Oscar Bronze: Why Must Sports Films Always Sell Themselves Short?

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by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

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Like it, love it, loathe it. The Golden Globes set the pace for the Oscars. Now that five films have been nominated for both Best Picture – Drama and Best Picture – Comedy, we know that The Master cannot win come Academy season.

It may get nominated. But, it won’t win. Skyfall, too.

And, as is always the case, sports fail to be represented.

It’s not that the Guilds, Academies, or Judges are wrong. It’s that the sports industry fails to represent itself well. It sells itself short. Even the films that have won — Million Dollar Baby, Chariots of Fire, and The King’s Speech, if you count a stutter as an athletic decathlon — aren’t considered to be what they are:

SPORTS FILMS.

Can you see them called up at the ESPYs, or recognized at the ESPYs? Or, will comedians on their last legs get to give away the awards while Serena Williams tries to awkwardly stand in heels?

And, it’s not like they have a lot to choose from in 2012:

Goon.

Playing for Keeps.

Chasing Mavericks.

That’s literally it.

One is mostly Canadian and the other two star Gerard Butler. They have no shot. Even the best sports movies in the past 20 years — think Remember the Titans or even The Damned United — don’t stand a chance when put up against “more serious” competition.

But, really… was Remember the Titans worse than The Help?

If Denzel Washington’s character was a best-seller on Oprah’s Book Club, would it have had more traction come March?

And, does Gladiator count as a sport?

It’s time someone who cares about the sports in question stands up and takes them seriously. Let’s stop killing our own inertia with crappy references to Vince Lombardi. Let’s stop treating Dan Patrick and Jim Rome like they’re geniuses. Let’s get Moneyball a win and, when we don’t, let’s actually focus on a team that won a championship.

Hell, the whole “sports movies and the Oscars” thing is so unfair it almost seems like Billy Beane could have a conspiracy theory about it.

What if Aaron Sorkin wrote Glory Road? What if Tom Hooper directed Bend It Like Beckham? He would have made the girl’s Indian-ness look like Colin Firth trying to say words beginning with ‘B’.

Come on. Somebody. Win one for the Gipper.

(See? Even I get sucked into the cheesiness of ESPN.)