Judging from the audience reaction here at Telluride to the world premiere of James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari,” the movie may have just raced its way into the Oscar lane.
Interest in the film was high with a full house at the 650-seat Werner Herzog theater that’s erected every year over an ice hockey rink. Some moviegoers dropped low into their seats and covered their eyes during the picture’s most dramatic race sequences. Though this is not a Netflix film, the streamer’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos and his company’s “Marriage Story” director Noah Baumbach along with star Adam Driver and co-star Laura Dern were spotted in the crowd.
If there were any outstanding questions of how Fox might position Damon and Bale in the acting categories, it looks like it will be Bale for lead and Damon for supporting.
Damon portrays Carroll Shelby, the legendary American racecar driver who was hired by Ford to build a car to beat Ferrari at the historic Le Mans race in 1966. Bale co-stars as Ken Miles, the rebellious British driver who Shelby insists drive Ford’s super machine.
Car racing movies have done well at the Oscars with below-the-line wins. John Frankenheimer’s 1966 “Grand Prix” won three Academy Awards for film editing, sound and sound effects. Acting recognition has been more elusive in this genre. Most recently, Ron Howard’s “Rush” in 2013 failed to earn acting nods for Chris Hemsworth, though Daniel Bruhl received BAFTA and Golden Globe noms for supporting actor.