversy surrounding the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty.

“First of all, torture is reprehensible,” Bigelow said. “And I think it’s a very controversial issue. It’s been debated since the early part of 2000. And it’s gonna continue to be debated. And I would call this movie kind of the first draft of history, or maybe the first rough cut of history.”

In the extended interview Colbert pushes further, asking Bigelow if she thinks that the firsthand information given to her was accurate or if it was twisted to make the torture techniques seem worth while.


Golden Globes: Who will win in the movie categories? Polls!

With separate categories for drama and comedy or musical, the Golden Globes won’t exactly predict how much Oscar competition Les Miserables‘ Hugh Jackman is for Lincoln‘s Daniel Day-Lewis, but look on the bright side: We have an interesting acceptance speech to look forward to if the Best Director award goes to one of the Oscar-snubbed — Argo‘s Ben Affleck, Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow, or Django Unchained‘s Quentin Tarantino. Who will win in the Globes’ 14 movie categories? Let’s take it to a vote below. Remember, this is who you think will win, not necessarily who you think should win.  READ FULL STORY

Oscar snubs Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Matthew McConaughey: Which omission hurts the most?

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and while we all congratulate the lucky ones, we can also lament those left off the list. Let’s start with EW Entertainer of the Year Ben Affleck: Although Argo nabbed seven nods, including Best Picture, supporting actor Alan Arkin, and adapted screenplay, he didn’t make the director’s cut. Zero Dark Thirty helmer Kathryn Bigelow was also snubbed, despite the film’s five nominations — among them Best Picture, actress Jessica Chastain, and original screenplay. The directing category is always ripe for gripes when it doesn’t include those behind the year’s Best Picture noms (see also: Django Unchained‘s Quentin Tarantino and Les Miserables‘ Tom Hooper this year).

As for acting snubs, there’s The Sessions‘ John Hawkes, Arbitrage‘s Richard Gere, and Django‘s Leonardo DiCaprio — all of whom scored Golden Globes nominations. And our dream of seeing Matthew McConaughey recognized for Magic Mike has sadly gone unrealized.

Which snub have you dubbed the most egregious this morning? Feel free to tackle any category. (No screenplay nod for Perks of Being a Wallflower or Looper!)

Read more:
Oscar 2013: The nominations revealed …
Gallery: 25 Biggest Oscar Snubs of All Time
EW’s Oscars 2013 HQ
Anthony Breznican’s Prize Fighter column

Jessica Chastain assures David Letterman that 'Zero Dark Thirty' is 'not a documentary' -- VIDEO

Did the CIA give Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal inappropriate access to classified information about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden? The Senate Intelligence Committee is currently investigating that very question — but star Jessica Chastain doesn’t seem to think the film’s director and screenwriter did anything wrong.

That didn’t stop the Oscar nominee from getting visibly uncomfortable when David Letterman asked last night if any confidentialities had been betrayed during the making of the movie, which finally opens in wide release Friday. “I’m afraid to be called in front of a Senate committee after this show!” she laughed at one point.

But seriously, folks: “I think it’s important to know that the film is not a documentary,” Chastain said, though she did also stress Zero Dark Thirty‘s authenticity. And in case you were wondering: No, she hasn’t met the woman on whom her character was based, since the agent in question is still working for the CIA.

Watch Chastain smile and squirm below:


Bret Easton Ellis admits his Twitter rant against Kathryn Bigelow went 'beyond douchiness'

Remember back in ye olde early December when controversial author Bret Easton Ellis ripped on Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow for being a “very hot woman” who’s “really overrated”? Well, now Ellis, who would very much like to stay on the national radar in any way possible, has finally seen Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and issued a formal retraction. (Blogs are formal.) READ FULL STORY

Bret Easton Ellis thinks Kathryn Bigelow's overrated because she's 'a very hot woman'

Professional troll Bret Easton Ellis has grown weary of baiting gay people and defending socialites who make anti-gay remarks. If he wants to keep making headlines — and he does, he really does — he’s going to have to target an even larger swath of the population. Like, say, women.

The controversial author tried this new tactic on his Twitter page last night, lobbing an insult at Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow weeks before her latest film, Zero Dark Thirty, opens in theaters.


'Zero Dark Thirty' trailer: Bringing terror back to the terrorists

The new trailer for the Osama bin Laden takedown film Zero Dark Thirty is full of ominous music and growled threats, but it is the soft crunch of boots on gravel as SEAL Team Six approaches a dimly lit compound that brings the most menace.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, the duo behind the Oscar-winning war drama The Hurt Locker, the movie chronicles the decade-long hunt for the terrorist mastermind, and the trailer manages to keep the details of the plot murky while suggesting some of the frustrations and hurdles encountered by those trying to find the world’s most wanted man.

“There’s nobody else hidden away on some floor. There’s just us,” says a CIA official played by Mark Strong. “And we are failing.”

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