Director Zack Snyder honored with special ‘Valiant Award’ from Hollywood Critics Association

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At the Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) Film Awards, Zack Snyder was honored with the Valiant Award. The 4th annual HCA awards ceremony was held virtually on YouTube on March 5, 2021. 

Scott Menzel, the founder of the HCA, told The Hollywood Reporter: “As a fan of Synder’s ever since Dawn of the Dead, I couldn’t be happier that we will be acknowledging his visionary filmmaking and resilience to overcome any obstacles.” HCA chair Ashley Menzel also praised the director and his wife Deborah for the way they responded to their daughter, Autumn Snyder’s demise by suicide. Further adding how the two have shown courage in a difficult time, she said, “I was extremely moved by how Zack and his wife and business partner Deborah turned their incommensurable pain into altruistic action, spearheading an effort that has helped countless individuals and families.” 

Fans of Zack Snyder have raised over $500,000 for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention in honor of Autumn Snyder, the daughter of Zack Snyder who tragically passed away at a young age during the post-production of Justice League leading the director to step away from the herculean project and return four years later. The director’s cut of Justice League premieres on HBO Max on Thursday March 18, 2021, followed by Zack Snyder’s zombie-homecoming on Netflix with Army of the Dead, which is set to release on Friday May 21, 2021. 

In a statement of her own, HCA co-chair Ashley Menzel added: “As someone whose own life was impacted due to suicide, I was extremely moved by how Zack and his wife and business partner Deborah turned their incommensurable pain into altruistic action, spearheading an effort that has helped countless individuals and families.”

Menzel added during the broadcast: “Release The Snyder Cut” has been a resounding message on the internet, that is in a way inescapable. Fans and critics around the world have been asking, sometimes strongly demanding, release the film that Zack Snyder had to leave due to an unimaginable personal tragedy… It can not be ignored the good that the Snyder movement has done, such as contributing half-a-million dollars to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. You will see on your screen tonight that you can donate to that same organization, an organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.” 

In the award broadcast, Menzel presented the award by saying, “Zack Snyder has given us the inspiration and demonstrates it everyday. He is in one word: valiant. I am honored to be able to present Zack Snyder with the Hollywood Critics Association’s Valiant Award” followed by an instrumental compilation video showing a retrospective of Snyder’s films. 

In his acceptance speech, Zack Snyder noted his appreciation for the movement: “Thank you, Ashley, Scott, and thank you to the Hollywood Critics Association for honoring me with this, the Valiant Award. Making a movie is hard enough. The story of the Snyder Cut of Justice League is a saga that is almost eight years in the making. It’s a movie that was never going to see the light of day, but due to the perseverance of thousands of fans around the world, millions of tweets, incredible social media activations — whether it be billboards in Times Square, bus stops in San Diego, or airplanes literally flying around the studio — those amazing and dedicated fans got a giant corporation like WarnerMedia to take notice of them, hear what they had to say, and got them, finally, to agree to finish the film as I originally intended.”

“So, on March 18th, that movie will come out, and it will be a victory for all of them.”

“But the real victory is not that the movie is getting finished, more than that is what happened during the course of making Justice League. It’s that these fans were also able to join together and create a community that got behind a cause, a cause that is not only to me and my family but also needed in the world. That cause is mental health awareness and suicide prevention. With the same billboards and tweets that they used to get the movie made, the fans were able to raise over half a million dollars for AFSP and to generate so much awareness for a topic that is oftentimes in the dark.

The work that they have done is literally saving lives. So you see, the real victory is that effort. The real victory is those lives being saved, and when everyone watches the movie on March 18th and the credits roll, at the end, the real achievement will be the incredible work that’s been done for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and I’m proud to be a small part of it. So thank you for honoring me with the Valiant Award, and thank you everyone who lent their voices to this noble cause, and also, it’s not too late to give to AFSP, and for those who are struggling, please know that there are people who can help support you and that you are not alone.”

Fans of Snyder raised over $500,000 for AFSP through SnyderCut-related merchandise and artwork such InkToThePeople t-shirts and apparel, and also directly on the Autumn Snyder Tribute Fund donation page, which shows over $70,000 raised. 

The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention’s mission

As an organization, we truly believe it is important to give back and support causes that help others. The fourth Annual Hollywood Critics Association Film Awards presented filmmaker Zack Snyder with the Valiant Award at the HCA Film Awards on Friday March 5, 2021 in recognition for mental health awareness activism. We want to use our platform to help raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We hope you can join us in supporting this important organization that helps save thousands of lives on a daily basis by contributing to the Autumn Snyder Tribute Fund.

To donate, click here.


This article was originally published in the Daily Planet Magazine Spring 2021 issue.

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