Light, camera, action. Sit back, relax and grab some popcorn – it’s officially time for the biggest movie night of this year.
The 94th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. Here, some of Hollywood’s greatest works of 2021-2022 will be showcased and awarded for their influential brilliance.
Movies have always been one of the staples of our ever-changing society. Beginning in black and white and expanding into CGI and animation, the films have always been varietal. From dramas, thrillers and comedies to westerns, fantasy and documentaries, the films carve a wide range of stories. But one genre we sometimes overlook is perhaps one of the most moving and powerful – sports-themed movies.
Let’s dive into some of the greatest sports movies of all timewhich films have won Oscars and what we should expect from this year’s Oscars:
Which sports movies have won Oscars throughout history?
Believe it or not, sports-themed movies are the underdogs of Oscar winners. Very few sports photos have won awards throughout history. Let’s take a look at the winners in chronological order:
“The Champ”: 2
This 1931 film by King Vidor was nominated for four Oscars and came out with a fifty-fifty win. The film won Best Actor for Wallace Berry’s performance, as well as Best Original Story.
“Yankees Pride”: 1
Debuting in 1942, this film follows New York Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig on his baseball journey. Gary Cooper’s film earned 11 nominations but only received one for Best Film Editing.
“The scammer”: 2
Robert Rossen’s 1961 drama American CinemaScope was nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Actor for Paul Newman’s performance. The film only won two Oscars – one for Best Art Direction Decoration (Black and White) and another for Best Cinematography (Black and White).
John G. Avildsen and Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky won three Oscars in 1976, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing, but surprisingly not Best Actor for Stallone.
“Heaven Can Wait”: 1
This 1978 comedy directed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry about the death of an LA Rams quarterback was nominated for nine Oscars. The film won an award in the Best Art Direction category.
This 1979 movie about Indiana bike racing starred Dennis Christopher and Dennis Quaid and was nominated for four awards. The film won one of these awards – Best Original Screenplay.
“Rabid Bull”: 2
Martin Scorsese’s 1980 classic starring Robert De Niro won two Oscars, including Best Actor for De Niro’s performance of boxer Jake LaMotta, as well as Best Film Editing.
“Chariots of Fire”: 4
Hugh Hudson’s historic British sports drama paired with Vangelis’ iconic musical score was released in 1981. The same year, the film won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design and of the best original music.
“Jerry Maguire”: 1
Tom Cruise was nominated for Best Actor in this 1996 classic, but Cruise walked away empty-handed as Best Supporting Actor went to co-star Cuba Gooding Jr.
“Million Dollar Baby”: 4
Clint Eastwood’s 2004 masterpiece won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Hilary Swank’s performance, Best Supporting Actor for Morgan Freeman’s performance, and Best Director. . It was only the third time a sports-themed film had won the award for best film in history, behind Rocky in 1976 and Chariots of Fire in 1981.
“The Blind Side”: 1
The 2010 sports drama by John Lee Hancock portrayed the true story of football defensive lineman Michael Oher, played by Quinton Aaron, who lived a life of struggle. The film was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Picture, but only won one award – Best Supporting Actress for Sandra Bullock’s iconic performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy.
“The Fighter”: 2
This 2011 film about the life of boxer Mickey Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, was nominated for seven Oscars. David O. Russell’s sports drama picked up two wins, including Best Supporting Actor for Christian Bale’s performance of Dickie Eklund, as well as Best Supporting Actress for Alice Ward’s performance. by Melissa Leo.
“Dear Basketball”: 1
Former Lakers star and all-time sports legend Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for this 2017 film, which he based on a poem he wrote in 2015 announcing his retirement. The endearing film won in the animated short category.
Which sports movies have been nominated for an Oscar throughout history?
A plethora of sports-themed photos have been nominated for Oscars since the annual jaunt began in 1929. Some may not have won, but the nominations have soared.
Sports movies with the most Oscar nominations
- “The Pride of the Yankees” (1942) – 11 nominations
- “Rocky” (1976) – 10 nominations
- “The Hustler” (1961) – 9 nominations
- “Heaven Can Wait” (1979) – 9 nominations
- “Raging Bull” (1980) – 8 nominations
- “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) – 7 nominations
- “Chariots of Fire” (1981) – 7 nominations
- “The Fighter” (2010) – 7 nominations
- “Sebiscuit” (2003) – 7 nominations
- “Moneyball” (2011) – 6 nominations
- * “King Richard” (2022) – 6 nominations
Sports films nominated for a single award:
- “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973) – Best Supporting Actor (Vincent Gardenia)
- “The Longest Yard” (1975) – Best Editing
- “Rocky III” (1982) – Best Original Song (“Eye of the Tiger”)
- “The Karate Kid” (1984) – Best Supporting Actor (Pat Morita)
- “The Karate Kid, Part II” (1986) – Best Original Song (“Glory of Love”)
- “Bill Durham” (1988) – Best Original Screenplay
- “Hoop Dreams” (1994) – Best Editing
- “The Hurricane” (1999) – Best Actor (Denzel Washington)
- “Warrior” (2011) – Best Supporting Actor (Nick Nolte)
- “Creed” (2015) – Best Supporting Actor (Sylvester Stallone)
Are there any sports movies nominated for the 2022 Oscars?
There are two sports-themed films nominated for Oscars this year – ‘King Richard’ and ‘The Queen of Basketball’.
The biographical sports drama “King Richard” tells the riveting story of Serena and Venus Williams, their father, and their journey from Compton, Calif., tennis to the pros. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song and Best Actor for portraying Richard Williams by Will Smith.
“The Queen of Basketball” was nominated for a single Oscar – Best Documentary Feature (Short). This 22-minute short film directed by Ben Proudfoot chronicles basketball star Luisa Harris and her relentless trajectory beginning with the Olympics and landing in the WNBA. After graduating from Delta State, Harris made history by scoring the first-ever points in an Olympic women’s basketball tournament at the 1976 Montreal Games. In 1977, the New Orleans Jazz selected Harris, making she the first and only woman officially drafted by an NBA team.
Since Kobe Bryant’s 2017 win for “Dear Basketball,” sports-themed imagery has had a bit of an Oscar drought. Will “King Richard” or “The Queen of Basketball” be the film that will put us back on the map?