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2-min read

'American Sniper' at the Oscars: Despite being in the news for all the wrong reasons, the film deserves to be in the race

We're just days away from the 2015 Oscars where Neil Patrick Harris will try to outdo the Ellen DeGeneres selfie that broke the internet.

Prajakta Hebbar | IBNLive.comimsopraj

Updated:February 20, 2015, 12:57 PM IST
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'American Sniper' at the Oscars: Despite being in the news for all the wrong reasons, the film deserves to be in the race
We're just days away from the 2015 Oscars where Neil Patrick Harris will try to outdo the Ellen DeGeneres selfie that broke the internet.
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New Delhi: Not to start off with a spoiler or anything, but have you seen the trailers for 'American Sniper'? One of the first trailers for the Clint Eastwood film features a rugged-looking Bradley Cooper pointing an evil-looking sniper at a small Muslim kid, in a tense situation.

"Don't pick it up, don't pick it up," he chants.

Will he shoot the tiny little kid?

Since we're just days away from the 2015 Academy Awards where Neil Patrick Harris will try to outdo the Ellen DeGeneres selfie that "broke the internet" from last year, we thought we'd address the giant elephant in the Oscars nomination list: 'American Sniper'.

The film, starring Cooper and Sienna Miller, has received six nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Cooper, at the Oscars this year. But that hasn't stopped critics from all sections predicting that it won't win any awards.

But why is that?

First of all, it is one of the worst-reviewed Oscar contenders this year, with a 72 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

But 'American Sniper' has been courting controversies ever since its release. From accusations of depicting the situation in Iraq in a "fairy tale" or "too black and white" manner, to the portrayal of the locals as "dehumanised savages", critics have been severe in calling the film "brutal".

Apart from that, there's the thing about the ridiculous fake baby. Apparently, the babies auditioned for this scene were either sick or unavailable, so Eastwood decided to go ahead with a fake one instead. And the baby is so fake. So distractingly fake. Like, can't-stop-looking-at-it fake.

But despite these tiny (!) hiccups, the film has done phenomenally well at the box office. 'American Sniper', which is based on the book 'American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History' by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, made a record-smashing USD 90.2 million in ticket sales in the opening weekend, according to studio estimates. In fact, it has earned a whopping USD 306.5 million in the US so far, more than the other seven best picture Oscar nominees combined.

There's a debate going on in the media that 'American Sniper' has caught the fancy of the audiences because it has not been marketed as a niche, "film festival" film. It has been doing well when other Oscar contenders are struggling because it advertised itself as a war movie, not a prestige film.

So despite the controversies, why not give 'American Sniper' a chance to entertain, rather than educate? Most Americans want to do that, in fact. According to the annual Reuters/Ipsos Oscars poll, 28 per cent of respondents said Cooper, a four-time Academy Award nominee, should win best actor for his depiction of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

Eastwood and Cooper certainly have something to look forward to this weekend.

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