Monday, January 19, 2015

American Sniper’ complaints grow in Hollywood: Should Clint Eastwood be celebrating a ‘killer’?

Article by: THE WRAP
Updated: January 19, 2015 - 12:45 PM

Bradley Cooper stars in "American Sniper."

Even as “American Sniper” breaks January box-office records and revels in six Oscar nominations, criticism over the subject of the film, sharpshooter Chris Kyle, is rising and reaching into the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Academy Awards.

Over the weekend, multiple Academy members told TheWrap that they had been passing around a recent article by Dennis Jett in TheNew Republic that attacks the film for making a hero out of Kyle, who said: “The enemy are savages and despicably evil,” and his “only regret is that I didn’t kill more.” Kyle made the statements in his best-selling book, “American Sniper,” on which the film is based.

The film’s straightforward treatment of Kyle, who was killed in February 2013 by a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is one of the reasons it has been celebrated by the military and embraced by audiences that have made it by far the top-grossing Best Picture nominee. The film had a massive opening when it went wide at the box office this weekend and is poised to break an historic $100 million this holiday weekend.

But Academy members seem to be paying attention to the criticism that Eastwood and star/producer Bradley Cooper shouldn’t be celebrating a man who wrote that killing hundreds of Iraqis was “fun.”

“He seems like he may be a sociopath,” one Academy member told TheWrap, adding he had not yet seen the film but had read the article, which is being passed around.

And Michael Moore, an Oscar voter and former Academy governor from the Documentary Branch, tweeted on Sunday, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

Neither distributor Warner Bros. nor the filmmakers have responded to TheWrap’s request for comment, though the studio said they intended to make someone available.

A piece in The Guardian by author Lindy West criticized Kyle this way: “The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?” he wrote.