Zack Snyder accepted the first-ever Valiant Award during the 4th Annual Hollywood Critics Association Film Awards on Friday, where the Zack Snyder's Justice League filmmaker said the efforts of Snyder Cut supporters who rallied around mental health awareness and suicide prevention is "the real victory." Presented by HCA co-founders Scott and Ashley Menzel, the Valiant Award acknowledges the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director's "visionary filmmaking and resilience to overcome any obstacles." Snyder and his wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder, stepped away from Justice League when their daughter, Autumn Snyder, died by suicide at age 20 in March 2017.
"Thank you to the Hollywood Critics Association for honoring me with this 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," Snyder said during the live-streamed presentation that raised funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "It's a movie that was never going to see the light of day, but thanks 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," Snyder added of his four-hour and R-rated director's cut that will release on HBO Max, "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 that is not only to me and my family but also needed in the world."
Thanking Snyder Cut supporters for their dedication to mental health awareness and suicide prevention over the past four years, Snyder continued, "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."
Ending Zack Snyder's Justice League is a dedication — "For Autumn" — and a song that played at Autumn's funeral: a version of "Hallelujah" performed by friend Allison Crowe.
"When everyone watches the movie on March 18th and the credits roll, at the end the real achievement will be all 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," Snyder said. "And also, it's not too late to give to ASFP. And for those who are struggling, please know there are people who can help support you and that you're not alone."
Zack Snyder's Justice League premieres March 18 on HBO Max.