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Confirmation (film)

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Television release poster
Written bySusannah Grant
Directed byRick Famuyiwa
Theme music composerHarry Gregson-Williams
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerDarren M. Demetre
CinematographyRachel Morrison
EditorDirk Westervelt
Running time110 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseApril 16, 2016 (2016-04-16)

Confirmation is a 2016 American television political thriller film, directed by Rick Famuyiwa and written by Susannah Grant. It is about Clarence Thomas's 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.[1]


Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, is contacted and questioned about Clarence Thomas. Hill, a former employee of Thomas, is prompted to speak about his workplace treatment. Anita Hill tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that, inter alia, Clarence Thomas had spoken to her about pornographic movies and actors such as Long Dong Silver. A psychologist tells a U.S. senator that Anita Hill has erotomania.

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. The subpoena to Angela Wright, another accuser of Thomas, is withdrawn.




On March 12, 2015, it was announced that Kerry Washington would star as Anita Hill in an HBO television film.[3] 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.[4] On May 12, Eric Stonestreet joined as Kenneth Duberstein.[5] 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.[6] On June 5, Bill Irwin and Treat Williams were added, to respectively portray John Danforth and Ted Kennedy.[7] 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.[8] On June 16, Kimberly Elise, Kristen Ariza, and Malcolm Gets joined the cast, as Sonia Jarvis, Judy Smith, and Arlen Specter, respectively.[9] On July 2, Daniel Sauli was cast as Mark Paoletta.[10] 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).[11][12]


Principal photography began in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14, 2015, and was completed on July 24.[13]

Actual news footage taped by CNN of United States Senate staff during the lead-up to the hearings was used, to give the film a more realistic tone.


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."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 72 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Movie Made for Television or Limited Series Nominated [15]
Best Actress in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series Kerry Washington Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Motion Picture Nominated [16]
Best Actress in a Motion Picture or Limited Series Kerry Washington Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie Michael London, Janice Williams, Kerry Washington,
Susannah Grant, and Darren M. Demetre
Nominated [17]
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Kerry Washington Nominated
Black Reel Awards Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series Darren M. Demetre Nominated [18]
Outstanding Actor, TV Movie or Mini-Series Wendell Pierce Nominated
Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series Kerry Washington Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [19]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special Nominated [20]
Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special Jeffrey Wright Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special Kerry Washington Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television) Rick Famuyiwa Won
Satellite Awards Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated [21]
Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Wendell Pierce Nominated
Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Kerry Washington Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries Nominated [22]
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Original Susannah Grant Won [23]
Paul Selvin Award Won


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).[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Petski, Denise (February 2, 2016). "'Confirmation' Premiere Date Set By HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 1, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "Leadership".
  3. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 12, 2015). "Kerry Washington to Star as Anita Hill in HBO Movie 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  4. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 28, 2015). "Wendell Pierce Set as Clarence Thomas in HBO's 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 12, 2015). "Eric Stonestreet to Co-Star in HBO's Anita Hill Pic, 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 29, 2015). "Jennifer Hudson, Greg Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright Join HBO's 'Confirmation'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Lesley; Stanhope, Kate (June 5, 2015). "Treat Williams, Bill Irwin Join HBO's 'Confirmation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 5, 2015). "Erika Christensen, Cobie Smulders, Dylan Baker & Grace Gummer Join HBO Movie 'Confirmation'". Deadline Hollywood.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (June 16, 2015). "Kimberly Elise, Kristen Ariza & Malcolm Gets Join HBO Movie 'Confirmation'". Deadline Hollywood.
  10. ^ Petski, Denise (July 2, 2015). "Daniel Sauli Joins HBO Movie 'Confirmation'; Jonathan Whitesell In ABC Family Pilot 'Beyond'". Deadline Hollywood.
  11. ^ Herzog, Kenny (April 16, 2016). "Fact-Checking HBO's Confirmation". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (July 9, 2015). "Zoe Lister-Jones Joins HBO Movie 'Confirmation' In Recasting". Deadline Hollywood.
  13. ^ "Confirmation - Production Listing". Backstage. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  14. ^ "Confirmation". Rotten Tomatoes.
  15. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (November 14, 2016). "Critics' Choice TV Nominations Unveiled". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  16. ^ "20th Annual TV Awards (2015-16)". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved May 15, 2021.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Confirmation". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  18. ^ "Black Reel Awards – Past Winners". Black Reel Awards. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  19. ^ "Confirmation – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  20. ^ Washington, Arlene; Lewis, Hilary (10 February 2017). "Hidden Figures, Loving, and Queen of Katwe nominated". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  21. ^ "2016 Winners & Nominees". Satellite Awards. International Press Academy. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  22. ^ "The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  23. ^ Petski, Denise (5 December 2016). "WGA TV Nominations: 'The Americans', 'Stranger Things', 'Westworld', 'This Is Us' Among Nominees". Deadline. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  24. ^ "The Paul Selvin Award". Writers Guild Awards. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  25. ^ HBO’s series about the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings proves that scandal plus time equals riveting TV Slate April 15, 2016.

External links[edit]