When sport gets into the Oscars

Tom Cruise playing volleyball as the Maverick pilot. Forrest Gump motivating people as a runner when that word had not yet caught on. Or the same actor, Tom Hanks, talking to a ball in his remembered performance of a shipwrecked man lost on a deserted island and, later, at sea. The story of scenes could continue with innumerable postcards in which sport has given cinema material and stories to bring to the big screen. Memorable narratives, endearing characters, unforgettable sequences, for adults and children, have been reconstructed in films based on real or fictitious stories inspired by the sports universe. So it is worth, before the 95th edition of the Oscars, a review of ten sports feature films that stomped on the history of the famous Academy Awards.

1 – Million Dollar Baby (2004)

if they didn’t see million dollar Baby, it is worth dedicating the little more than two hours that this film lasts, one of the three winners of the most outstanding award at the Oscars, the award for Best Picture. The boxer’s story Maggie Fitzgerald is one of the two most successful of all films inspired by a universe related to sports: with seven nominations, it was also established in the categories of Best Actress (Hilary Swank), Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman) and Best Director (Clint Eastwood), categories of the most coveted at the Hollywood party. The film, inspired by a story from the book Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner by FX Toole, is also original for its female representation in times when gender equality in sport and on the screens was not yet rigorously problematized. It can be seen on the HBO streaming platform.

2 – Chariots of Fire (1981)

The other winningest sports film in history and winner in the Best Film category is the one remembered chariots of fire. The multi-award-winning feature film tells the story of two athletes -the British Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams- at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, which will celebrate their centenary next year on the same stage. In addition to the statuettes for Best Costume Design and Best Original Screenplay, the film is also remembered for its soundtrack, composed by Vangelis, who also won the award.

3-Rocky (1976)

The third sports film that won the Best Picture award is neither more nor less than the one starring Rocky Balboa, that character that Sylvester Stallone possibly immortalized as the best-known boxer in history. The film, so successful that its story was continued in eight sequels from 1979 to this year (they can be seen on the Amazon Prime Video platform), got ten nominations and won a total of three awards, including Best Director for John G. .avildsen.

4 – Raging Bull (1980)

Boxing is perhaps the sport that has been taken to the movies the most times, either for its charismatic characters or for the theatricality of its staging. Another of the historic films that had a ring among its favorite sequences was wild bull, based on the memoirs of boxer Jake LaMotta. Under the direction of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro gave one of the great performances in cinema history and won the Oscar for Best Actor. It can be seen on Amazon Prime Video.

5 – Ford vs. Ferrari (2019)

Motorsport also has its movies. The most emblematic film on wheels among those considered by the Academy is possibly against the impossible, the local title of the feature film starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, which -winner of two Oscars- recovers the enormous work of the American company to beat the unbeatable Italian team on the tracks of the mythical 24 hours of Le Mans. It can be seen on Disney +.

6 – King Richard (2021)

Executive produced by tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, the biopic King Richard portrays the story of the father of the most famous sisters in world tennis. Will Smith, in his second performance as a character from the world of sports, after having played Ali in 2001, took the Best Actor statuette. It can be seen on the HBO streaming platform.

7 – Dear Basketball (2017)

Beyond the remembered and grossing Space Jam, which united basketball with the historical animated figures of Warner, the sport of the orange ball has among its golden pages the night in which he won his Oscar. The one who went looking for him was neither more nor less than Kobe Bryant, creator and narrator of the animated short Dear Basketballa heartfelt letter from the athlete to his beloved sport.

8 – When we were kings (1996)

Sport has not lived only in fiction at the Oscars. Sports documentaries, a genre nourished with valuable productions, also had their representation in the history of the Academy Awards. In the 1996 edition, the best documentary feature film was when we were kingsdirected by Leon Gast, who masterfully portrayed the famous fight in Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of Congo) for the world heavyweight title in which Muhammad Ali defeated George Foreman and recovered the most coveted belt.

9 – I, Tonya (2017)

The story of the controversial figure skater Tonya Harding, played by Margot Robbie, was taken to the movies with a feature film that portrays the toxic bond she had with her mother, in the shoes of Allison Janney, who won the statuette for Best Supporting Actress for his work. It can be seen on Netflix.

10 – The Karate Kid (1984)

The blockbuster film about the young man who learns about life and about karate from the hand of Mr. Miyagi garnered only one nomination: Pat Morita, who created the remembered character of the wise professor, did not win the award in 1985 but he did win world fame and the nostalgic memory of the fans of the film. It can be seen on Netflix.

Bonus track

From 7:00 p.m., this Sunday the Oscars award ceremony begins in Los Angeles, which can be followed on TNT, TNT Series (in original language) and the HBO Max streaming platform. It will also be a special night for our country, which will be able to see dedicated to a national film, the very good Argentina, 1985, which stands out among the five nominees for Best Foreign Film. For this reason and while the ceremony is throbbing, there is one last feature film as a bonus track… The Secret in Their Eyeswhich became the second Argentine film to win an Oscar in that category after The official story (1985). And, although it does not have a sports theme, it does wink at national soccer, with a beautiful sequence shot of the Huracán stadium that toured the world and was acclaimed throughout Hollywood.

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