By Megan Bianco
Two of the biggest surprises from the announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominations were the absences of directors Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow. Both received glowing praise for their suspenseful political dramas, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively, as well as nominations for other awards. It seems while not everyone enjoyed Zero Dark Thirty, some still found it a landmark in cinema during 2012.
For nearly a decade after the events of 9/11, CIA operative Maya (Jessica Chastain) obsessively leads a worldwide search for the location of Osama bin Laden. After years of help from her coworkers, disbelief from her superiors and numerous terrorist attacks around the world, Maya cracks and won’t be satisfied until bin Laden is dead.
The film has been getting a lot of attention and criticism for its torture sequences, which some think are unnecessary and glamorizing, in the first half-hour. This could be a theory on why Zero Dark Thirty was nominated for Best Picture and Actress, but not Director for the Oscars. While the direction and performances are fine, there seems to be, whether in pacing or narrative, a spark missing that Bigelow’s last film, The Hurt Locker, had. Nevertheless, award committees seem to think the film deserves the recognition and everyone is curious to see if Chastain will take home the big trophy for Best Actress.