Confirmation is a 2016 American television political thriller film, directed by Rick Famuyiwa and written by Susannah Grant. It is about Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court nomination hearings, and the controversy that unfolded when Anita Hill alleged she was sexually harassed by Thomas. It stars Kerry Washington as Hill and Wendell Pierce as Clarence Thomas, with Erika Christensen, Jennifer Hudson, Greg Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Irwin, and Eric Stonestreet in supporting roles. The film aired on HBO on April 16, 2016.
Television release poster
|Written by||Susannah Grant|
|Directed by||Rick Famuyiwa|
|Theme music composer||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Producer(s)||Darren M. Demetre|
|Running time||110 minutes|
Anita Hill, a law professor at Oklahoma University, is contacted and questioned about Clarence Thomas. Hill, a former employee of Thomas, is prompted to speak about his workplace treatment. Her allegations of sexual harassment are leaked, and a media frenzy ensues. A hearing takes place at which Anita tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that, inter alia, Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her 10 years prior. From there, a slew of events unfolds as the Committee tries to determine who is telling the truth, with the world watching.
- Kerry Washington as Anita Hill
- Wendell Pierce as Clarence Thomas
- Greg Kinnear as Joe Biden, U.S. Senator (D-DE)
- Jeffrey Wright as Charles Ogletree
- Eric Stonestreet as Kenneth Duberstein, former White House Chief of Staff
- Kristen Ariza as Judy Smith, White House Deputy Press Secretary.
- Bill Irwin as John Danforth, U.S. Senator (R-MO)
- Zoe Lister-Jones as Carolyn Hart, aide to Senator Biden
- Grace Gummer as Ricki Seidman, aide to Senator Kennedy
- Dylan Baker as Orrin Hatch, U.S. Senator (R-UT)
- Treat Williams as Ted Kennedy, U.S. Senator (D-MA)
- Erika Christensen as Shirley Wiegand, friend of Anita Hill
- Alison Wright as Virginia Thomas
- Malcolm Gets as Arlen Specter, U.S. Senator (R-PA)
- Peter McRobbie as Alan K. Simpson, U.S. Senator (R-WY)
- Kimberly Elise as Sonia Jarvis
- Jennifer Hudson as Angela Wright
- Tom Virtue as Patrick Leahy, U.S. Senator (D-VT)
- Frank Hoyt Taylor as Strom Thurmond, U.S. Senator (R-SC)
- Matthew Hennessy as an aide to U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.
On March 12, 2015, it was announced that Kerry Washington would star as Anita Hill in an HBO television film. Washington's role on ABC Network's hit television show Scandal was loosely based on Judy Smith, who appears as a character in the film. On April 28, Wendell Pierce was cast as Clarence Thomas. On May 12, Eric Stonestreet joined as Kenneth Duberstein. Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Hudson, and Jeffrey Wright were reported to have joined the cast as Joe Biden, Angela Wright, and Charles Ogletree, respectively, on May 29. On June 5, Bill Irwin and Treat Williams were added, to respectively portray John Danforth and Ted Kennedy. Later that same day, Erika Christensen, Cobie Smulders, Dylan Baker, and Grace Gummer were announced as cast as Shirley Wiegand, Biden aide Harriet Grant, Orrin Hatch, and Ricki Seidman, respectively. On June 16, Kimberly Elise, Kristen Ariza, and Malcolm Gets joined the cast, as Sonia Jarvis, Judy Smith, and Arlen Specter, respectively. On July 2, Daniel Sauli was cast as Mark Paoletta. On July 9, it was reported that Smulders had exited the film due to breaking her leg; Zoe Lister-Jones replaced her in the Harriet Grant role (a composite of aides to Biden).
Confirmation received mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised Washington's performance as Hill and the film's depiction of its subject matter. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 79%, based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Stellar performances and gripping subject matter help Confirmation overcome production values that occasionally feel as dated as the infamous real-life case it covers." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 72 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Awards and nominations
|2016||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Television Movie||Confirmation||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie||Kerry Washington||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Movie/Limited Series||Confirmation||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Movie/Limited Series||Kerry Washington||Nominated|
|2017||Satellite Award||Best Miniseries or Television Film||Confirmation||Nominated|
|Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Wendell Pierce||Nominated|
|Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film||Kerry Washington||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Long Form – Original||Susannah Grant||Won|
|Paul Selvin Award||Won|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film||Kerry Washington||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series||Kerry Washington||Nominated|
During the film credits, the onscreen text states that as a result of Hill's accusation of sexual harassment, more women were elected to public office in 1992 than previous periods, official sexual harassment complaints doubled, and an important workplace discrimination law was passed (referring to the Civil Rights Act of 1991).
- Petski, Denise (February 2, 2016). "'Confirmation' Premiere Date Set By HBO". Deadline Hollywood.
- Goldberg, Lesley (March 12, 2015). "Kerry Washington to Star as Anita Hill in HBO Movie 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Goldberg, Lesley (April 28, 2015). "Wendell Pierce Set as Clarence Thomas in HBO's 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Goldberg, Lesley (May 12, 2015). "Eric Stonestreet to Co-Star in HBO's Anita Hill Pic, 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Goldberg, Lesley (May 29, 2015). "Jennifer Hudson, Greg Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright Join HBO's 'Confirmation'". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Goldberg, Lesley; Stanhope, Kate (June 5, 2015). "Treat Williams, Bill Irwin Join HBO's 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 5, 2015). "Erika Christensen, Cobie Smulders, Dylan Baker & Grace Gummer Join HBO Movie 'Confirmation'". Deadline Hollywood.
- Petski, Denise (June 16, 2015). "Kimberly Elise, Kristen Ariza & Malcolm Gets Join HBO Movie 'Confirmation'". Deadline Hollywood.
- Petski, Denise (July 2, 2015). "Daniel Sauli Joins HBO Movie 'Confirmation'; Jonathan Whitesell In ABC Family Pilot 'Beyond'". Deadline Hollywood.
- Fact checking HBO's Confirmation http://www.vulture.com/2016/04/hbo-confirmation-fact-checked.html?mid=twitter_vulture
- Petski, Denise (July 9, 2015). "Zoe Lister-Jones Joins HBO Movie 'Confirmation' In Recasting". Deadline Hollywood.
- "Confirmation - Production Listing". Backstage. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- HBO’s series about the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings proves that scandal plus time equals riveting TV Slate April 15, 2016.