“Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal accepted prizes for best director and best picture at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Monday night (Jan. 7), and took the opportunity to respond to the torture controversy that has surrounded the film.
High profile Senators including John McCain and Dianne Feinstein have criticized the film’s depictions of torture, which they believe give audiences the implication that the CIA’s use of coercive interrogation techniques led to valuable information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Feinstein is the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating what information the filmmakers obtained from the CIA in the making of “Zero Dark Thirty.”
“I thankfully want to say that I’m standing in a room of people who understand that depiction is not endorsement, and if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices; no author could ever write about them; and no filmmaker could ever delve into the naughty subjects of our time,” Bigelow said in her best director acceptance speech, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Boal, who produced the film in addition to researching and writing the script, added his thoughts while accepting the best picture prize.
“I stand here tonight being extremely proud of the film we made,” Boal said. “In case anyone is asking, we stand by the film. I think at the end of the day, we made a film that allows us to look back at the past in a way that gives us a more clear-sighted appraisal of the future.”