Is ‘Sniper’ readying to ambush the Oscars?

February 05 01:22 2015

American Sniper has its sights set on your Oscars. Racking up close to $250 million, director Clint Eastwood’s drama about real-life military marksman Chris Kyle has become a wild card in this year’s awards race and a possible spoiler for the front-runners Though it garnered nary a nomination at the Screen Actors Guild or Golden Globe Awards, the movie’s big box-office earnings make it dangerous competition for everyone in its six Academy Award categories, including best picture and best actor for star Bradley Cooper.635573588140534876-AP-BOX-OFFICE-70069726

Because it broke into the race late, no one knows Sniper’s strengths yet. But Saturday’s Directors Guild Awards will be a great test for whether it can emerge victorious Oscar night, O’Neil says. If Eastwood wins best film, “then Sniper could emerge as the front-runner. It’s been 10 years since Clint’s (last) major award contender (Million Dollar Baby) so the voters haven’t forgotten that. … And he’s a god in the industry.”

The movie’s financial haul so far is fortuitous, with final Oscar voting beginning Friday and ending Feb. 17. That success will change some votes, says Dave Karger. “Most voters don’t want to be seen as recognizing a flop,” Karger says. He notes, though, that American Sniper has the lowest approval score (73%) among critics on survey site RottenTomatoes.com of any of the eight best picture nominees. “It still has some ground to make up if it’s going to win.”

Karger figures Sniper’s best shots at Oscar gold are in sound mixing and sound editing. He says it’s conceivable that Cooper could “pull off an Adrien Brody” — The Piano star surprised everyone by beating four past Oscar winners in 2003. However, Golden Globe winners Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), who also won a SAG award, are possibly a little too far ahead.

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