Steven Spielberg’s “The Diary of Schindler’s Pianist” has won the Academy Award for best picture of 2012 even before its release, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.
“It would be insulting to make a film of this stature wait almost a year to be honored,” said Reynolds Pompton, academy president. “Besides, there would be no suspense factor at the ceremony anyway.”
The blockbuster film will not only be directed by but also will star Mr. Spielberg, who stepped into the key role of Hektor Schindler, the brother of the famed Oskar Schindler of “Schindler’s List,” when Aston Kutcher proved unavailable, officials of Dreamworks Studios said.
The script, originally written by Darren Aronofsky and Aaron Sorkin and now undergoing a rewrite by Quentin Tarantino, tells the story of a 13-year-old Jewish girl who is rescued from Auschwitz by Schindler, a private in a Slovenian resistance unit, who can never forget the piano recital he once saw the brilliant prodigy give in the Jewish Ghetto in Krakow. The two are pursued through Eastern Europe by a vengeful SS man to be played by Christoph Waltz but are saved by an elite American infantry squad under the command of Tom Hanks one day before the war ends.
Based on a made-up story that loosely resembles an apocryphal legend, the tragic yet uplifting saga will be narrated by Natalie Portman in a poignant voiceover based on the girl’s own diary entries as soon as they are created by the screenwriting team.
“Diary” was inspired, according to Mr. Pompton, by a poster that was posted on a website by an amateur illustrator and Photoshop hobbyist living in Reading, Pa.
A spokesman for Mr. Spielberg said he had alerted casting directors on five continents to begin hunting for the perfect 28-year-old actress to portray the teenager, ignoring the demands of executive uber-producer Harvey Weinstein to cast a favorite niece in the role.
Mr. Pompton revealed that the academy’s members voted in favor of the unprecedented pre-Oscar by a margin of 17,458 to 2. “We don’t know who voted against it,” he said. “But we suspect it was Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen.”