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'Zero Dark Thirty' no hit in the U.S. Senate

  • December 26, 2012 - 6:35 PM

"Zero Dark Thirty" is a hit with critics and early audiences, but a bipartisan thumbs-down from Washington may dim the once-bright Oscar chances for Kathryn Bigelow's fact-based thriller about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The film has come under fire for misrepresenting the role of torture in tracking down the Al-Qaida leader. Last week, the battle took to the airwaves, as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went on radio and television to decry the Sony Pictures release.

"You believe when watching this movie that waterboarding and torture leads to information that leads then to the elimination of Osama bin Laden. That's not the case," McCain said, adding that torture had yielded false information from detainees. The former prisoner of war explained that he was speaking out because "movies, particularly by very highly credentialed producers, directors and cast, [do] have an effect on public opinion -- not only in the United States but around the world."

The slam is part of a public relations nightmare in an industry where perception often trumps reality. It also underscored the slippery ground Hollywood stands on when it makes a dramatic feature based on complicated real-world events.

McCain's remarks echoed complaints in a letter that he and Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., sent to Sony. The lawmakers asked Sony to correct the record; so far, the studio has not responded. Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have previously said that their movie "shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes."

Affleck will stick to show biz

Ben Affleck is taking his name off the list of possible candidates for U.S. Sen. John Kerry's seat, which would be open if the Democratic senator from Massachusetts is confirmed as secretary of state. Affleck said in a posting on his Facebook page that while he loves the political process, he will not be running for public office.

RESCUE DOG BEING RESCUED: A street dog from the Philippines that won hearts around the world after saving two girls from being hit by a motorcycle is a step closer to receiving surgery at University of California, Davis, to reconstruct her missing snout. UC Davis veterinarians have announced that chemotherapy has successfully eliminated the tumors that delayed facial surgery for Kabang, the dog whose muzzle was torn off in a motorcycle crash last year. Now the 2-year-old dog is getting treated for heartworms. Kabang arrived at UC Davis in October after thousands of dollars was raised for her care through a social media frenzy.

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