LOS ANGELES – In November, the Hollywood Reporter quoted an anonymous industry insider predicting that the “lefty crowd isn’t going to gather around a Navy SEAL best known for killing people” when it comes Oscar time.
The insider was talking about "American Sniper," which walked away with six Academy Award nominations on Thursday, including Best Picture.
Which means the insider was wrong.
“Big surprise of #Oscarnoms was Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper,’” wrote the Wall Street Journal.
“I was very surprised and pleasantly so,” said James Williamson, retired U.S. Special Forces colonel and co-founder of OPSEC, a non-profit organization that seeks to stop politicians from capitalizing on national security operations and secrets. “I hope this may mark a big change in sentiments from Hollywood."
Veteran publicist Glenn Selig of Selig Multimedia says it’s all about timing.
“Any other year it may not have been politically correct to support a movie like this," he said. "But given these crazy times, it may seem un-American not to. Americans want to believe that good will triumph over evil and this movie exemplifies that.”
Director Clint Eastwood did not receive a nomination, however, and few think "American Sniper" can pull off a Best Picture upset win.
“’American Sniper’ is a long shot for a Best Picture win. There are too many other films that have been frontrunners in the Oscar race all season. What is most surprising is not that the Academy nominated a ‘patriotic’ film but that they nominated a movie that almost nobody has seen,” noted Jami Philbrick, managing editor of movie news site iamROGUE.com. “It opened in only a few theaters before the end of the year to qualify, and doesn't open wide till later this month. For whatever reason, Warner Bros. chose not to screen the film for press before the end of the year, so most critics putting together their top ten lists could not include it. It didn't even get nominated for the Golden Globes.”
Based off the best-selling 2012 memoir of the same name, “American Sniper” tells the inside story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle – deemed the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history – detailing his courageous exploits in Iraq to protect his brothers-in-arms, the challenges associated with keeping a growing family united amid deployments, and the psychological ramifications of combat. Kyle and his shooting companion Chad Littlefield were murdered at a Texas range a year after the book’s publication by a Marine veteran he was trying to help, who may have been suffering with PTSD.