Oscar Loves Boxing Movies, But Will 'The Fighter' Win?

Heather Chaet

boxing glovesThis weekend's main event is the Oscars, but that doesn't mean we sports fans get left out in the cold. After all, the event does include cutthroat competition (albeit in evening gowns and tuxes), good sportsmanship (smiling and clapping when the camera zooms in on the losers), and of course, betting on the outcome (Oscar pool at work, anyone?).

Plus, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loves sports -- boxing in particular. In fact, in Oscar history, 7 boxing films have been nominated for Best Picture. That's more than any other sports flick (the next closest is football with a measly 3 nominations).

This year's offering? The boxing film The Fighter, starring super heavyweight actors Mark Wahlberg (as a boxer) and yummy Christian Bale (as his troubled brother). We'll have to wait until Sunday night to see if the movie takes home the golden statuette (my money is on no), but let's take a look and see how the other nominated boxing films have fared in years past.

  • The Champ (1931):  Starring a young Jackie Cooper, this movie tells the tale of an alcoholic ex-boxer, his son, and a race horse. Yeah, there's more to it, the kid finds his mom and they move to Mexico, but, eh, it didn't take the Oscar.

  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941): Actually a comedy that involves the ghost of a dead boxer that comes back to inhabit the body of a wealthy dude. Why no one ever comes back to take over the body of, say, a garbage man is a question someone needs to answer at some point. Regardless, it stars Robert Montgomery and Claude Rains, yet it failed to win the gold statue.

  • From Here to Eternity (1953): The most famous beach make-out scene, the one we've all seen about a gazillion times, is in this boxing flick. It's actually a war movie mixed with a sports movie. With an all-star cast (Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, and Montgomery Clift), this won the Oscar.

  • Rocky (1976): Written by Sylvester Stallone, who stars as the "Italian Stallion," the underdog fighter who takes on Apollo Creed and finds love. Gave us a soundtrack that's played at almost every sporting event and gives drunk frat guys an excuse to yell "ADRI-ANNNEEE!" Yup, it won the statue.

  • Raging Bull (1980): One of the best films ever made by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro (with an extra 70 pounds on him). It shocked everyone when this cinematic masterpiece didn't win the Oscar (Ordinary People did).

  • Million Dollar Baby (2004):  Sigh. People love this Clint Eastwood-directed filck about a female boxer and a trainer looking for redemption. I love watching Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood, but Hilary Swank just doesn't do it for me. But it did something to Academy voters and the movie took home the Oscar.

So, of the six other boxing films that were nominated for Oscars, 3 won and 3 didn't. Based on those odds, it looks like The Fighter has a 50-50 chance of winning.

Is your money on The Fighter?

Image via Generationbass.com/Flickr 

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