Ford v Ferrari earns Best Picture Oscars nomination

Adam Cooper

The film, known in some markets as Le Mans '66, has also been nominated in three technical categories for sound mixing, sound editing, and film mixing. The ceremony takes place in Los Angeles on February 9.

Directed by James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari faces strong competition in the best picture category, where its rivals are The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood and Parasite.

The film stars Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles and Matt Damon as Ford team boss Carroll Shelby. It tells the story of Ford’s attempt to win the Le Mans 24 Hours after Enzo Ferrari rebuffed an attempt to buy the Italian sportscar maker.

Well received by critics and racing fans alike, it has already received some high profile accolades. Bale was nominated as best actor at the Golden Globes, although he failed to win, while he has also been shortlisted in the Screen Actors Guild awards, which are handed out on January 19.

The film also has received BAFTA nominations for editing, sound and cinematography, with the winners to be announced on February 2.

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Live action motor racing films have rarely achieved much acclaim at the Academy Awards, although John Frankenheimer’s 1966 Grand Prix received Oscar nominations for film editing, sound effects and sound, and won in all three categories.

The 1990 Tom Cruise film Days of Thunder was nominated for best sound, but it didn’t win.

Ron Howard’s 2013 Niki Lauda/James Hunt film Rush was completely overlooked by the Academy Awards. However it was nominated as Best Motion Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes, and Outstanding British film at BAFTAs, with Daniel Bruhl – who played Niki Lauda – named in the best supporting actor categories in both, as well as by the Screen Actors’ Guild. The film didn’t win any of those major prizes, although it secure a BAFTA for Best Editing.

Steve McQueen’s 1971 Le Mans received a Golden Globe nomination for Michel Legrand’s score – losing to Shaft – but was otherwise ignored. Al Pacino received a best actor nomination for his role as an F1 driver in the 1977 Sydney Pollack movie Bobby Deerfield.

In 2007 the NASCAR-themed Cars was nominated as best animated feature at the Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, but only actually won the last-named. Sequels Cars 2 and Cars 3 were not acknowledged by the Oscars.

The acclaimed 2012 Senna won best documentary and best editing at the BAFTAs, but it did not receive an Oscar nomination.