Not in recent memory has an Oscar race been defined by so many fact-based biopics on people with such outsized heroic accomplishments. That includes Selma’s Dr. Martin Luther King, American Sniper’s Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, Unbroken’s Olympian-turned WWII POW Louis Zamperini, The Theory Of Everything’s Stephen Hawking, and even Foxcatcher’s Olympic Gold Medal wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz. Most of those figures had some acclaim coming before their movies were released. That wasn’t the case for The Imitation Game’s Alan Turing, the genius who led the effort that crack the Nazi Enigma code that changed the tide for the British in WWII, shortening the war by at least two years and saving millions of lives. Because his accomplishment was classified for so many years, Turing toiled in relative anonymity. His life ended in tragedy: found guilty of being homosexual, Turing was chemically castrated and committed suicide in a horrible injustice during a repressive era.
In a clever stroke, The Weinstein Company is building its award campaign around remaking Turing as a hero. The print campaign from here on in will be driven by leaders in the field of hi-tech, military, academic and gay and lesbian group leaders, all segments influenced by Turing’s accomplishments and misfortune. The first batch of endorsements focus on hi-tech, based on Turing’s work developing an early version of the computer. Among those lending tribute quotes so far: Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Google Exec chairman Eric C. Schmidt, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales. Upcoming will be testimonials by LGBT leaders like Human Right’s Campaign president Chad Griffin and GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, followed by military leaders like former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said “Alan Turing’s unique contribution to winning World War II and his subsequent fate should be a constant reminder of how foolish and self-defeating it is for national leaders to deny themselves the benefit of the mind of a genius, most especially for ignoble reasons. Turing is a hero for all time.”