By Anjelica Oswald
The Imitation Game features Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a mathematician and computer science pioneer who, along with his fellow code-breakers, broke the Nazi Enigma code to help end World War II. Though Turing was hailed as a hero, he was eventually arrested and prosecuted for homosexuality, along with 49,000 other British men and women. Turing chose to be chemically castrated rather than face imprisonment, so he could continue his work, and it is believed that he committed suicide a few years later. Queen Elizabeth II posthumously pardoned Turing in 2013.
On Jan. 21, Stephen Fry led a discussion about the The Imitation Game following a screening of the film for BAFTA voters, discussed Queen Elizabeth’s pardon and suggested that the 49,000 persecuted men and women should be as well. Chad Griffin, the president of Human Rights Campaign, which is honoring The Imitation Game at its Human Rights Gala on Jan. 31, also endorsed the campaign with an ad which ran in The New York Times on Jan. 22.
The Imitation Game is one of eight best picture nominees for the 87th Academy Awards and is one of four films to depict real people and events. American Sniper depicts the life of Chris Kyle, America’s deadliest sniper; Selma is based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery; and The Theory of Everything portrays the love story between Stephen Hawking and his ex-wife Jane Hawking.
The remaining films — Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash — are entirely fictional, though director Damien Chazelle did say he was inspired by real-life experiences to write Whiplash.
Four of the past 14 best picture winners are based on actual people and events, two of which won last year and the year before, and three others were inspired by real events.