A complete history of baseball movies getting nominated for Oscars
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball movies. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball movies have marked the time ... and in the 87 years of the Academy Awards, eight of those baseball movies have earned nominations.
From 1942 to present, from black-and-white to Blu-Ray, from Lou Gehrig to Barry Zito ... these are the baseball films that played a role in Hollywood's biggest night.
Pride of the Yankees (1942) - It's been 72 years since Pride of the Yankees stormed the Oscars with 11 nominations and went home nearly empty-handed. The Lou Gehrig biopic was nominated for, but lost Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Writing, Best Cinematography (Black-and-White), Best Art Direction, Best Sound Recording, Best Special Effects, and Best Music. Daniel Mandell did take home hardware for Best Film Editing.
The Stratton Story (1949) - At the 1950 Academy Awards, Douglas Morrow took home the Oscar for Best Screenplay for his story about a Major League pitcher who loses a leg in a hunting accident.
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) - Baseball movies: Now in color! This film is mostly remembered as one of Robert De Niro's earliest performances. After Bang the Drum Slowly, De Niro starred in Mean Streets, The Godfather: Part II and Taxi Driver, consecutively. But it was actually Vincent Gardenia who earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dutch Snell.
The Natural (1984) - Roy Hobbs is baseball's Paul Bunyan, thanks to a fantastic performance from Robert Redford. But it was Glenn Close who earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for portrayal of Iris Gaines. The Natural was also nominated for Best Original Score, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration.
Bull Durham (1988) - At the 1989 Oscars, sports movie legend Ron Shelton was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Bull Durham, and who can argue with that considering Crash Davis' passionate plea to Annie Savoy. "... the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap." Shelton also wrote White Men Can't Jump, Blue Chips, Tin Cup, and the masterpiece that is Bad Boys II.
Field of Dreams (1989) - If you're talking baseball movies, you start and end with this classic from director Phil Alden Robinson. There's a reason James Earl Jones' monologue is so often quoted and there's a reason the Esquire Network aired it on repeat on Father's Day. At the 1990 Academy Awards, Field of Dreams was nominated for three awards, including Best Picture. It also earned nods for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. Sadly, it went home empty-handed.
Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (1995) - At the '96 Oscars, Michael Tollin (one of the geniuses behind such iconic television shows as "All That" and "One Tree Hill") flexed his baseball muscles with this documentary about the life and career of Hank Aaron. Ken Griffey Jr., Dusty Baker, Yogi Berra, President Jimmy Carter, David Justice and Frank Thomas all make appearances. Chasing the Dream was nominated for -- but, alas, did not win -- the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
Moneyball (2011) - It's hard not to be romantic about baseball ... and screenplays written by Aaron Sorkin. The film adaptation of Michael Lewis' best-selling book about Billy Beane and the adoption of sabermetrics by modern baseball clubs earned a total of six nominations at the 2012 Oscars. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. Moneyball also earned nods for Best Picture, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also went home empty-handed.