Two big question marks in this year’s Oscar race will be illuminated tomorrow. AFI Fest had been touting a “secret sneak peek” screening on Tuesday, November 11th as part of its festivities, and today they announced that the film will indeed be Clint Eastwood’s military drama American Sniper. While Eastwood’s been hit-and-miss as of late (more miss than hit, to be frank), American Sniper has been a passion project for star/producer Bradley Cooper, who plays Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who served four tours in Iraq and became the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. The excellent first trailer hinted that Eastwood might be digging into some of the larger issues surrounding Kyle’s reputation, and we’ll find out if it’s a return to form tomorrow night.
Additionally, the Martin Luther King Jr.-centric Civil Rights drama Selma was initially slated to screen half an hour of footage tomorrow, but after the overwhelmingly positive response to the debut trailer, the decision has been made to show the entire film. More on both American Sniper and Selma after the jump.
While many (myself included) have been looking forward to director Ava DuVernay’s Selma for months, it was looking like the film would be cutting it close with regards to Oscar season. It only wrapped filming this summer and it seemed like even the late December limited release would be a tight squeeze, but a Twitter exchange between DuVernay and the film’s producer Oprah Winfrey reveals that they got the picture finished just under the wire for AFI:
So, @Oprah. I think I want to show the whole film. Not just a 30 minute preview. Why wait, right? Let’s DO this! Hot off the presses! Yes?
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) November 10, 2014
I have to say that Selma trailer is kind of incredible and I’m not only eager to see David Oyelowo’s portrayal of MLK on screen, but also DuVernay’s chronicle of the dangerous and terrifying civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama and how it relates to the state of racism in this country today.
Both Selma and American Sniper are potential Oscar contenders, but obviously we’ll have a much better idea of their chances once they’ve screened—which happens tomorrow night. Could Oyelowo and/or Cooper crash the Best Actor race? Might Eastwood have another late-coming party crasher like Million Dollar Baby on his hands? Hopefully these questions and more can be more confidently answered in the coming days.
For now, revisit the trailers for both Selma and American Sniper below, which rank as two of the best trailers of the year as far as I’m concerned. Both films open in limited release on Christmas Day and expand in January.