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Ford v Ferrari was nominated for four 2019 Oscars and won two for Film Editing and Sound Editing. It was also nominated for Best Picture and Sound Mixing. As such, it falls behind 1966’s Grand Prix, which was only nominated for just three Oscars for Film Editing, Sound, and Sound Effects, but won all three.
Auto racing films have been movie staples at least as far back as 1932’s The Crowd Roars, directed by Howard Hawks and starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, and Eric Linden. They were very popular through the mid-1960s with Blake Edwards’ The Great Race starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood; and John Frankenheimer’s aforementioned Grand Prix, starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, and Toshiro Mifune, culminating in 1971 with Lee H. Katzin’s Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. More recently we’ve had such successes as 2013’s Rush directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl; and the long-running franchise, The Fast and the Furious, which began in 2001 and was still churning out prequels and spinoffs as late as 2019.
Based on a true story, James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari is about the Ford Motor Company’s mid-1960s revenge on Italian race car champion Ferrari which its owners sold to Fiat in a bidding war with Ford. Ford spent more money developing a race car that would beat Ferrari at the racing pinnacle Le Mans than they would have spent buying the company. Carroll Shelby (played by Matt Damon) was an automotive designer and retired race car driver who was put in charge of developing the car and British race car driver Ken Miles (played by Christian Bale) was the man he picked to test the car and drive it at Daytona and eventually Le Mans. That they succeeded against the odds was never in doubt if you know the history of the Ford-Ferrari feud. What makes the story interesting is the tension between Shelby and Miles and the Ford executives who put obstacle after obstacle in front of them.