The Best Picture Nominees: Ford v Ferrari

| January 31, 2020

The 92nd Academy Awards are just days away, so this week I am taking a look at each of the nominees individually. Are they worth it? Let’s take a look.

Image result for Ford v Ferrari

I swear, I do have good things to say about James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari, but I must preface this by observing that this is solidly the best three-star movie to come out in 2019. That is, in no way, to say that it was bad. I was thoroughly entertained. It’s just that this is the kind of movie that I might stream at home, get a few hours of entertainment, and then immediately forget about it when it’s over.

That’s my attempt at a polite segue to ask the obvious: Why was this nominated for Best Picture!?!?

Sure, the movie has heart, telling the story of how an idea spawned by young Lee Iacocca (Jay Berenthal) helped to save the good name of the Ford Motor Company by proposing that it build and engine that could compete on the racing circuit with Enzo Ferrari’s legendary machine. The story follows a pride-swallowing journey of Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) as they attempt to build a car that can not only compete with Ferrari but can win at La Mans.

As entertained as I was, I could not put down the idea that The Academy blended this in a category that contains great works of art like The Irishman, Little Woman and Once Upon a Time …In Hollywood. It’s a Saturday afternoon treat that occupies a space that could have been filled with truly great works like The Farewell, Booksmart, Dolemite is my Name, Us, The Lighthouse or the animated drama I Lost My Body. Those are films that are going to last. People will be talking about for years. Ford v Ferrari will end up rotating on the basic cable in about two years. Not that it doesn’t deserve to be seen, but . . . Best Picture?

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
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