We’re talking about what the trade press is dubbing “The Bigelow Snub.” This is the failure of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to nominate director Kathryn Bigelow for an Oscar for her film “Zero Dark Thirty,” which depicts the hunt for Osama bin Laden. …

In December, Senators Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and John McCain wrote a letter to Sony Pictures denouncing “Zero Dark Thirty” for being “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama Bin Laden.” The liberal press has gone further and expanded the denunciations to suggest that the film endorses the utility of “torture,” with some offering their usual subtle analogies to Nazis and slavery.

Whether the film—an action movie, not a documentary—really suggests this about the hunt for bin Laden is a matter of interpretation, and it certainly doesn’t condone torture. But the letter seems to have had an effect.

“Anyone who knows the academy’s traditional aversion to controversy,” writes Mr. Turan, “knew that letter meant Oscar trouble for ‘Zero.’ It’s not even that surprising that it was the directors who caved in to the drumbeat of condemnation. As one of the smaller branches of the academy, it is more susceptible to the vagaries of outside pressure.”