When was the last time that a ‘racing’ movie was nominated for an Academy Award? Let me help you out, it was 1966. Grand Prix was a huge Formula 1 themed cinematic epic. Filled with (a pretty cheesy) romance, groundbreaking filming techniques, and eye-popping racing sequences, the academy recognized it with a nomination and subsequent award in the following categories: Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Effects.
It’s been 54 years. A handful of motorsports movies have come out. Driven certainly was not going to be winning any awards. We got closer with Rush back in 2013 with a couple of Golden Globe nominations, but let’s be honest, that wasn’t stacking up against the chops of other big blockbusters that year.
Starring Matt Damon as iconic builder Carol Shelby and Christian Bale as a prickly racer Ken Block, this is an incredible true story of speed, revenge, and good ol’ American angst. It is funny, emotional, and above all- passionate. Sitting and watching it on the big screen- as everyone should- you find yourself tensing up and rolling with the curves of Le Mans. Similar to Grand Prix, this tale is beautifully filmed- though director, James Mangold had the aid of 21st-century special effects.
As far as accuracy, some notes might be elevated for the Hollywood glamour. Did Caroll Shelby take Henry Ford ii aka ‘the duce’ for a joy ride in one of the prototypes, rendering the heir to the Ford fortune into a blubbering, crying mess? Maybe not. Did Block and Shelby have a first fight in the front lawn of Block’s Southern California home? Does anyone know? Most importantly, did Caroll Shelby not use car doors? No seriously, the entire movie he hoists himself of the driver’s seat of the vintage Cobras that are sprinkled throughout the movie. He doesn’t once use a door to handle time.
Without ruining it for those who have not watched yet, some best scenes include Block’s in-car commentary, Matt Damon’s description of driving Le Mans when Ford representative comes to visit and the final scene with the wrench.
In light of Ford Vs Ferrari’s recent nominations, local theatres will likely put it back on the big screen- it is wholeheartedly worth the price of admission to see it in full larger-than-life form. The academy awards are Sunday, February 9th on 5p on ABC We might just see it bring home some hardware.