This year, there was a movie that featured fast cars, beautiful women, the rise to fame and the riches that come with it. This movie featured all the ugliest parts of our psyche and the most incredible parts of our soul that allow us to push ourselves harder than ever thought possible. This movie was called Rush. It was omitted from the Oscars this year, and I think I know why.
This year is a pretty stacked lineup of films for the oscars. Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips and Dallas Buyers Club are among the nine titles in contention for film’s top award. What those five films have in common is that they are all based on real stories– like Rush. It should also be pointed out that ten spots are available for nomination, but only nine films were chosen– making the omission of Rush even more glaring.
Some argue that Rush was left out because it ran so early in the year compared to some of these other films, which actually has some merit. Most of the nominees came out between October and November, and many are still in theaters, which helps their cause. Rush was released on September 20, 2013, and is already out of most cinemas.
Like many of these other films, Rush was based on a true story. In this case, it was on the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda for the 1976 Formula One Championship. Perhaps some scenes were too real, with the Daniel Bruhl’s Lauda recovering from 3rd degree burns and scaring in his lungs. In one scene, tubes are forced into Lauda’s lungs to remove fluid, and it is quite gruesome. Yet 12 Years a Slave has some particularly brutal scenes, and some have (inappropriately) labeled it “torture porn.”
So what gives with the Oscar snub? The story was compelling– perhaps one of the greatest true tales in all of racing. The acting was terrific. Chris Hemmensworth and Bruhl had terrific chemistry throughout the film. Some may argue that the ending to Rush wrapped up to quickly, all loose ends tied up with a simple monologue. But was it enough to leave such a great film out of the Oscars?
Nope, I blame it on Sly Stallone.
On April 27, 2001 a steaming heap of cinematographic excrement was bestowed upon the viewing public. The movie Driven was beyond bad, and set the racing genre back decades. With the recent omission of Rush, I’d say the genre of racing films will never recover.
But Driven was not the only culprit. Car enthusiasts love the Fast and the Furious franchise, but those outside of the car world either hate it, or love it, but form a “so-bad-its-good” approach. Then there were the low-budget crap-rests like Torque, Red-Line, RPM and a whole list of other no-name car movies. They are built on a skeleton budget because they know X-amount of gear heads are going to show up. They are catering to the lowest common denominator of car enthusiast ant it makes us all look bad.
Because of those terrible movies and the people who actually pay to see them, modern film critics find it unfathomable that a movie about auto racing could be sophisticated. That a car movie could be good.
That opinion is starting to change, and if you go to the local car show, you’ll find the old “greaser” car guy is giving way to a smarter enthusiast. Lets hope that change will yield a change in perception over the F1 fan and general car enthusiast, and Rush will get its due. Just remember– Steve McQueen’s Le Mans was not an initial success, but has grown to become one of the most respected racing films of all– so give it time.
We may be biased, because we’re car people. Then again, there’s a good chance Oscar voters are biased against