Ellen DeGeneres' "Walter Mitty" Screener Leaks Online

It’s Oscar piracy season, that time of the year where screeners of newly-released critical darlings are leaked online as DVD and Blu-Ray screeners are sent out around the world to Academy voters and secretly loaned to their friends and relatives.

Yesterday was a busy day with screener copies of Frozen, Her, and The Wolf of Wall Street all appearing online.

Today, I got a tip that there was a very unusual watermark in the screener of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that leaked online today. I dug it up, and sure enough, a very familiar name pops up in the first scene of the screener. I made a GIF of it:

Oh, Ellen! If the watermark’s accurate, this screener belonged to Ellen DeGeneres. But was it actually an Oscar screener? Probably not.

The watermark shows that the screener was created on November 26, 2013. According to Ken Rudolph’s Academy screener list, he received the Walter Mitty DVD screener via UPS on December 19.

That’s a pretty huge gap, indicating that Ellen’s screener wasn’t for Oscar consideration, but instead given to her for review in advance of Ben Stiller’s December 4 appearance on her show.

Of course, there’s a chance, albeit small, that this watermark was added by someone besides 20th Century Fox — by someone trying to hide the identity of the actual source, maybe.

More likely, the watermark is accurate and Ellen’s screener simply ended up in the wrong hands. A postal worker, one of her employees, friend, family member, or countless others in the production and distribution chain could be responsible for ripping the DVD and putting it online.

It’s very common for screeners to leak, but rare for a celebrity’s name to be identified as the source. In 2011, a screener copy of Super 8 leaked online with Howard Stern’s name clearly watermarked on it. Stern vehemently denied leaking the film on air.

Curious to see if Ellen responds the same way.

As usual, I’ll update my spreadsheet of Oscar screener piracy statistics as soon as the nominees are announced on the morning of January 16.


    I found some errors in your statistics from last year. My archives don’t go further back I’m afraid, but I can point out several screener leaks last year that you appear to have missed.

    Silver Linings Playbook leaked on 2013-01-11

    Les Miserables also leaked on 2013-01-11

    Life of Pi leaked on 2013-01-18

    In addition Amour was available to download in retail version prior to the ceremony, but I can’t provide you with the date. (It was already on sale in Europe long before.)

    I’m keeping my own list of leaks this year. 17 screener leaks so far. Looking forward to seeing whether our data lines up come the 16th.

    I update the spreadsheet on the day the nominations were announced, which was January 10 of last year. I’ll update the older screeners that leaked after that when the new nominations are announced on January 16.

    Some corrections to your list update:

    The correct leak date for 12 years a slave is 2013-12-31.

    The correct leak date for August: Osage County is 2014-01-07.

    You have missed the screener leak of Blue Jasmine on 2014-01-05.

    Dallas Buyers Club is listed a day late, and is definitely a screener and not a retail rip, as it has a screener watermark.

    Frozen is listed a day late.

    Mandela has screener watermark, too, so that also is not a retail leak. Same goes for Saving Mr. Banks.

    The Book Thief is listed two days late, and as retail while being screener.

    The Wolf of Wall Street is listed as retail while being a screener.

    Interested that you not get busted for indirectly saying to get pirated movies copies and even publish parts of the movid as a .gif.file…

    Nebraska went out to as many people as Gravity yet only leaked yesterday, Philomena is yet to surface. Last year The Master never leaked so I now find what isn’t leaked a more interesting story than what is

    When you say released or leaked out, you are going by the nfo file? I’m just wondering at what level we’re talking about. i.e. top sites, torrents, public, private… just curious.

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