Martin Sheen and Ed Asner are joining the protest against the hotly debated torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal‘s Oscar-nominated nail-biter about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Hands down the most controversial film of awards season, Zero Dark Thirty has drawn complaints that it glorifies torture and also suggests that torturing prisoners played a crucial part in tracking down bin Laden.
Both Sheen and Asner have issued an appeal to fellow actors to let their conscience guide them in deciding whether to cast a best-picture Oscar vote for the movie, reports CBS’ Los Angeles affiliate station.
The two are siding with David Clennon, an actor who is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, in his campaign urging other members to “sign on to the letter,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“One of the brightest female directors in the business is in danger of becoming part of the system,” Asner was cited as saying in a press release.
A rep for Asner did not immediately respond to THR‘s requests for comment. Sheen’s publicist could not immediately confirm the actor’s involvement in the memo to Oscar voters.
Zero Dark Thirty has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture, but in a surprising snub, Bigelow did not make the cut in the best director category.
It opened in limited release last month and wide Friday, raking in $9 million and putting it on course to earn $25 million-plus at the weekend box office.
On Friday, Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal jumped to Bigelow and screenwriter Boal’s defense against charges it justifies terrorism, saying in a statement: “Zero Dark Thirty does not advocate torture. To not include that part of history would have been irresponsible and inaccurate. We fully support Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal and stand behind this extraordinary movie. We are outraged that any responsible member of the Academy would use their voting status in AMPAS as a platform to advance their own political agenda.”
Her response came following an opinion piece posted Wednesday on the website truth-out.org by Clennon. “I’m a member of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Academy. At the risk of being expelled for disclosing my intentions, I will not be voting for Zero Dark Thirty – in any Academy Awards category,” he wrote.