Sunday evening brought about the 87th Academy Awards ceremony, presented from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, CA. Glamour and glitz are an understatement for the event from the technical stage presentations to the remarkable performances from various artists. Once finishing a rather comical opening number, the host, Neil Patrick Harris launched the proceedings indicating the 8 films nominated for Best Picture; American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash. Continuing the narrative, Harris provided a staggering statistic – these 8 films grossed around $600 million in revenue with American Sniper being responsible for $300 million! In fact, American Sniper accumulated more revenue than the 7 other nominations, combined! In case you missed it, here is a link for you to view – 300 Million dollar question. And by the way, a bit of research indicates that since it’s premier in late December, American Sniper has actually grossed a total of $428 million! (Daily Caller – American Sniper) This must be one heck of a movie!
Nominated for Six Academy Awards
Now – to answer the question, “Does money still Talk?” One would have to presume with that kind of financial performance in less than 3 months out of the box office – it was sure to win a lion’s share of the six categories it had been nominated for, right? The six categories included; Best Actor in a Leading Role (Bradley Cooper), Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. But wait… where is the nomination for Best Director? Surely with the success of the movie, “now considered the most successful war film ever made,” Best Director must have been one of the six nominations, yes? Sadly, no – Clint Eastwood, the Director of American Sniper, was not nominated and in the words of many mainstream media outlets, “snubbed”. Which bodes the question, had James Cameron or Steven Spielberg been the director, would they have been nominated, and in most cases awarded this coveted prize? All is not lost, American Sniper, the far and away hands down crowd favorite – did in fact win an Oscar – best Sound Editing. This should not come as a surprise, as it appears over the past few decades, war movies have often been selected the victor of this award; Saving Private Ryan – 1998, Pearl Harbor – 2001, Letters from Iwo Jima – 2006, The Hurt Locker (conquering Avatar) – 2009 and most recently Zero Dark Thirty.
How one obtains an Oscar
The “Academy” is made up of approximately 6.000 undisclosed folks in the film industry. Once a year these folks have a list submitted to them and they vote for the category they are assigned, directors vote for directors, actors for actors, etc. to determine the nominees. Best picture is voted on by all members. The winners are then determined in a second round of voting where all members are allowed to vote in most categories. So, even though these 6,000 people appear to have had a different opinion than the viewers who have spent $428 million dollars on American Sniper, the end game is…wait for it … Revenue! Oscar could be considered dessert.
The Moment of Truth
Regardless the outcome for Mr. Eastwood and the crew of American Sniper, the moment of truth was not a gold statuette. It was not, the customary “thank you” to 34.6 million people watching in America (which reports have indicated was the poorest viewership since 2008 and third worse overall in history). Last night’s award was seeing Taya Kyle, widow of this American hero, Chris Kyle, being present for the ceremony, amidst the trial for her husband’s killer, with his dog tags in hand. When asked about her attendance, Mrs. Kyle said, “I am here to represent my husband, military families and the beautiful people who put more than they had to make this movie happen.”