Today in Los Angeles at the AFI Fest, the two remaining films of the Oscar season will be screened. “Selma,” by Ava Duvernay, and Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” will be unveiled. No one knows anything about them. Are they good? Are they good enough? They are definitely needed in what I really think is a soft year for serious Best Picture contenders. “Selma,” especially, because of its social history, is needed to be an Important Film. Plus, without it, there may be no black nominees. The sad part of this is that black nominees can only come from “black” movies. But that’s another story.
“American Sniper” is very timely given new revelations and books by NAVY Seals. Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, a much awarded Seal whose tragic end came in in the US, not on tour. Sienna Miller plays his wife. Given Eastwood’s track record with this kind of film (go watch “Letters from Iwo Jima”–it’s stunning), “Sniper” could be his crowning achievement. I sure hope it is.
If these two come into play today as Best Picture contenders, then I think they list would also include: Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Imitation Game, Theory of Everything, Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, St. Vincent, and Birdman. Spoilers could be The Humbling (if released), and Into the Woods.
So we shall see. Stay tuned…