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. 

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain, star of Zero Dark Thirty and former favourite to win Best actress Oscar, lost out to Jennifer Lawrence