• December 17, 2014
  • America's Newsroom - FOX News

"American Sniper" A Long Shot For Hollywood Awards?

Robert J. O'Neill on America's Newsroom

"I'll Be First In Line To See This Movie When It's Released."

Martha MacCullum, co-anchor of America's Newsroom on the FOX News Channel, takes aim at potential backlash for the film "American Sniper," hitting theaters Christmas Day. The movie stars two-time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper and was directed by Clint Eastwood. In other words, it's got major credentials, and yet, points out MacCullum, it hasn't yet received a warm welcome from Hollywood critics.

McCallum: The film "did not get a lot of love at the SAG or Golden Globe nominations. It's facing some backlash…perhaps it's too much about God…too much about Country."

The movie is based on the best-selling book "American Sniper," written by former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle about his life in combat. A highly decorated hero, Kyle is regarded as the most lethal sniper in American history. After having survived four harrowing tours in Iraq, Chris retired from the military and began working with veterans suffering from PTSD. Tragically, Kyle was murdered in his home state of Texas by a former Marine he was trying to help. MacCullum asks guest and former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill to share his thoughts on the making of this film.

O'Neill: "I'm really glad that they made a movie out of it. His story's incredible. Here's a hero… He was highly decorated, the most confirmed kills in U.S. history as far as I know, and then he came back just to pay it forward. He was probably someone who should have had post-traumatic stress and he didn't. He was helping vets that did have it and his life is tragically taken."

McCallum: "What do you think about the response? Obviously, you're not a movie critic. You're a military man. From everything I've heard it's an extraordinary movie and one that should probably get some nominations. It seems to not be on the short list for those so far."

O'Neill: "It seems that way. I guess there's sort of a history of that in Hollywood. This happened with a movie that was just made, "Lone Survivor" about Marcus Luttrell. That movie was kind of snubbed, but as far as I'm concerned, with my history, it's about as close as you can get to seeing actual combat in the mountains of Afghanistan and the best war movie I've seen since "Saving Private Ryan," which itself was also snubbed in 1999. Best war movie about World War II and I think "Shakespeare in Love" got Best Picture, so seems like a history there."

McCallum: "One of things that looks compelling about 'American Sniper' is the way that it weaves together Chris Kyle's life…his wife Taya was a very important part of making this movie and how difficult the relationships at home can be."

O'Neill: "I'm glad his wife made the movie. Navy SEALs are still deployed more than they're at home and it's difficult on the families. In my case in particular, I would leave…I was married at the time. I could kiss my wife and leave but she'd have to stay home and stay strong for the kids. It's difficult. It's a story that needs to be told."

Whether or not "American Sniper" is in line for any major awards, O'Neill confirms, "I'll be first in line to see this movie when it's released."