Awards screener copies of Oscar front-runners, the Christian Bale-starrer Vice and the period dark comedy, The Favourite, have been leaked online. TorrentFreak reports that the leaks come from the usual source, a group named Hive-CM8, who came under fire for having leaked major titles over the years, such as La La Land and Call Me By Your Name.
The first leak of the 2018 awards season was Green Book, which recently won the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy, and has been nominated in the Best Picture category at the BAFTAs. The decision to wait before releasing the title, according to TorrentFreak, was because the group wanted the film to make back its budget at the box office. “Well, one year has passed and it’s that time of the year that everyone is waiting for. SCREENER Time. As usual we love to share with friends all over the world,” the group stated.
The Favourite on Wednesday received 12 nominations at the BAFTAs – the most of any film. Lead star Olivia Colman has already won Golden Globe for her performance as Queen Anne in the film. Bale, meanwhile, has won the Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his performance as former US vice president Dick Cheney in the film.
Hive-CM8 had previously apologised for leaking the screener of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. “We held back this title till 1 week after [theatrical release] to give the movie a fighting chance to play in the budget, we learned from our mistake. We feel sorry for the trouble we caused by releasing that great movie before [its release date] had even begun. We never intended to hurt anyone by doing that, we didn’t know it would get that popular that quickly,” the group said in a statement.
Among the group of screeners leaked that year was Christian Bale’s previous collaboration with director Adam McKay, The Big Short.
Screeners of important Oscar contenders are leaked around December and January every year, and this practice has in the past attracted the attention of film studios and even the FBI. This happened when a studio employee was revealed to be the source of the leak of the 2015 Oscar-winner, The Revenant.
Another piracy group, according to TorrentFreak, justified the leaks by saying, The “DVDSCR season is not about leaking and hurting the studios itself, it’s about giving a chance for everyone to watch and enjoy some of the movies that arent even showing on their local theaters.”
The Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 23 and the ceremony will take place on February 25.