Last time he headed into the Oscars with a leading contender, director Clint Eastwood had a Million Dollar Baby. Now, he has a $283 million baby.
And no one’s happier about American Sniper‘s massive box-office haul than the producers of the Academy Awards ceremony, where the military drama is up for six Oscars including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper.
Sniper‘s monstrous box-office showing also may save the Feb. 22 awards telecast to a degree. This year’s Oscars features a best picture category filled with acclaimed but little-seen films and has been criticized for its lack of both A-listers and diversity in the four major acting categories, where all of the contenders are white. And, the show has to air against a new episode of the zombie-filled cable TV hit The Walking Dead.
Sniper “is the best thing to happen to the Oscar race this year as far as shaking things up. Whether or not it ends up winning any major awards, it’s increased the general population’s interest,” says Fandango.com awards expert Dave Karger. “If nothing else, the people at ABC should be happy.”