Under the Radar

Hollywood's in the Sniper Business


Is Nick Irving's new memoir The Reaper helping American Sniper's Oscar chances?


Studio head Harvey Weinstein might be the best Oscar campaigner ever. He's the guy who engineered the notorious upset when Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture 1998. His movies get nominated every year and he's behind a string of other Best Picture winners: The English Patient, The King's Speech, The Artist and Chicago.


Weinstein's got a picture in the race this year with The Imitation Game, the biopic about WWII codebreaker and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, something that makes his comments about American Sniper kind of surprising. In an interview with Indiewire at the Sundance Film Festival, Weinstein came out hard in support of Clint Eastwood's movie about SEAL sniper Chris Kyle:

American Sniper introduces America to PTSD." He continued: "How about all these pieces of junk our kids are seeing? Let’s go after them instead." When the conversation turned to the bombastic trend in contemporary journalism, Weinstein attributed the negative reception of "Sniper" to misaligned American priorities. "No one was ever saying, 'There’s a really good story about a human being who hands out money to children, builds houses, works hard. The Jimmy Carter story. You sit in an editorial meeting and [pitch] the Jimmy Carter story and they go, 'F*#king boring. I don’t give a sh#t.' Our priorities are so screwed. When you say, 'Hey, 'American Sniper’s' got a hole in it,' they salivate over that stuff. It’s sexy." He had one piece of advice for journalists: "If you’re going to write an article, just do one thing that used to happen all the time: do the research."
At first, this seems like a calculated shot to draw support from alleged frontrunner Boyhood, but Oscar handicappers don't think The Imitation Game has a chance to win. Why is Weinstein throwing in his lot with Clint Eastwood?


Mystery now solved: The Weinstein Company has optioned the rights to former Army Ranger Nicholas Irving's new memoir and plans to film his story as a five-night TV series event instead of trimming his story to fit into a two-hour movie. Harvey Weinstein said, “The Reaper is a gripping story about a great American soldier that we are so proud to be a part of. Nick Irving’s true bravery and heroism will make for some of the most riveting television ever seen and inspire patriotism in anyone who experiences it.”

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