Clint Eastwood’s latest film, American Sniper, about the life of famed former Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle, is set for release on Christmas Day, 2014.
The film, which comes on the heels of another modern war epic, Lone Survivor, might have a chance to steal best picture at the Academy Awards in April, but first the biopic must overcome two hurdles: its director, and the content of the film itself.
It’s no secret that Hollywood’s elite doesn’t have a fondness for violent film – that is, unless it features senseless death at the hands of one of their own.
While most Americans will probably view Kyle’s tale as heroic, Academy voters are likely to stack their chips against Eastwood’s newest picture if, for nothing else, because of his appearance at the 2012 Republican National Committee.
During the 2012 RNC, Eastwood insulted President Barack Obama by placing an empty chair next to his podium, and engaging in a one-sided conversation with the President to highlight his perceived notion that President Obama is an absent leader.
Many of the loudest voices on the left insulted the successful actor and director, citing his bit as the behavior of a senile old man.
Eastwood beat the odds in 2004 when he swept the awards with Million Dollar Baby, a film that had a lot to do with female empowerment, and a subject that united voters. But things might be different this time around.
With a war epic about a lethal American soldier, it’s difficult to see the hard left praising Kyle’s story, especially with it being directed by an open and staunch Republican.
Chris Kyle, who is portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the film, was fatally shot at a Texas gun range in February of last year.
Kyle had more confirmed kills than any other sniper in the history of the U.S. mlitary, a story unlikely to help voters forgive Eastwood for going against the grain, but there still might be hope.
American Sniper premiered at the AFI Film Festival recently, where critics took aim at Eastwood for depicting the realities of war.
“They’d have to change the logic of the entire votership because these red-state, red-bait movies have got to appeal to L.A. and New York — and that’s going to be tough,” said one rival awards campaigner, via the Hollywood Reporter. “This lefty crowd isn’t going to gather around a Navy SEAL best known for killing people.”
Many on the left continue to kick the Kyle family after his death, but none of those have been more unfair to the legacy of the legendary SEAL than former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.
In July of this year, Ventura won a $1.8 million defamation lawsuit against Kyle’s estate in court against his widow.
Ventura alleged that the late SEAL defamed him in a passage from his best-selling book, American Sniper: The Autobiography Of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. The ruling is currently being appealed by Kyle’s widow.
Maybe a posthumous victory at the Oscars will add more to the legacy of Chris Kyle, one that can help his family, while telling the story of a great American hero.