“Ford v Ferrari” receives Oscar nod for Best Picture of 2019


Since this story is about the Oscars, perhaps car enthusiasts should emulate Sally Fields and go on about how Hollywood really, really likes us car people—but even if your Fields impression is rusty, it’s nice to see our enthusiasm affirmed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominating Ford v Ferrari for Best Picture of 2019.

Surprisingly, for a movie nominated for best picture, the film about Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles taking on both Ford and Ferrari to win at Le Mans in 1966 received no nominations for acting. Though Matt Damon and Christian Bale made their characters believable, it was Tracy Letts’ characterization of Henry Ford II, which gave the industrialist a human side, that initially garnered speculation about a Best Supporting Actor nod. Ray McKinnon’s portrayal of Shelby American’s technical wizard Phil Remington was also very good.

In Hollywood, nothing succeeds like success; but it seems as though the aesthetes of the Academy sometimes like to distinguish between fine art and finances. Makers of commercially successful racing films often get patted on the head by the Academy with technical Oscars. That template has been followed this year with Ford v Ferrari getting another three nominations: editing film, editing sound, and sound mixing. A nomination for cinematography or possibly special effects did cross our minds; but maybe the Academy regards the realistic filming of auto racing as old hat these days, 50-plus years after John Frankenheimer’s technically groundbreaking Grand Prix.

With the critically-acclaimed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Joker, and The Irishman also nominated for best motion picture, don’t bet on Ford v Ferrari taking home that Oscar next month. However, the film’s commercial success (so far it has grossed $211 million on a production budget of $97.6M) does bode well for future movies car enthusiasts will enjoy.

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