The Corner

Was Lone Survivor ‘Snubbed’ by the Oscars?

Sean Hannity definitely thinks so. Rich seems to as well. The first tweet read on the video clip below reads in part “it’s pro military and American and liberal Hollywood will never let any movie like this or any actor win.” There’s a lot more chatter like this out there. 

Consider me unpersuaded. I really liked the movie. And I agree entirely with Rich, David French, and others that the attacks from left-wing critics are ridiculous. But does it deserve a big-time Oscar nomination? And does the fact it didn’t get a serious nomination mean it was snubbed for political reasons?

The first question is at best a close call. Perhaps it deserved best adapted screenplay. But the direction is far from stellar and the acting isn’t exactly mesmerizing. Ask yourself, if Lone Survivor wasn’t a true story, would you think the movie was all that original? I doubt it. What makes the movie so compelling is that it’s a true story that seems so much larger than life. If it were fiction, there are moments when you would just say “Oh come on.” That makes the reality so much more amazing, not the movie. 

As for the liberal-bias thing. I absolutely agree there’s an enormous amount of left-wing bias in Hollywood, including often at the Oscars. But it’s hardly the case that pro-war or pro-American movies never get nominated. Last year, recall, Argo won Best Picture (to the dismay of some on the left). It beat out Zero Dark Thirty​, which was even more hated by the Left but nonetheless received four nominations. The Hurt Locker, a more ambivalent war movie but hardly anti-American, won three years before that (it also won Best Director, a huge snub to the director’s ex-husband, James Cameron, who directed Avatar). ​Saving Private Ryan was nominated for eleven Oscars and won five, including Best Director — not exactly an anti-military or anti-American movie.

There are certainly movies that benefited from being on the left. Crash didn’t deserve Best Picture. American Beauty is wildly overrated. But if the academy was really so left-wing in its tastes, it’s hard to see BraveheartForrest Gump, or even Gladiator beating out their competition. Warren Beatty certainly didn’t deserve an Oscar for Reds, a piece of soporific agitprop about American Communist John Reed. I think you can make a case for Oliver Stone getting the Oscar for Platoon without the benefit of politics, but not for Born on the Fourth of July. But in the case of Lone Survivor, I don’t think director Peter Berg deserves a nomination. Not because it’s a bad movie – it’s not. But it’s only a good movie about some great men.