January 10, 2014 2:07pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Oscars Host Ellen DeGeneres Linked to Leaked 'Walter Mitty' Screener
On Wednesday, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty began appearing online. It took less than 24 hours before the leak was connected to Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres.
According to Andy Baio, a Portland, Oregon-based computer programmer who has spent years tracking when and how Oscar screeners leak, a watermark showed DeGeneres' name.
That doesn't mean that DeGeneres herself was foolish enough to seed file-trading platforms with an illegal copy of Walter Mitty. But it does suggest that someone around her might have been careless.
The copy wasn't an Oscar screener. Instead, it appears as though a copy of the film was sent to The Ellen DeGeneres Show before a visit from Ben Stiller on December 4.
"Our show is sent advanced screeners of movies, sitcoms, reality shows, CDs, etc. before guests appear on our show," explains executive producers of the talk show. "We do everything we can to protect the content, and in 11 seasons, nothing has ever leaked online from our show."
Ellen DeGeneres reps add that they aren't certain whether Walter Mitty leaked from their show or not. "We are doing everything we can to find out and to make sure it never happens again," they say.
Walter Mitty wasn't the only film to have leaked this week. According to Baio, Oscar screeners for Her, Frozen and The Wolf of Wall Street also appeared online on Wednesday.
Baio says he will wait until Academy Award nominees are announced to update his annual spreadsheet of piracy statistics. In 2012, after examining a decade worth of data, he observed that leaks of Oscar screeners were on the downswing but that people were uploading alternative DVD or Blu-ray rips earlier than ever.